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Canucks Send Troy Stecher to Utica

This year's best training camp surprise won't follow Ben Hutton's path. Stecher will start the year playing big minutes in Central New York.

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

After a training camp in which Troy Stecher looked quite ready to step in to the Vancouver Canucks top six, his NHL regular season debut will have to wait for awhile. Stecher was sent to Utica today along with expansion draft fodder Richard Bachmann.

This means the Canucks have decided to start the season giving Philip Larsen first chance to run the power play. I guess this makes sense, considering they traded for him and presumably lured him back to the NHL by promising him the opportunity. But Larsen will have to greatly improve on his training camp performance, where he looked slight and was easily knocked off the puck.

Stecher will play big minutes in Utica and learn from Nolan Baumgartner, both of which should help his development. He looks like an NHL-caliber defenseman. That's a big win for any team signing a college UFA. Canucks Twitter took today's news with their usual hot takery.

And it's good Canucks fans have a positive story on D at the beginning of 2016-17. Because I fear we are fixing to hear a lot more about the one who got away:

In other roster news, both PTO's, Jack Skille and Tuomo Ruutu were at practice today. The Canucks are holding fitness testing today, so further roster moves might have to wait until testing is complete.

According to Matt Sekeres of TSN1040, it appears Anton Rodin's knee will save Emerson Etem for now.

After practice, Willie Desjardins gave updates on Anton Rodin, Erik Gudbranson and discussed Troy Stecher's demotion.

Canucks open the season Saturday against Calgary.