This particular offseason for the Vancouver Canucks has felt longer than most, and I believe it has a lot to do with the excitement surrounding this new-look team.
General Manager Jim Benning followed through with a home run swing on what he promised would be an aggressive offseason for the Canucks, and fans are eager to see what that new product will look like on the ice.
To help round out a hungry yet frustrated core, Benning moved out a heavy amount of money in the bottom-six, flipping Loui Eriksson ($6M), Jay Beagle ($3M), and Antoine Roussel ($3M) for a competitive top-six forward and a proven top-pairing blueliner in Conor Garland and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Now Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes still remain to be signed, but when they do eventually put pen to paper on new deals, they’ll be returning to a team that’s — on paper — ready to make a real push to be competitive.
With that being said, training camp is just weeks away and The Canuck Way is here with another edition of the mailbag to help you get through the week. The summer days are dwindling, and that means players are beginning to flock back to Vancouver in preparation for the new season. Let’s get into it!
After a long two-year wait, Vasily Podkolzin has finally touched down in Vancouver.
The Canucks’ top prospect has been very hyped upon his arrival to the NHL, and because of a little teaser video dropped by the Canucks’ media team earlier this week, fans are very much buying in to the hype. Even Bo Horvat seems to be thrilled with what he sees so far.
"“He looks big and strong, like his maturity out there. You know, he looks like a man, he doesn’t look like a junior player or somebody who can’t step into the league right away, so I’m looking forward to seeing him in a game or a high-paced practice at camp.”"
Judging from what the captain is saying, this kid seems to be the real deal, which should be music to the ears of Canucks’ coaching staff, management and, of course, the fans.
Podkolzin is a player who is defensively responsible first, but can bring a matured net-front presence that will hopefully complement the team’s middle-six group early on.
With players making the transition from overseas, there’s always the question of how a smaller and more compact ice surface will affect a player’s overall production. Pettersson and Nils Höglander made quick progress in recent past, but not the same can be said for every player.
Whether there is an adjustment period or not, Podkolzin has the potential to become a game-changer for the Canucks. If he hits — and he should — Vancouver’s got a very good chance of icing the best top-nine forward group in their division, making a playoff berth that much more in reach.