New teammates, competitive training camp
For a returning player like Boeser, it appears that he’s pretty excited to have these newcomers in the locker room.
“We can feel it around the rink. We can see how good of hockey players these guys are,” Boeser responded when asked about Dickinson, Garland and Ekman-Larsson.
Dickinson, who was acquired via trade right before the Expansion Draft roster freeze, is expected to fill the team’s third-line centre role. Garland and Ekman-Larsson, who were part of the blockbuster draft day deal with the Arizona Coyotes, will slide into the team’s top-six forward and top-four defensive groups, in addition to their special teams contributions.
Of course, this trio of players aren’t the only new acquisitions for the team. General Manager Jim Benning didn’t take his put off of gas pedal after landing these big pieces, making sure that his organization, both in Vancouver and Abbotsford, would have plenty of strong roster pieces to work with
In addition to Dickinson, Garland and Ekman-Larsson, Benning was also able to sign a handful of depth players such as Luke Schenn, Justin Dowling, Brad Hunt, Nic Petan and Phillip Di Giuseppe.
And when you have so many players that are chomping at the bit for NHL games and experience, it’ll definitely make for a high-octane training camp, which Boeser fully expects this time around.
"“Training camp is going to be competitive”"
Given the current roster, it’s safe to say that the top three forward lines (plus Brandon Sutter as 4C) and top four defensive pairings are more or less set in stone, especially if rookie Vasily Podkolzin impresses like we’re expecting him to. Outside of those projected lines and pairings, there’s definitely opportunity for players to step up and surprise the coaching staff.
For a player like Boeser, he doesn’t have to worry about a roster spot. But as one of Vancouver’s top players, there will definitely be a lot of responsibility and offensive pressure on his shoulders, and he’ll need to create that competitive mindset right out of the gate.