Training camp begins in a few days and the excitement builds. With some new information, the team may try a few interesting deployments involving the team’s top prospect.
Vancouver Canucks training camp starts in three days and the team has all the info regarding attendees, practices and scrimmages here. After leaving Penticton with a very successful pair of games at the Young Stars Classic, the Canucks shift gears towards the big fish: preseason.
As you are well aware, I was very weary about the potential lineup after the signings made on July 1st. Canucks General Manager Jim Benning even said that the new additions would help Brandon Sutter contribute more on offence. The thought was nauseating since Sutter is not here for offence, no matter what his bloated contract tells you.
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With so many waiver-eligible forwards, roster spots would be few and far between for rookies. To make matters worse, there was a real fear that prospect pool crown jewel, Elias Pettersson would be tied to that offensive anchor to start the season.
But it appears things won’t start that way (in training camp at the very least). If you haven’t had a chance to catch the first episode of the new Patcast, you can listen here for the whole thing. One of the most interesting takeaways regarding training camp was the potential deployment of the team’s best scoring lines.
According to Jason Botchford and Jeff Paterson, Canucks coach Travis Green will start Pettersson at centre during training camp. We saw him play down the middle on the top line at Young Stars, so that is a start, albeit a small one. Granted, this is training camp. Depending on the outcome, Pettersson could still start the season on the wing, thus opening the door for Sutter to join his line (the horror…).
Ignoring that, it appears the team is interested in putting Sven Baertschi and Loui Eriksson on that line with Pettersson. If this is true, I like it. Pettersson is not expected to carry the line by himself and it could be a chance to get Eriksson going. By how much? Depends on how magical Pettersson’s skills are.
This would allow for one of Brendan Leipsic and Nikolay Goldobin to fight for the top line spot with Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. That leaves two balanced scoring lines and more importantly, pushes Sutter to the third line, where he belongs. Not a bad way to start training camp.
We will see if that holds up by the time the season starts, but for once I remain hopeful. I am curious to see who is ultimately pushed from the bottom of the lineup. For now, we can see if Pettersson carries the momentum from Young Stars to secure that second line centre position. I also can’t wait to see which prospects will continue to duke it out as cuts are being made. This year’s camp might be pretty fun to watch. The regular season will be another story.