The Vancouver Canucks took care of some formalities on Saturday as the organization prepares for the what they hope will be a strong Calder Cup playoff run for the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks. The team won nine games in a row before losing the final two games of the regular season and are slated to start their best-of-three series against the Bakersfield Condors on Tuesday.
Entry-level or emergency call-up players not requiring waivers, Vasily Podkolzin, Will Lockwood and goalies Spencer Martin and Arturs Silovs were sent down to Abbotsford Saturday morning.
Forwards Nic Petan and Sheldon Dries were placed on waivers with the same purpose in mind. The veterans would potentially clear Sunday morning.
The headliner is definitely Podkolzin, the Russian rookie who finished the NHL season on an upswing in general and will bring a heavy shot and potential scoring punch one of the AHL’s hottest clubs in the second half. ‘Pods’, who impressed with his newfound grasp of English in speaking to the media on Thursday morning for the first time in six months, is not above helping out the Abby Canucks.
“It’s good extra game for me,” Podkolzin said. “I talked to Bruce (Boudreau) about it after the deadline and he said ‘it’s good for you, good for your experience, and you’ll be a better player with this extra playoff, these extra games’ … we’ll see, I hope I get to bring something, some good hockey for Abbotsford.”
Podkolzin added he’s excited for the challenge and he’ll be ready.
He finished his first NHL season with 14 goals and 12 assists in 79 games, with nine of those points coming over his final eleven games.
Lockwood played 13 NHL games this season without tallying a point. The banging forward had 25 points in 46 AHL games this season before being called up for the stretch drive with the Vancouver Canucks. He essentially served as an injury replacement in the bottom six, mostly the 4th line, although he was given the opportunity to top-out at 15:43 against the pathetic Arizona Coyotes on April 14th.
Dries had two goals and an assist in eleven games with the big club while Petan notched two assists in eighteen games this season with the Vancouver Canucks.
One thing doesn’t change between the NHL and AHL, and that’s the fact that a team’s goalie is the most important player on the ice.
Martin already had solid AHL numbers this season, and with an impressive end-of-season performance at the NHL level, still unbeaten in regulation with the Vancouver Canucks at 3-0-and-3 on the season, he should be working the start of the Calder Cup playoffs with the utmost confidence.