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The 6 Best Storylines from Canucks Training Camp

Hockey is back and the Canucks’ boast a ton of feel-good stories heading into the restart. What a world.

Washington Capitals v Vancouver Canucks
Micheal Ferland #79 of the Vancouver Canucks takes to the ice prior to their NHL game against the Washington Capitals at Rogers Arena October 25, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Derek Cain/NHLI via Getty Images

If you were awarding the Stanley Cup based on strong training camps, then get out your chisel and crown the Canucks 2020 Stanley Cup Champions.

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.