Vancouver Canucks Daily Rumblings: Philip Larsen the ‘Mystery Man’


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The Vancouver Canucks’ main roster players won’t start training camp for another while. That leaves us endless time for speculations — like those about new blue liner Philip Larsen.

There might not be any ‘real hockey’ happening for the Vancouver Canucks anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we will stop providing you with Canucks coverage. In fact, summer is the most exciting time of the year — it leaves endless time for speculations.

What will the lineup look like? Where will the new players slot in? Will there be any more free-agent signings? Is Jim Benning working on another trade? You see, endless possibilities.

For that reason, I decided to start this new series. Each day I will pick up Canucks news from around the web and discuss them on The Canuck Way. In turn, I would love to hear your opinion as well — so don’t hesitate to make your voice heard in the comments section!

Jannik Hansen 2.0

Iain MacIntyre — The Province: Canucks call on Will Lockwood, who ‘just had a way about him’

"He is listed at 5-11 and 172 pounds but plays an edgy game, which is why Benning immediately compared him to Canuck winger Jannik Hansen."

A nice piece overall on Canucks third-round pick Will Lockwood, but this particular sentence really caught my attention. I personally didn’t know much about Lockwood when the Canucks drafted him. But reading some scouting reports on him, Jannik Hansen was the name that immediately came to mind.

Now, there are two ways to look at this:

  1. The Canucks picked a player with a low ceiling instead of a potential top-six center or top-four defenseman
  2. The Canucks picked a player that never takes a shift off and can slide up and down the lineup

The first is obviously something negative. On most nights, Hansen is nothing more than a third-line player who grinds his butt off every shift. If Lockwood becomes a similar player, that is, of course, better than nothing. But bottom-six grinders can be found aplenty in free agency year after year.

The second way to look at it is much more positive and gives hope. Hansen’s ceiling was bottom-six forward and that may be the case with Lockwood. However, Hansen just spent a full season playing top-line minutes with Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and he set a career high in goals instead of holding them back. On a line with players like the twins, Lockwood could definitely be more than a bottom-six player.

So, Lockwood might project as a bottom-six grinder, but there is some hope that he can slide up and down the lineup. He is not the traditional bottom-six player but the kind of speedy and skilled worker NHL coaches want in their lineup today. Lockwood was drafted higher than most expected, but he can definitely turn into ‘something bigger’ — which is good news.

Related Story: Will Lockwood Prospect Profile

Welcome to the NHL, Sin City!

Seth Carstens — FanSided: Join FanSided in Welcoming Hockey To Las Vegas

"FanSided is always there for our sports teams, and that is no different when it comes to new and exciting ventures.  Now that the NHL has officially announced that professional hockey will be coming to Las Vegas – we want to be there every step of the way following the team."

The NHL is officially expanding to Las Vegas. You might not like the thought of that, but it’s happening. And there is a good chance that the Las Vegas Whatever Their Name Will Bes will steal some of Vancouver’s players in the inevitable expansion draft. Those players will then play against the Canucks in the Pacific Division starting in 2017 — yup, seriously.

More from The Canuck Way

As the newly founded franchise is just starting to be created, so is FanSided’s Las Vegas Hockey presence — and you can be a part of it. Just head over to the new site, check out what’s happening in the desert and what it could mean for the Canucks. If you actually like the new franchise, you can even apply and become one of the first official Las Vegas hockey writers in the world!

The NHL changed the expansion draft format to one that will allow Las Vegas to create a competitive team sooner than teams did in the past. Current clubs will only be allowed to protect one goaltender instead of two and either seven forwards and three defensemen or four forwards and four defensemen.

Since the Canucks handed out no-movement clauses to the Sedin twins and newly-acquired Loui Eriksson, they won’t have too many different choices. We will look at some expansion draft scenarios on The Canuck Way in the future.

Philip Larsen — the ‘Mystery Man’

Daniel MacDonald — Today’s Slapshot: Philip Larsen is the ‘Mystery Man’ of the Canucks’ blue line

"To suggest, as Benning did on TSN 1040 on July 1, that the team is ready to let the right-shot defenseman ‘run the power-play’, is an exercise in naivety. This is a player that hasn’t yet played a full NHL season, and whom the Oilers (of all teams) passed on, at what is undoubtedly their weakest position.The spotlight will shine hot and bright on Larsen come training camp, thanks in large part to such words from his GM, and under such intense light, his flaws are likely to come to the fore."

Philip Larsen is joining the Vancouver Canucks’ blue line this season and indeed he carries a giant question mark. Just two years ago, Larsen was a member of the Edmonton Oilers. A right-handed defenseman is exactly what they have been seeking for an eternity but yet, they decided to move on from him. He can’t be that good, can he?

Of course, Larsen spent two seasons in the KHL and we don’t know how well he developed there. His highlight videos show some promise, but his offensive ability has never been the issue. Larsen was a defensive liability when he left the NHL, and that was the reason why he didn’t make it in Edmonton.

When Benning suggests Larsen can run the power play, that probably isn’t too far-fetched — the offensive skill is there. But should Larsen even be in the lineup, given his defensive issues?

Next: Tyson Barrie Is Still an Option

If, and this is a big if, Larsen improved defensively and is actually a decent defensive player now, his addition could be huge for the Canucks. A power-play quarterback is one of the big needs this team has. A power-play quarterback just shouldn’t increase the amount of goals against.

Philip Larsen will be very interesting to watch in training camp. From biggest surprise to total bust, anything is possible. As always, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.