For the third year in a row, we’re going to see a Vancouver Canuck make their debut in March.
It started with Nikita Tryamkin and Brock Boeser, now Adam Gaudette will follow suit on Thursday night.
While expectations are higher than they should be for his debut, there’s no doubt that fans love to see players have success early on.
Oddly enough, it’s often the under-the-radar players that have a strong debut, rather than those that are highly anticipated. Here are a couple notables debuts I can remember from recent Canucks history.
No one has forgotten about Brock Boeser’s highly-anticipated debut against the Minnesota Wild last March. Boeser suited up just 24 hours after North Dakota was eliminated from the NCAA playoffs.
Right away, he was able to show a goal scorer’s touch, burying a rebound chance after a breakaway from Bo Horvat.
Now one full season into his NHL career, goals like that are overshadowed by some of the snipes that have garnered attention from around the league. Boeser was easily the main reason to watch Canucks hockey in 2017-18.
Someone who came into the league with much less notoriety, Alex Biega made his NHL debut on February 16th, 2015. It was a sweet moment for Biega, who finally arrived after four full seasons in the AHL, logging nearly 300 games in during that time.
He’s always been a player you loved for his effort and battle level. Sometimes those are just sayings that make you cringe, but Biega’s rough and tumble, uptempo style has always been fun to watch.
Who knew that it would take more than three years until Biega would score his second career goal. The Bulldog came through (to ruin the tank)!
Longest goal droughts, #Canucks history:— Sir Earl (@Sir_Earl) March 28, 2018
Alex Biega 131
Jason Strudwick 120
John Grisdale 119
Garth Butcher 110
Steve Staios 109
Shane O'Brien 102
Dennis Kearns 100
Aaron Rome 99
Brendan Gaunce 94
This was certainly one of the more unique NHL debuts in not just Canucks history, but league history.
The 6’6” Kellan Lain broke an NHL record for the shortest debut in NHL history. Even though Kevin Bieksa tried to shelter him by jumping up to take the faceoff, Lain still ended up fighting Kevin Westgarth during a full-out brawl, someone who ranks highly in Being A Goon/60.
After the brawl broke out between the Canucks and the Flames, Lain was ejected from the game with a handful of other players. Although no hockey really occurred during his debut, Lain was credited with two seconds of ice time.
Didn’t think it could get more obscure than Kellan Lain, did ya?
An oft-forgotten member of that 2010-11 Canucks team, Lee Sweatt made his debut on January 26th, 2011 against the Nashville Predators. With time winding down in the third period during a 1-1 tie, Sweatt took a sweet feed from Daniel Sedin and buried it upstairs past Pekka Rinne for his first NHL goal.
Sweatt would only go on to play two more NHL games after that, once Mike Gillis deemed he wasn’t a core member of that 2011 team. He signed a deal with the Ottawa Senators that offseason, but retired from hockey just days afterwords.
One of the most well-respected Canucks in team history stormed into the league with a memorable debut in 2005. Even though he didn’t drop the gloves in his first game, he was flying around the ice, making things happen with his willingness to get involved in the offensive zone.
Rypien was able to bury his first goal against the Edmonton Oilers, one he banged home after scooping up a rebound. His continued display of energy and fearlessness on the ice resulted in 119 NHL games across six seasons, before his tragic passing in the summer of 2011.
From his debut onwards, he was unanimously respected by Canucks fans everywhere, and he’s surely a player that will never be forgotten.