The Vancouver Canucks are officially back on the ice.
The team suited up for their first two preseason games of the year on Sunday, squaring off against the Calgary Flames both at home and on the road.
Similar to training camp, the roster was split up into two separate groups, giving fans and media a first glimpse of the players in action, both new and returning.
Meanwhile, at the Saddledome, the team had to rely heavily on the services of sophomores such as Nils Höglander and Jason Dickinson, while also opening the door for newcomers like Dakota Johnson and Curtis Lazar to make their mark.
Unfortunately, neither team could make their way into the win column, with the road squad getting hit with the uglier scoresheet.
Despite the losses, however, there were still a few intriguing storylines that emerged from the on-ice action, giving us lots to talk about heading into the week.
Here are 3 takeaways from yesterday’s split-squad preseason contests:
Podkolzin’s offensive prowess
It’s safe to say Vasily Podkolzin will crack the opening night roster.
The 21-year-old sophomore looked impressive in his preseason debut, skating alongside Horvat and Garland on the second line.
Like many of his teammates, Podkolzin was quiet in the first two periods, but managed to make his mark in the third period.
After receiving a pass from blueliner Tyler Myers, Podkolzin confidently deked his way towards the net before cheekily slipping the puck five-hole to cut Calgary’s lead in half.
Podkolzin, who registered 14 goals and 12 assists in his rookie campaign, finished the night with one goal, four SOG and five hits in just over 20 minutes of ice time. It might be tough for the Russian rookie to crack the team’s top-six forward rotation but, if he continues this style of play for the rest of training camp, he’d definitely be making a case for himself.