With 53 skaters and six goalies attending Vancouver’s training camp there are plenty of Canucks to choose from, but we’re starting with three.
96 – Andrey Kuzmenko
One of the obvious choices to watch. There’s the element of the unknown. Yes, he was the second leading scorer in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League last season, but the ice is bigger and the game not as quick.
“There’s no doubt about his skill,” Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday. “He’s skilled, he can play, he’s excited to play … it’s the rigours, the physicality, can he handle the physicality, is he willing to go to the dirty areas to get the goals, that I don’t think other leagues provide the stiff competition for that, those are the things you’re gonna look for.”
He’ll get a feel for it and we’ll get a feel for him at camp. It’ll be feisty as players work hard for jobs. If Will Lockwood has a chance to lower a shoulder on a guy, Canucks cohort or not, you better believe in this situation he’s gonna do it.
Kuzmenko, a 26-year-old right-shot left winger, played two seasons with Canucks forward Vasily Podkolzin with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL.
By the way, VHN has been going with the spelling Andrey thus far since that’s how his agent spells it, but it appears the Canucks are going with Andrei, so we’ll switch henceforth.
43 – Quinn Hughes
This depends on if and for how long the left side to right side experiment plays out. If Hughes moves over it changes the line-up and improves the depth chart. Part of that also has to do with whether lefty Jack Rathbone pans out. This is what it looks like if Tucker Poolman is not healthy enough to play.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Quinn Hughes
Travis Dermott Tyler Myers
Jack Rathbone Luke Schenn
Righty Kyle Burroughs as 7th D.
If Poolman is healthy, and we’re told he is, then we’ll see some competition for spots between him and the other two righties not named Myers. Curious to see how much Vancouver-born Burroughs can step up his game.
Otherwise, it’ll just be fun to watch Hughes at training camp, because he’s entertaining to watch all the time anyway.
94 – Linus Karlsson
He’d be a hot commodity. He performed like a man among boys at the development camp in July and had a very solid Young Stars Classic over the weekend in Penticton. He scored both of the Canucks goals in the final match on Monday against the Edmonton Oilers and had three total in the tournament.
“I did score, but we lose, and that sucks,” Karlsson said postgame.
His full stats from the event aren’t available as game sheets weren’t kept or provided.
Just know that the soon-to-be 23-year-old Swede has shown some high-end abilities with the puck and is playing with confidence. That can just as quickly change while playing against the big boys, but he starts camp with the benefit of the doubt. It’ll be fun to see how he does.
Karlsson notched 26 goals and 20 assists in 52 games last season for Skelleftea in Sweden’s top SHL.