Okay, in fairness, we mayyyyyy view our training camp in a bubble. Hell, for all we know, the Minnesota Wild could look like a team boasting 31 juiced up players looking like The Rock.
All I heard from Minnesota though was that people are peeved after a 27-year-old AHLer was cut from the team.
With puck drop around the corner and games beginning to matter, let’s peek back into the Canucks bubble one more time to recognize the best stories from their training camp.
Buff Boeser brings the heat
Brock Boeser is a mythical sea creature from Scottish folklore. Loch Noeser https://t.co/oOmZRhf60y— Simon (@s_cudby) July 23, 2020
Okay, so Boeser might not be at rare as a mythical sea creature, but you could argue that he had the strength of one early in training camp.
After the beginning of training camp brought on a barrage of questions following sleazy sports talk trade rumours, Boeser showed up as one of the most impressive guys once the team laced up their skates.
He carried that momentum all the way through camp, and those pesky trade rumours quickly dissipated once the team hit the ice.
And no, Arizona, you cannot have Brock Boeser.
Although I believe that Boeser should be playing on the top line with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller, it’s great to see the winger in game-shape after missing time with injury earlier in the season.
Plus, do you really want to bet against this guy facing his hometown team?
“I know how much he wants to beat Minnesota,” Elias Pettersson says of Brock Boeser. “Otherwise he’ll hear about it from all of his friends.” #Canucks— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) July 21, 2020
Zack Attack forces his way into roster conversation
Zack MacEwen’s 17-game NHL audition this season couldn’t have gone much better.
After adjusting to get his feet under him during his first few NHL games, he looked the part of a rock-solid bottom six player. MacEwen was hard on pucks, hard to play against, and profiled as someone who could chip in with occasional offence.
While his 29.4 shooting percentage was wildly unsustainable, MacEwen deservedly earned praise from his teammates and his general manager, who claimed he was already an NHL player earlier in the season.
“Zack’s been really good. I think he’s an NHL player now...we think he’s ready to be an everyday player in the NHL.” - Jim Benning on Zack MacEwen #Canucks— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) February 18, 2020
However, with the impending roster crunch, MacEwen appeared to be on the outside looking in. That was until training camp got underway, and The Big Fella once again made a big impact.
Zack MacEwen the best #Canucks skater through 25. Wrecking ball period from him.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) July 20, 2020
Markstrom probably best overall. Was all #TeamWhite in the first frame and Brock Boeser may have scored a buzzer beater (waved off by Manny Malhotra). Still: 1-0 #TeamBlue after the first half.
In limited minutes during the regular season, MacEwen, Antoine Roussel and Adam Gaudette had some great underlying numbers together. While MacEwen isn’t a lock for that spot, or a spot in the line-up at all, it’s promising to see him come to camp with the same mojo that earned him a spot during the regular season.
Micheal Ferland makes a statement
The last of three Canucks wingers on this list is Micheal Ferland, who completely changed the conversation surrounding him during the second week of training camp.
It took Ferland that first week of camp to get his feet underneath him, but his performance during the scrimmages and during practice has now made him a near-lock for game action on Sunday, August 2nd.
Micheal Ferland said his biggest issue with concussion symptoms was all the bodies and quick movement of players on the ice. Described it as feeling drunk when symptoms came on. He said physicality was never an issue, and he still plans to play that style of game. #Canucks— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) July 25, 2020
I think that’s the quickest I’ve seen Ferland move in a Canucks uniform. Great hands. Encouraging to see. pic.twitter.com/Ar6xtri7Fr— Jason Brough (@JasonBroughTSN) July 25, 2020
There’s no doubt that Ferland’s resurgence was the best story from Canucks training camp. It also makes this enticing top-nine a potential reality for game action as well.
#Canucks Focus on the positive. Ferly says he is fine and I believe him.— CanucksAbbyFan2 (@Fan2Abby) July 25, 2020
Is there a better top 9 forward group in these upcoming playoffs?
And that is with Zack and Jake on the outside looking in.
Jacob Markstrom is in mid-season form
After allowing five goals in the first Canucks scrimmage, there was some tentativeness among the fan base regarding where Markstrom’s game might be.
That all dissipated as camp wore on, and Markstrom put on shows in the rest of the scrimmages, earning one shutout win while stopping a number of penalty shots (the Canucks settled penalties by penalty shots instead of power plays during the scrimmages).
You can bet that Markstrom will be amped up for his first taste of NHL playoff action as a 30-year-old. Even if the Best of Five play-in doesn’t technically count, it’s the closest he’d have been to playoff action in his NHL career.
Also, he put up this performance in the playoffs under Travis Green earlier in his career.
Jacob Markstrom the last time he was in the playoffs with Travis Green:— Ben Birnell (@OD_Birnell) July 28, 2020
2.11 GAA, .925, 2 shutouts in 23 games https://t.co/YdZo5GeFbB
Last thought on this: you can bet Markstrom also feels like he might have something to prove after being snubbed in the Vezina voting last week.
Olli Juolevi punches his way up the depth chart
Coming into training camp, Olli Juolevi was really nothing more than a curious afterthought. Like many players early in camp, he looked a bit out of place, and wasn’t at his best during the initial scrimmages.
That changed as the camp wore on, and Juolevi ended on a high by being named one of the 10 Canucks defenceman to join the team in Edmonton. That was a big step for the 2016 5th overall pick as he seemingly passed Guillaume Brisebois and Ashton Sautner on the depth chart, two guys who did have previous NHL experience.
The general consensus on Juolevi was that he probably needed another full year of AHL experience before making the NHL full-time in 2021-22. However, after an impressive camp, coupled with the fact that left-shot defenceman Nikita Tryamkin didn’t re-sign in Vancouver, is it possible that we see Juolevi in the NHL at some point next season?
I think the odds of that are better now, but don’t expect to see him in this tournament unless shit really hits the fan in Vancouver.
Quinn Hughes is a phenom
Give me all the credit for the most obvious headline of the year.
It’s no secret that Quinn Hughes was an absolute phenom for the Canucks on defence this year, and that spectacular performance was on display throughout the entirety of Canucks training camp.
Aside from the Canucks market gushing over his stellar play, Hughes has even been earning national attention with his training camp performance as well.
Looks like Hughes is ready to take it to the next level!— Douglas MacDonald (@dmac5dmark2) July 28, 2020
"If there was one player who seemed to particularly benefit from a rest, the name I hears a bit more than others was Vancouver's Quinn Hughes."
-- Elliotte Friedman #Canucks pic.twitter.com/6KzojAXDYh
Although the Minnesota Wild clearly have the edge on defence one through six, they certainly don’t have anyone on their back-end as talented, dynamic or game-breaking as Hughes.
After a great camp, Canucks nation now waits with baited breath for him to pull off moves like this when the games start to matter.