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The Province

Vancouver Canucks / Sports / NHL / Hockey

Ben Kuzma
Publishing date:Jan 05, 2022 • 15 hours ago

Today's practice lines had new head coach Mike Keenan moving pieces around and all signs are pointing towards young star Filip Chytil being the odd man out to start the season. The 22 year old was expected to center the teams 2nd line with fellow countryman Dominik Kubalik but according to people from within, he's not in game shape and he won't see ice time until he is.

"Jack (Roslovic) and Dylan (Larkin) come from the same U18 National team, they enjoy playing together and I like what I've seen so far." Coach Keenan said after the team left the ice on Wednesday. Roslovic beat out Chytil for that top 6 role and I wouldn't be surprised if he stays there all season. The projected lines heading into the season haven't got much else for surprises but Coach Keenan didn't shy away from talking up newly signed forward Evan Rodrigues, "He's versatile and has shown us he can play at a high level."

Gabriel Landeskog- Steven Stamkos- Clayton Keller
Dominik Kubalik- Dylan Larkin- Jack Roslovic
Lawson Crouse- Jean Gabriel Pageau- Ilya Mikheyev
Danton Heinen- Brandon Sutter- Max Comtois

Evan Rodrigues- Filip Chytil

Brent Burns- Shea Weber
Vince Dunn- Justin Schultz
Derek Forbort- Travis Hamonic

Erik Gustafsson

Ilya Samsonov-Dustin Tokarski

Charlie Lindgren

Goaltending will be a hot topic for Canuck fans this season. GM Darrell has had some talks about shoring up the backup role on this team but make no mistake, it's Samsonovs crease and the front office seems to be all in on the young Russian. I messaged the Canucks GM last night via text wondering if there's any chance that we could see a 5th goalie signed due to lack of experience in the system and Adam Werner being the lone keeper in Abbotsford. His rather comical response was replying with a gif of Ted Lasso pointing at the "BELIEVE" sign. Is it all an act after failing to shore up the position in free agency or was this the plan all along?

Depth at every other positions appears strong. Forwards Pius Suter, Mathieu Joseph and Filip Chlapik are poised to tear up the AHL while Josh Mahura and Sean Day will be looked at to eat big minutes for the Abbotsfords Canucks.

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The Blue Jackets are for Real

After the Columbus Blue Jackets started the season 29th in the league they decided to make some changes. First there was management changes that had to be decided in terms of the direction of the club. "We got together as a group and had to figure out who were the guys that we wanted to win with. We decided to balance the team and load up on the future 2022 draft, while dealing with our sub par defensive ratings. We have such great goaltending and we had to give them a chance to get a W every night."

GM Bland wasted no time and traded away Mark Scheifele, Brayden Point and Noah Hanifin. This brought in Jack Eichel and a lot of youth that were flipped for the defensive core that you see before you. "I've always believed that building the team from the net out is how you create a championship team. We plan to win it all"


The Blue Jackets are currently on a 11 game point streak while winning the last 9 straight games. "If we can, I hope we don't lose another game the entire season and playoffs. We are coming for you Stanley."

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A new wave in Islanders Hockey

With the news that the Islanders are making yet another move in the GM seat, many are wondering why they are making so many moves when they are 7 games over .500. The answer is simple. We want the best of the best, and winning a title is the sole focus. Brooks is being brought in to get this team to be a force to be reckoned with. A few quotes from his opening press conference are below. 

- My job is to get this team to be with the elites on a year in, year out basis. To win titles is the sole reason for being in this profession.

- We want to build an elite farm system, let young guys grow and develop at a high rate. Partner that with the new arena and payroll flexibility, we want to attract elite Free Agents in the offseason to pair with our young core. 

- Our team has produced well, but we will always have our door open to trades. Until you can call yourself the Stanley Cup Champion, you can never settle thinking there isnt something you can accomplish to help this hockey team. Even after the title, it is maybe even more important. 

- I am here to take the Islanders to the promise land and I am fired up to be here.

Its a new regime in Islanders hockey and we look forward to seeing the outcome. 

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New Isles GM wastes no time making moves

The New York Islanders, despite recent havoc in terms of their previous administration, have played well this season. Now they are bolstered with a new GM in Thomas Gidlow, who has made several moves to keep the party going while shoring up their long-term outlook.

Already, Gidlow has made a trade and made several roster moves over the past 48 hours. Tobias Rieder has been waived and will likely be bought out, while three others (Michael McCarron, Remi Elie, and Brendan Perlini) were bought out today. Ross Colton will be signed to a contract as well, reportedly.

Nick Bonino was dealt to the Nashville Predators, along with the Buffalo 1st round pick in 2021 and prospect Antonio Stranges, in exchange for Dylan Strome, Ozzie Wiesblatt, and Spencer Knight.

"We're looking to maintain our current course on the ice as much as possible, while shoring up the immediate future and long-term outlook," said Gidlow after the Bonino trade. "We aren't rushing, but we're not wasting time either. We've got a really prime selection of young players on the come-up, but we want to keep the momentum going this season as well."

The Isles have a plethora of young goaltender talent now in the young stud Knight, along with Leevi Merilainen, Calle Clang, and Daniil Tarasov. One area Gidlow did indicate a desire to strengthen, though, was the defense. With forwards like Tage Thompson, Jordan Kyrou, and Tim Stuetzle on the rise, the d-corps is a bit thin.

"It's definitely an area we want to focus on moving forward," stated Gidlow. "But we'll see what develops in the days and weeks ahead."

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Finally… Patrick Marleau… has come back… to Carolina!

Patrick Marleau’s previous tenure with the (NHL) Hurricanes lasted a grand total of 5 days, resulting in a stat line of 0 goals, 0 assists and 0 points in 0 games, for which Marleau was compensated with a cheque for 8,833,334$ as he was bought out of the last year of his contract.  Fans in Carolina are hoping to get a bit more bang for their buck this time around, although the trade did net the NHL Hurricanes an excellent prospect with Seth Jarvis being drafted with the 1st round pick acquired in the deal.

There are obvious benefits to adding the veteran Marleau to the Hurricanes lineup, as Carolina attempts to break out of its maddeningly average 5-5-2 start.  Beyond his leadership capabilities, Marleau can provide a solid middle six scoring presence and is an excellent shootout option to help the Canes get that extra point when the game goes past 65 minutes.

But the biggest potential benefit in acquiring the veteran may be the karmic boost it provides to the Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup ambitions, as Marleau is the ultimate OGWAC. For those unfamiliar with the writings of the Sean McIndoe (The Athletic’s very own Down Goes Brown), OGWAC is an acronym for Old Guy Without A Cup, and is a category reserved for older players at the end of their careers who have yet to achieve every player’s ultimate dream of raising Lord Stanley’s chalice aloft in victory… a player who any fan should root for to win the Cup for the happy ending it could be for a beloved veteran.  Can any fan say that they were not happy when Ray Bourque (The OG OGWAC) finally got his cup win in Colorado?

As amazing as that story was for Bourque, a cup win for Marleau may be even sweeter.  For one thing, he is genuinely considered to be a nice guy and a great teammate, particularly observable in his how handled being stripped of the Sharks’ captaincy in 2009 (and then again being stripped of his alternate captaincy in 2014).  Despite what some may consider to be an insult, he continued to play on and not let the drama affect his game.  He’s also been one of the most durable players over the course of his career. He has an active ironman streak of 879 games (dating back to April of 2009) and he has only missed 31 games in his 23 year career. Finally with 1748 (currently 3rd all time) and another 195 playoff games played (24th all time), he is the NHL player who has played the most games in history without winning a Cup.

The Hurricanes hope to be able to rob him of that record when he gets handed the Stanley Cup this summer!

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