Lockwood, Schenn, Höglander impress
As mentioned above, there were a handful of players who put up strong performances in the opening day of training camp.
Let’s start with Will Lockwood.
The former 64th overall pick, who suited up for just two contests last season, was participating in his third training camp in 14 months with the Canucks and, like the previous two, turned heads and raised eyebrows right away.
Lockwood dominated the Travis Green bag skate tradition, leading the pack for majority of the gruelling fitness drill alongside fellow young gun Nils Höglander. Throughout the drills and scrimmages, Lockwood also showcased his speed, stamina and offensive prowess, putting the cherry on top of a solid first outing with the team.
In the past, despite his strong performances, Lockwood was never a frontrunner to crack the opening night roster. However, given some of the vacancies in the bottom-six, as well as his increasingly impressive and consistent training camp showings, Lockwood should definitely be considered as one of the dark horses to keep your eye on over the next few days.
Same goes for Luke Schenn.
The 31-year-old defencemen, who is returning for his second stint with the Canucks, didn’t hold back during the first day of training camp. Not known for his speed and strong skating abilities, Schenn was able to hold his own during the bag skate, a statement that definitely doesn’t apply to all players who participated in the merciless fitness test (see below for more on that).
During the 1-on-1 battles, Schenn didn’t shy away from showcasing his strength and physicality. The 6’2″, 225-pound Saskatoon native would be a much-needed boost of toughness to the team’s current blueline, and he’s currently giving Green and his coaching staff a lot to think about for opening night.
Like Lockwood, Schenn also has a realistic shot at solidifying a roster spot for the beginning of the 2021-22 campaign, especially with Hamonic’s status still up in the air. It’s no surprise that the Canucks need help on the right side of their blueline, and Schenn could definitely be a nice fit on the second or third-pairing slot. So far, he’s doing all the right things to put himself in that position to succeed. Definitely don’t sleep on the big man this time around.