(Photo Courtesy of Global News Canada) “Players watch puck go into net at Canucks and Oilers game.”
Before the official NHL season begins, the Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers have their new prospects compete in the Young Stars Classic. This year the Canucks hosted the competition at the South Okanagan Events Centre in the city of Penticton, British Columbia.
Some notable players from Vancouver are Aidan McDonough, Akito Hirose, Cole McWard, Aatu Räty and Arshdeep Bains. For the Calgary Flames there is Samuel Honzek, Jaden Lipinski and Matt Coronato. Some notable names representing Edmonton are Matvey Petrov, Xavier Bourgault and Ty Tullio. And from Winnipeg there was Colby Barlow, Brad Lambert and Chaz Lucius.
The rookies came from all different backgrounds. Typically, there are NHL draft picks, American League players and camp selects. Very few shined in what can be a chaotic sight to see. But out of all the teams, the Canucks Rookies did really well this Classic. They went 3-1 in the tournament.
This does not mean that the rookies will appear on the NHL roster. The team does not have many spots to fill. If one wants to make it to the starting roster, they have to truly work for it and outshine everyone. The chances are slim, but there is always a chance someone will.
The rookie who shined the most and has the best chance of making it out of camp is Canucks rookie Aidan McDonough. The Milton, Massachusetts native’s scored three power play markers in three games. “It’s pretty clear he can shoot,” Abbotsford Canucks head coach Jeremy Colliton said last Sunday, “He’s beating guys clean, so this is one step for him and hopefully he can keep building momentum and see if he can do it in camp.”
Two other rookies made themselves known in the series. Center Aatu Raty scored an empty netter, made a few assists and was filled with many great passes during the tournament. Arshdeep Bains scored on the power play during Sunday’s game. Bains was one of seven Canucks players returning to the tournament.
The series may give insight on how the Canucks will play this season. In the 2022-2023 season they went 38-37-7 and landed 6th in the Pacific Division. This was the third year in a row Vancouver fell shy of the playoffs, but they are hopeful for this upcoming season.
The team has gone through some major changes this year. They traded their captain Bo Horvat, who had been on the team for a decade, to the Islanders back in January. After months of speculation of who would take over the captainship, two weeks ago Vancouver announced their pick of Quinn Hughes.
With these new roster switches and new prospects, attitudes seem to be changing in Vancouver. Hughes seems optimistic of what the team has to offer this season; mentioning “I think we have guys that are really hungry and tired of losing, including myself, and take it personally at this point…Having 35, 40 guys come to camp three and a half weeks early just shows how dedicated and how bad everyone wants to win.”