With a goal in each of the tournament games thus far, former Vancouver Giants scorer Tristen Nielsen has made quite an impression for the Canucks heading into the Young Stars Classic finale on Monday afternoon against the Edmonton Oilers.
Whether playing to the left of centre Nils Åman or Chase Wouters, Nielsen’s performance has been dominating at times. He seems a step ahead and his aggressive play has left its mark on more than a few opponents.
‘It’s obviously a lot of fun and it’s good for our team,” Nielsen said after Sunday’s win. “Obviously our older guys are contributing and that’s what we’re looking for here.”
In a round robin affair with plenty of eighteen and nineteen-year-olds, experience has shown to be a key factor in the matches thus far. A foursome of 22-year-olds for the Canucks has made the difference on the scoresheet in two Vancouver victories; Åman, Wouters, Linus Karlsson, and Nielsen.
Undersized at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, the Fort St. John native has gained confidence training and scrimmaging with the big Canucks in Burnaby over the last couple of weeks.
“Yeah, skating with (Bo) Horvat and guys like that, you just kind of compare yourself and see just how good the NHL level is,” Nielsen stated. “Being able to skate with them and having possession of the puck and getting confidence in those areas and those games up top there, it definitely helps coming into a tournament like this.”
As Nielsen made reference to in speaking to the media, his 2021-’22 season with the Abbotsford Canucks was marked by 4th-line minutes and very limited special teams opportunities. He finished with seven goals and four assists in 41 games. He hopes this preseason opens the door to more opportunities.
“Kind of brings you back to junior days playing against younger guys, but the confidence the older guys are getting in this tournament heading into main camp, I think it’s really going to show, especially (since) we’ll be in a little bit better shape because of the games, but I’m really looking forward to main camp,” Nielsen said.
Puck drop between the undefeated Canucks and Oilers is scheduled for 2:30 pm on Monday afternoon at the South Okanagan Events Centre. We’ll have a recap here immediately following the match.
In the early game, despite being outshot 47-21, the Winnipeg Jets picked up their only win of the tourney, beating the winless Calgary Flames 5-3.