Hard to believe that we’re actually going to get to watch some hockey tonight, right? The long wait is over and we get to watch the Canucks go head to head. Well, some of them anyway. There haven’t been any cuts yet, so tonight it’s split-squad doubleheader action. The first game gets underway at 6pm at the Saddledome in Calgary, while the 2nd match starts at 7 from Victoria, and will be featured on Sportsnet and Sportsnet650.
This group skated already and is en route to Calgary. ✈️ pic.twitter.com/tDKXfFSlYc— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) September 16, 2019
A couple interesting notes about the crew headed to Calgary. Sven Baertschi and Jake Virtanen, who both are familiar with that rink having played for the Flames (Baertschi) and WHL Hitmen (Virtanen) are the most prominent names on the roster. Tim Schaller, Jay Beagle and Tyler Motte are also there, but keep an eye on Zack MacEwan, who is trying to battle his way into a job with the parent club after a great season in Utica last campaign.
On defence, Troy Stecher and Alex Biega will anchor a bunch of youngsters including Ashton Sautner and Jett Woo. Veteran Richard Bachman and Jake Keilly will be in goal tonight. Oscar Fantenberg, who appeared in 15 games as a Flame last season will make his Canucks debut tonight as well.
In Victoria, much of the Canucks starpower will be in the lineup against the Flames, but no Elias Pettersson, Tyler Myers, Micheal Ferland, or Quinn Hughes, as they’ve been given the night off. The ‘Third’ line of Bo Horvat, Nikolay Goldobin and JT Miller will be one to watch, as this could be a set heading into the season. We also get to see a ‘First’ line of Loui Eriksson, Adam Gaudette and Josh Leivo. It’s likely two of these three are in Utica to start the season, but you have to think that even in the first game of the preseason, there’s a spotlight on Eriksson to show they shouldn’t send him to the AHL.
On defence, local boy Jordie Benn makes his Canucks debut alongside Jalen Chatfield, while Chris Tanev will skate with Guillaume Brisebois. Josh Teves and Brogan Rafferty, who has impressed in the first three days of camp, will round out the D. Michael DiPietro and Zane McIntyre will split the goaltending duties. Here’s the PP units for tonight in Victoria:
Victoria #Canucks group PP units:— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) September 16, 2019
Horvat, Goldobin, Leivo, Miller, Rafferty
Boucher, Jasek, Gaudette, Eriksson, Brisebois
Not too much to be terribly excited about as pre-season games are usually lackluster affairs, but it’s still nice to see them back in action. We’ll also get a look at the new uniforms in action, and an opportunity to get a look at some of the prospects. The Canucks Fourth line of Lukas Jasek, Kole Lind and Reid Boucher might be looking to make some noise, as they push some of the veterans for a potential open spot in the bottom 6.
Here’s who the Flames are rolling in Calgary tonight:
#Flames projected lines and pairings for home game vs. #Canucks:— Derek Wills (@Fan960Wills) September 16, 2019
The Canucks are going to be in tough against a lineup that looks pretty close to the one they will start the season with. In Victoria, they’ll ice this squad:
#Flames split-squad going to Victoria tonight looks like this:— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) September 16, 2019
Not a lot of NHL talent in that squad, though it will be a special moment for Matthew Phillips, getting to play in front of the crowd at the SOFMC. Phillips spent just over 3 seasons with the WHL’s Victoria Royals, scoring 136 goals and 281 points.
Let’s get you all set for tonight’s action: JPat talks about how exhibition games are more important now with the lack of actual practice time to get ready for the season...
You might as well get used to everything Elias Pettersson does becoming a big deal... Like, literally everything.
I think Florida might wanna make Mike Matheson a healthy scratch when these teams meet, just sayin’...