The Vancouver Canucks may not have been the most active club in the off-season but they really had no need to be. The Canucks are bringing as strong a squad as ever to their first training game, a split squad double-header, playing first in Calgary at 6pm PST then in Vancouver at 7pm PST on September 20th. All of the players below will be fighting for limited positions in the forward group and 2 or 3 spots on the blue-line.
Vancouver Group (not in position order)
|Marco Sturm||Andrew Ebbett||Owen Nolan|
|Steve Pinizzotto||Jordan Schroeder||Nicklas Jensen|
|Aaron Volpatti||Stefan Schneider||Anton Rodin|
|Matt Clackson||Antoine Roussel||Kellan Tochkin|
|Keith Ballard||Chris Tanev|
|Yann Sauve||Ryan Parent|
|Aaron Rome||Adam Polasek|
|Cory Schneider||Eddie Lack|
The first line is an interesting mix with Andrew Ebbett looking for a 4th line job, Marco Sturm expected to feature on the 2nd or 3rd line in the absence of Mason Raymond and Owen Nolan expected to challenge after resting his body last season with the ZSC Lions in the Swiss NLA. Steve Pinizzotto and Aaron Volpatti have a great opportunity to crack the bottom 3 with Niklas Jensen, Jordan Schroeder and Anton Rodin all hoping to continue to impress after great rookie camps.
Keith Ballard is an almost guaranteed top 6 defenseman with Chris Tanev turning into the best defensive prospect for the Canucks after a great showing last year when called up from Manitoba. Eddie Lack will be looking to secure a future spot if Cory Schneider is traded at the end of his contract, a common rumour revolving around the star backup.
Calgary Group (not in position order)
|Mike Duco||Cody Hodgson||Victor Oreskovich|
|Niko Dimitrakos||Nathan Longpre||Mark Mancari|
|Darren Archibald||Steve Begin||Todd Fedoruk|
|Steven Anthony||Alex Friesen||Alexandre Grenier|
|Kevin Connauton||Anders Eriksson|
|Alexander Sulzer||Frankie Corrado|
|Andrew Alberts||Sebastian Erixon|
|Manny Legace||Matt Climie|
The top 3 skaters are again the most popular choices to break the main squad with Hodgson expected by many to replace either Kesler or Raymond while they recover from their injuries and Oreskovich hoping to see some game action after his standout performances on Vancouver’s 4th line last season. Outsiders are Darren Archibald, who’s heavy hitting style could land him a place in the bottom 6 and Todd Fedoruk, who along with Owen Nolan wants to use his NHL experience to his advantage while on a PTO.
Andrew Alberts is the most familiar name out of this defensive group while Alex Sulzer, a summer acquisition who will most likely start for the Chicago Wolves, may have a point to prove after not being offered a new contract at the end of last season. Manny Legace, another played invited to training camp as a free agent, has much-needed Stanley Cup winning experience which may come in useful if offered a contract by the Canucks.