Friday, September 30, 2005

Gameday - Flames at Canucks

The Calgary Flames are in Vancouver tonight for their final pre-season game. Calgary defeated Vancouver 3-2 in a spirited contest which saw Jarkko Ruutu deliver one of the biggest hits of the pre-season. Tonight should be another spirited contest in what has become an intense rivalry.

Vancouver will be going with Alex Auld between the pipes. Up front Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison will play without their linemate Todd Bertuzzi, who skated this morning but is still nursing a sore back. Matt Cooke will be a game time decision, should he play he will be featured on a line with Ryan Kesler and Richard Park. How's that for a speedy line? Also, neither Jarkko Ruutu or Byron Ritchie(who is healthy) will play. Both teams likely trying to keep things from getting out of hand, it is after all the pre-season.

In an effort to settle the final defense spots, the Canucks will once again be dressing 7 defensemen. Mattias Ohlund skated this morning but will not play, neither will Jovanovski or Baumgartner. Luc Bourdon will be paired with Bryan Allen and Steve McCarthy is expected to play with Sami Salo. Thomas Mojzis and Sven Butenschon will be in the lineup, both trying to show that they deserve a roster spot.

It's getting close to cut time and the same questions remain. These final two games will be very interesting.

Note: for those with digital tv capabilities the NHL network is being offered free of charge for the month of October, so you can catch some pre-season games on the tube.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Canucks 3 - Ducks 1

Vancouver picked up their first win of the pre-season last night in Anaheim. They even scored in the shootout.

One interesting note, the Canucks appear to be figuring out the new rules, as for the second consecutive game they took only 6 penalties compared to their opponents hitting double digits. Also, the Canucks PP is now running at 22%.

Battle for Jobs

As the battle for the final roster spots continues, Luc Bourdon is making a lot of noise(more on that below), Brent Johnson stopped 26 shots including Corey Perry on a breakaway. Johnson will likely be heading to Manitoba, but he's certainly getting the attention of the Canucks. The defense hopefulls were once again unremarkable. Up front, Green had an uneventful 15 minutes of ice-time, Tyler Bouck had a scrap, and Fedor Federov was Fedor Federov.

Luc Bourdon

Luc Bourdon had another very good game and has become the big story of the pre-season. Bourdon picked up 2 assists, had some big hits and was solid defensively.

Bourdon is certainly becoming a candidate to stick with the team, but as most of you probably know, there are a few considerations when keeping an 18 year old on your roster.

According to Bob McKenzie here are the considerations:

  • First a player must sign a contract before October 3rd in order to be eligible to play in the season.
  • An entry level player can play up to 9 games without using up a year of his contract. So let's say Bourdon signs a 3 year deal. If he plays 9 games this year and comes back next year he would still be in year 1 of his contract. If he plays 10 games he will be in year 2.
  • And finally, if an entry level player plays in 40 games one of his seven years of pro service is used up.

So will Bourdon stick with the Canucks?

Judging by the state of the defense I would say there is a very good chance that he makes the team. However, I would say it's unlikely that he stays around for more than 9 games. The Canucks will not want to use up a year of his entry level contract. Why use up one of his "cheap years" when he is only going to play 10-12 minutes a game?

In the unlikely event that Bourdon sticks past game 9, it is extremely unlikely that he makes it past game 40. Unless he is having a great season, it would be a mistake to use up one of his 7 years.

Contract issues aside, there are two other things to consider. First, is Bourdon better than the other options on defense? Unfortunatly right now it appears he may be. Second, and more importantly, what's best for Bourdon's development? Is he better off being eased into the NHL, playing 10 minutes a game, or is he better off playing 25+ in the QMJHL? At 18 he is probably best served by playing, and playing a lot. That said, I don't think playing in the NHL will hurt him. He appears to have all the tools to play right now.

All things considered, returning Luc Bourdon to junior is the logical thing to do. In the new salary cap world, management of your young players is critical to long term success. The Canucks are best served by not wasting a "cheap contract year", or more importantly, a year before free agent eligiblity.


In typical CBC fashion, the Canucks - Oilers game will not be broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada(Of course the Toronto game will be broadcast, albeit without broadcasters). Now before you panic, I will guarantee that this game will be on TV somehow. At minimum the Canucks will put this game on PPV, and for those without PPV access, there is a decent chance that the game could be moved to Sportsnet or TSN. I'll keep you posted on this.

As for the rest of the season on HNIC, I would say that if the labour issues are not resolved by next Saturday the dispute will likely go on for quite a while. If the loss of HNIC can't pressure the CBC to make a deal nothing else will.

Unlike the CFL, the NHL will not stand for games being broadcast games without commentators, so we could be watching our Sarturday night hockey on another network.

Also, don't forget Saturday's pre-season game will be available on PPV for the discounted price of $4.95.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Gameday - Nucks at Ducks

The Canucks are in Anaheim tonight (7:30 CKNW) looking for their first victory of the season. The NHL's only winless team won't be dressing their "A" lineup. Bertuzzi(back), Salo and Morrison are all back in Vancouver(charity event) and obviously will not play... Markus Naslund is questionable but word from John Shorthouse is that he will play... the Sedins will see action with Anson Carter for the first time... looking to steal the backup job, Brent Johnson will get the start... and with numerous questions on defense Crawford will once again be dressing 7 defensemen and 11 forwards.

With only 3 games to go in the pre-season the Canucks need to get it into gear and gain some momentum for the regular season. After a physical game in Calgary, Vancouver appears to be more focused and they should no longer be "going through the motions." They can probably expect a solid lineup from Anaheim(playing in front of hometown fans), so this should be a good test.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Canucks roster still sits at 30 and the battle for the final jobs is rather interesting. I wonder which of the hopefulls will find themselves in the pressbox tonight and who will get a look on the ice.


Dave Nonis expects Mattias Ohlund back in time for the season opener. This is extremely good news for Canuck fans.

Nonis also commented on Luc Bourdon and the possibility of him sticking with the team: ""It's very difficult for an 18-year-old player to have an impact at the NHL level. Having said that, he's done well and that's what you want."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Pre-Season Problems

Another game, another loss for the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks lossed their 4th consecutive pre-season game, 3-2 to the Calgary Flames. Despite the ugly record, the Canucks have more than a goose egg in the 'W' column to worry about...

Injuries are beginning to mount. Todd Bertuzzi has been sent home to Vancouver with a back problem, Markus Naslund missed last night's contest with a hip flexor and Mattias Ohlund is still having problems with his back. Anson Carter finally made his debut after battling a sore groin, Kevin Bieksa has yet to see action due to his ankle sprain and Jason Doig still has not played.

The Bertuzzi and Naslund injuries do not sound too serious, however the injuries on the blueline, in particular Mattias Ohlund, should be a major concern.

The State of Defense

Coming into training camp the defense was already extremely questionable. Without Ohlund the Canucks are in big trouble. Ohlund does not have a history of back problems, but anyone who has had trouble with their back knows that a back injury can be debilitating and slow to heal. Should the Canucks be without Ohlund for an extended period of time... well let's just say it could get ugly.

The battle for jobs on defense hasn't been much of a battle. Kevin Bieksa has not played, nor has Doig. Sven Butenschon has been, well Sven Butenschon. The only bright spots on the blueline have been Steve McCarthy, and a fired up Ed Jovanovski. The state of defense is so troubled that the Canucks are likely contemplating the idea of keeping Luc Bourdon around for the first 10 games of the season.

Dave Nonis needs to find more depth on defense.

Other Woes

The Canucks are now 0-14 in pre-season shootouts... the WCE has yet to score or even look good, although Brendan Morrison had a very good game against Calgary... Fedor Fedorov is quickly running out of time, Fedorov leads the team with a -5 in 3 games.

Some Positives

It's not all doom and gloom... Richard Park has looked great in the Canucks system, putting up 3pts and 11 shots in 3 games... Steve McCarthy has seen a lot of minutes and has made the most of them... Lee Goren is tied for the team lead with 4pts... Jovo is ready to go, 2 goals 2 assists and 9pims in 3 games... and finally, for the first time in a gazillion months, the Canucks will be on TV Saturday night!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Four More Cut

As the pre-season rolls along the cuts start to become a little more interesting. The Vancouver Canucks have made four more cuts to their roster.

Heading to Manitoba are F Alex Burrows, D Prestin Ryan, D Brett Skinner and F Nathan Smith.

That now leaves the Canucks with Bouck, Brookbank, Fedorov, Green and Goren battling it out up front.

The next round of cuts will probably come soon after today's game against Calgary. Crawford will want to use the remaining games to prepare the 2005-2006 version of the Canucks for the season ahead.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Job Hunting - Part 3: The Forwards

Coming in to training camp there were few questions surrounding the forward group of the Vancouver Canucks. The only real question was whether Matt Cooke would be signed, that question was answered last week. With the acquisitions of Anson Carter and Richard Park and few off season departures, there aren't many jobs available for the training camp hopefuls.

The Canucks top six will likely consist of Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, the Sedins and Anson Carter. The only question mark there is if Carter will stick with the Sedins.

In the bottom six Trevor Linden, Richard Park, Ryan Kesler, Matt Cooke and Jarkko Ruutu are all guaranteed jobs. That leaves one starting position and depending on how many players the Canucks carry, possibly one pressbox job.

Here are the remaining players looking for an NHL paycheck...

Fedor Fedorov
Ahhh FedFed. What more can be said about Fedorov. I'll resist the tired cliches and just ask the question, can Fedorov make this team if he is not going to be playing in a top 6 role? Fedorov has to demonstrate that he is capable of playing only 5 to 10 minutes a game and he has to do it without being a liability defensively. He is not going to be playing on the top 2 lines and he has to get used to it. The only way he makes the team is if Crawford believes his attitude has changed and that he is not only willing, but committed to playing the role asked of him. Talent and physical tools aren't enough for him to stick with this year's edition of the Vancouver Canucks.
Tyler Bouck
With the signing of Matt Cooke, Tyler Bouck's job got a little tougher. Bouck's assets are his speed and feistyness. He is essentially a poor man's Matt Cooke. Is there room for two such players? Perhaps, but it's likely the Canucks would like more size in the bottom six and Bouck does not fill that need. That said, with a strong pre-season Bouck has as good a chance as anyone. He also has the added bonus of being on a one-way contract.
Wade Brookbank
Brookbank is a good bet to make one of the remaining jobs. He has two things going for him: 1) The Canucks will need an enforcer. 2) He is capable of playing both defense and forward which makes him an ideal "21st man". Of course his job is not guaranteed, but I would be surprised if he did not make it.
Lee Goren
Lee Goren had a very good season for Manitoba last year, scoring 32 goals with 30 assists and 117 penalty minutes. At 6'3, Goren's size would be a welcome addition to a team lacking size up front. The disadvantage Goren faces is that he does not play center and with the loss of Chubarov the Canucks may be looking for someone who can fill the 4th line center role. Goren has been off to a good start with a goal and assist in the first exhibition game, if he keeps it up there is definitely a spot open for him.
Josh Green
Josh Green has bounced around between the NHL and the AHL, accumulating 232 games at the NHL level. Green has good size at 6'3 and he can play center, two things the Canucks can use. Green managed 21 goals and 40 points in the AHL last season which could translate into the odd goal from the 4th line. The question with Green is whether he has the speed and penalty killing ability to play in Marc Crawford's system.
Nathan Smith
Nathan Smith was almost off the Canucks radar until a strong playoff run with the Moose caught the attention of Crawford and Nonis. The first round bust will never live up to his draft position, but he may find himself a job as a checking center. The Canucks only have four centers including Trevor Linden, who most feel is better on the wing. A fourth line center job could be up for grabs, Smith may be able to fill it.
Alex Burrows
I hesitate to list him here, but Burrows has hung around camp and found himself some exhibition action. With the names ahead of him it is extremely unlikely that he makes the team out of camp.
Jason King
And finally we come to Jason King. Normally King would be up at the top of this list, however concussion problems have prevented King from playing in camp. Unfortunately it does not sound like he will be lacing them up anytime soon. Hopefully King gets healthy and finds himself with the Manitoba Moose where he can look to be a callup.

Heading in to the season the Canucks are looking very good up front. The addition of Carter should give them two consistent scoring lines and with the likes of Linden, Cooke, Kesler and Park battling for 3rd line ice-time, depth is not a problem.

The Canucks do however have a few questions to answer. 1) Do they want Linden to play center? 2) Will they give Fedorov a chance, or risk losing him to Russia(likely for good)? 3) Do they want more size or speed on the 4th line? 4) And finally, how many players do they want to carry on the roster?

The answer to those questions will determine which of the remaining forwards make the team. They have four more games to find the answers.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Back from Another Break

I've been away for the last week and it seems I've missed a few things. First, for those of you who have inquired, I will be finishing off the "Job Hunting" series with a look at the forwards sometime this weekend. Now on to the news from Canuckland...

Cooke Re-signs

The big news of the past week was the re-signing of forward Matt Cooke. Cooke signed a 3 year $4.6 million deal, which averages out to about $1.5m & change per season. While this team is better with Cooke in the lineup than without, I believe $1.5m is an over-payment for what Cooke brings to the table.

Some of that over-payment is justified, as the Canucks are buying out a year of unrestricted free agency, but I do not think Matt Cooke is worth(to the Canucks) $1.5m in a salary cap world. So you're probably asking, "then what is Cooke worth?" While it's hard to put an exact dollar number on what a player is worth, you can compare him to what a "replacement level" player is worth - $450K. Cooke is now making one million dollars more than what a player such as Tyler Bouck would make. Is the difference between Cooke and Bouck worth $1m? How does that difference compare with the difference between the current defense core and one with an additional $1m of salary?

Let's have a look at Cooke's assets...

  1. Speed. Cooke's biggest asset is easily his speed. Without his exceptional skating ability he would be an average nhl'er at best. His speed is what allows him to do the things that make him an "elite third liner."
  2. Penalty Killing/Checking. One of those things is his exceptional penalty killing skills. There is no question that Cooke has developed into a very good penalty killer and his presence on the PK is an asset to the Canucks. Along with his PK skills he is also very good in a checking line role.
  3. Scoring Ability. While Cooke has never had a great opportunity at the offensive side of the game, he has demonstrated some offensive skills and given the right opportunity he could one day be a 20-goal scorer.
  4. Physical Play/Agitator. Cooke has always been known as an agitator and someone who likes to throw the body around. While this is usually an asset, his unwillingness to drop the gloves has become a bit of an issue with some of his teammates as they are left to deal with the consequences of Cooke's "agitation."

So those are the assets Matt Cooke adds to the lineup. Are they worth $1.5m? I don't think so and here's why...

First, while Cooke is a great third line player he is not a 2nd line player and he should not be payed like one.

Second, what Cooke adds to the lineup can be replaced from within. In fact it already has been. Speed? You've got that covered with the addition of Richard Park. Penalty Killing/Checking? Again you have Park, Ruutu can take on a larger PK role and Trevor Linden will have less offensive ice time and can focus more on the PK. Scoring? That's covered with the addition of Carter. Physical Play/Agitator? Between Bouck, Ruutu and the rest of the 4th liners Cooke's contribution would not be significantly missed.

So if Cooke can be replaced from within what's an appropriate salary? Considering the salary structure of the team and Cooke's situation, I believe that Cooke should probably be payed in the range of $1-1.25m per season and I'm sure Dave Nonis would agree.

However, unlike posting a blog, Dave Nonis has to deal with the real world. In the real world you can't arbitrarily pay someone what you want. Dave Nonis had a few considerations in dealing with Matt Cooke...

  1. How much am I willing to overpay for the services of Matt Cooke?
  2. Should I buy out some of Cooke's free agent years?
  3. What would the team look like without Cooke in the lineup?
  4. Could the money be better spent in another area?

I'm speculating on the first two, but I believe Nonis knew he was going to overpay and as such he decided that he was going to get one free agent year. I don't have a problem with this reasoning.

Where I disagree with Nonis is on points 3 and 4. Normally I would be all for this signing even with the over-payment, however this is a team with giant holes on the blueline. Even $250k would be a help on the blueline, $1.5m would be a huge boost. Throw in the asset(s) which Cooke could return in a trade and what you have is an opportunity to significantly upgrade the defense while not losing too much up front. Considering the state of the blueline I'd take the loss up front if it meant solidifying the defense.

Now after all that rambling you're probably thinking that I'm pissed at this deal. I'm not, really. I like Cooke and believe locking him up for three years is a good idea, even if he is making $500k more than I would like. However my main concern with this team is the defense and spending $1.5m on a third line forward is a luxury the Canucks cannot afford.

The bottom line is that the defense is weak and the forward group would be just fine without Cooke.

Other Notes

The Canucks lost their first exhibition game of the year. The WCE makes their debut tonight against the Sharks at GM Place.

And finally the Canucks have reduced their training camp roster by 10. No surprises there, as none were candidates to make the NHL roster.

Part 3 of "Job Hunting" will be up sometime this weekend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Job Hunting - Part 2: The Defense

Yesterday I took a look at the battle for the goaltending jobs, today it's the defense.

With the loss of Brent Sopel and Marek Malik, the weakest part of the Canucks roster is the defense core. With little payroll flexibility GM Dave Nonis was forced to replace the departed duo with low cost options. He acquired Steve McCarthy from the Blackhawks and signed Sven Butenschon. With no bonafide NHL defensemen added to the roster, the competition for defensive roster spots is wide open.

The Top 4

While the bottom end of the defense core is rather weak, the top four matches up well against nearly any team in the NHL.

Mattias Ohlund is as good as it gets when it comes to a defensive defensemen, and he's got the offensive skills to make him one of the best two-way defensemen in the league. Ed Jovanovski at times struggled in his own end last season, but he is one of the most dynamic defensemen in the league. Sami Salo is coming off a great year in which he quietly became a defensive rock. The biggest question in the top 4 is obviously Bryan Allen. Allen is coming off his first full season in the NHL and will be counted on to play 20+ minutes a game. Is he ready for that? I think so, and really the Canucks have no choice but to find out.

The Rest of the Pack

With the top 4 solidified there remains three jobs open(assuming the Canucks carry 7 defensemen).

Steve McCarthy will surely be on the team and is the most likely candidate for the #5 slot, although the terms "#5" and "#6" don't really have much meaning.

After McCarthy, there are several candidates for the remaining two slots.

Sven Butenschon
I would be very surprised if Butenschon fails to make the top 6. The Canucks like his size and they feel that he has the offensive skills to contribute in their up-tempo system. He should have no problems making the team barring injury or a brutal pre-season.
Nolan Baumgartner
Coming out of junior, Baumgartner looked like a surefire NHL'er. Unfortunately for Nolan, things have not worked out for him. The biggest knock on Baumgartner is his size. In the past he has had trouble in his own end due to his inability to handle the strength of NHL forwards. Positionally he is solid and he certainly has NHL calibre offensive skills. He also has excellent leadership skills and is the consummate team player. The question remains as to whether he can handle the play in his own end. Will the new NHL rules help him? Perhaps. With a good camp and pre-season, he could find himself on the roster on opening night. Interestingly, he was at times partnered with Mattias Ohlund in yesterdays scrimmage.
Wade Brookbank
I have Brookbank penciled in at defense, even though I don't expect him to play there often. I believe that Brookbank could be a leading candidate to be the #7 defenseman and or 14th forward. Despite the new rules fighting will still be a component of the game and their will be numerous games when an enforcer will be essential, especially on those back-to-back-to-back games in the new schedule.
Kevin Bieksa
Kevin Bieksa was the biggest surprise for the Manitoba Moose last year and was one of the top candidates to earn a job on the wide open defense. Unfortunately for Bieksa he has injured his ankle at camp and will not skate at all this week. By missing training camp Bieksa's chances of making the team have dropped substantially. Depending on the severity of the injury he will still have the pre-season to make an impression, but if he misses out on the pre-season he will likely find himself back in Manitoba to start the season.
Jason Doig
The former Washington Capital is in camp on a tryout basis. While still relatively young, Doig has had a disappointing career. He has some offensive skills, but possesses little hockey sense. Doig is a dirty player who has good size, something which the Canucks could use, but his terrible hockey sense will make it difficult for him to make the team.
Tomas Mojzis
Marc Crawford had a lot of good things to say about Mojzis in his post-scrimmage comments(available in mp3 format at Mojzis is a player that has an excellent opportunity to land a job. The injury to Bieksa has opened the door for him and a good pre-season could land him on the roster.
Luc Bourdon
The 2005 first round pick has been impressive so far at both rookie camp and main camp. He already has NHL skating ability and strong offensive skills to go along with his physical play. The Canucks will get a long look at Bourdon and will likely play him in several pre-season games as a learning experience. With the new CBA free agency rules it is extremely unlikely that Bourdon will make the team, but the Canucks will keep him around and let him learn as much as possilbe about the pro game.
Brent Skinner
The remaining player with an outside shot at making the team is Brent Skinner. Skinner elected to forgo his final year of college eligibility. With no professional experience he has his work cut out for him if he wants to make the Canucks. It's not out of the question, but he has to have an exceptional pre-season if he is to make the team. The Canucks will most likely send him to Manitoba for some professional seasoning.

So What Will the D Look Like?

It's difficult to predict who will make the team and what the pairings will look like.

It's likely that Butenschon and McCarthy will round out the top 6, with Baumgartner, Bieksa and Mojzis battling it out for the #7 slot.

As for the pairings, I believe the Canucks will take a long look at a pairing of Allen and Jovanovski. Altenatively Allen could re-join Sami Salo, with Butenschon replacing Malik's role with Jovanovski.

McCarthy is the most interesting element. Do you play him with a defensive veteran like Salo or Ohlund, or do you stick him with Jovanovski?

The other question is do you load up on your top 4 or do you spread your veterans around?

These are very interesting questions and it's likely that they will not be answered until well into the season. Marc Crawford loves to juggle his lines, so I would expect to see many experiments in the pre-season and even in to October.

With several jobs available, the battle on defense will certainly be the most interesting aspect of the pre-season. Next up are the forwards...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Job Hunting - Part 1: The Goaltenders

The Vancouver Canucks main training camp opened on Monday, with players going through their physicals and an evening practice at GM Place. Unlike past years there are several jobs up for grabs, today I take a look at the goaltenders.

Dan Cloutier
After signing a two year deal in the off-season, Dan Cloutier is returning to Vancouver as the undisputed #1 goaltender. In the past three seasons Cloutier has played 62, 57 and 60 games respectively. The Canucks will once again be looking to lessen Cloutier's work load in an attempt to have a healthy Dan Cloutier for the playoff drive. Of course they have attempted this unsuccessfully with the likes of Petr Skudra and Johan Hedberg. However, this season the Canucks find themselves with arguably the best goaltending depth in franchise history...
Alex Auld
Auld is the leading candidate to back up Dan Cloutier. However his lead is based more on his contract than anything else. Auld is on a one-way contract, meaning he would have to clear waivers to be sent down to Manitoba and once again to be re-called to Vancouver. This gives Auld an advantage as the Canucks will not want to to lose him on waivers. Auld is coming of a disappointing season in the AHL in which he lost the starting job to Wade Flaherty and missed out on the Manitoba playoff run. If he can't keep the number one job in the AHL is he going to be able to keep the backup job in the NHL? So far in his career he has played much better at the NHL level and the Canucks would like to see if he is ready. Auld has the inside track for the backup job, but the one way contract by no means guarantees him the job, especially with two veterans looking for another shot at the NHL...
Brent Johnson
The 28 year old Johnson was signed to a two-way contract on September 1st. The former St. Louis Blue has had an up and down career. He was excellent in his first two years in St. Louis, but injuries and other issues saw him fall out of favour. On the ice Johnson has the ability to be a #1 NHL goaltender. However, off the ice those "other issues" are the reason why the Canucks were able to sign him to a two-way contract. Depending on who you talk to, those "issues" range from a poor attitude and laziness to "locker room cancer." Johnson will have his work cut out for him, but if he plays well he certainly has an opportunity to unseat Auld.
Wade Flaherty
Veteran goaltender Wade Flaherty is coming off an excellent AHL season in which he led the Manitoba Moose on a great playoff run. Flaherty was supposed to replace Tyler Moss and split time with Auld as the Canucks prospect was groomed for his NHL career. Flaherty exceeded expectations and became coach Randy Carlyle's go to guy down the stretch. While Flaherty played well last year, he has a tough job if he hopes to steal the backup job in Vancouver. Flaherty is not in the long-term plans for Vancouver and as such faces an uphill battle against the younger Alex Auld and Brent Johnson

The Rest of the Pack

Vancouver's goaltending depth does not stop after the top four. Also, in camp are Rob McVicar, Julien Ellis-Plante and 2005 3rd round pick Alexandre Vincent.

McVicar had a very solid season last year, splitting time between the ECHL and AHL. The signing of Brent Johnson hurts his chances of becoming the backup in Manitoba and as such he will likely be spending another year in the ECHL.

Julien Ellis has quickly moved up the prospect depth chart of the Canucks. By all accounts he had a very good prospect camp and, for now, is still around at main camp. He will likely be heading back for one final year in the QMJHL before he makes the jump to the pro ranks.

Alexandre Vincent was chosen in the 3rd round of this years draft and so far he has made a very strong impression at prospect camp. Vincent will be heading back to the QMJHL and will most likely be among the first round of cuts which are expected sometime today.

Not at camp is Vancouver's top goaltending prospect Cory Schneider. Drafted in the first round of last years draft, Schneider spent last season at Boston College where he started 18 games going 13-1-4 with a 1.90 GAA and .916 SvPct. He also played for the U.S. National Junior Team. Schneider will be back at Boston College as their starting netminder.

The Canucks goaltending depth is as good as ever and there will be some very strong competition during camp and the pre-season. Next up is a look at the battle on defense...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Back in Business

Well I'm back from my mini vacation... I've updated the Canucks Schedule to include the TV schedule.

Regular posts will resume tommorow.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Canucks Re-sign Jarkko Ruutu

The Vancouver Canucks have re-signed forward Jarkko Ruutu to a one year $600k deal.

Also of note... every Canucks game will be on TV in some form, 17 games are scheduled for pay-per-view. I'll update the season schedule to include the TV information.

Regular posts will resume next Wednesday.