As the tournament has moved on, we've been getting a pretty good idea which players should be at main camp (Horvat, Shinkaruk, Fox, Subban), which ones have likely earned another look (Curtis Valk, Austin Lotz) and which ones are turning into another one of Ron Delorme's legacy picks (Brendan Gaunce, Nicklas Jensen). They'll have their hands full tonight with a Flames' squad that's got a pretty decent mix of speed, skill and size.
From 2014 Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau, who some have said has been the best player on the ice in the tournament this far, to their 2014 pick Sam Bennett, they have that skill component down pat. Add in a couple of hulks with Hunter Smith and Victoria Royals D Keegan Kanzig, both listed at 6'7", and it's going to be a lot for the Canucks to handle tonight.
The key will be to have a better start than they've had in the past 2 games, and give the goaltending some support. Austin Lotz will be back in tonight for the Canucks, and while he was stellar in that first game against the Oilers, you know Travis Green and his coaching staff are going to want to see less of Lotz and more of some of the others. Not much to complain about as this tournament's more for internal scouting and a treat for the fans than anything else, and the Canucks have done an admirable job after having to issue a significant number of invites to fill due to illness and injury.
After this, we get ready for main camp, with the first game a week from tomorrow, a split squad game against the San Jose Sharks. Until then, we can enjoy tonight's game (once again on canucks.com via youtube), and thanks for the decent turnout you guys have shown. Nice to see the interest for pre-preseason hockey is still strong.
The Canucks close out the mini-tournament in Penticton tonight against the Calgary Flames.