As the preseason losses mount, the days draw closer to the regular season.
The Canucks cut 13 from their roster on Tuesday, bringing their roster down to 29 players.
These five guys were placed on waivers:
- John Stevens
- Noah Juulsen
- Brady Keeper
- Guillaume Brisebois
- Collin Delia
Here are six more players who don’t require waivers that were sent directly to Abbotsford:
- Arturs Silovs
- Arshdeep Bains
- Wyatt Kalynuk
- Danila Klimovich
- William Lockwood
- Michael Dipietro
Young Stars standout Tristan Nielsen was released from his PTO and will be joining the Abbotsford Canucks.
Finally, Danny DeKeyser was released from his PTO.
Four of the 29 players remaining are injured (Brock Boeser, Ilya Mikheyev, Travis Dermott and Justin Dowling), meaning there are 25 non-injured players still at camp.
Here are 5 takeaways from the Canucks roster cuts.
1. DeKeyser’s disappointing audition ends
Last year, Alex Chiasson turned a solid audition into a one-year deal.
Unfortunately, Danny DeKeyser couldn’t replicate the same success.
The 32-year-old wasn’t brutal by any stretch, but overall he looked tentative and slow.
Then, against the Seattle Kraken earlier last week, DeKeyser looked like he was trying to do too much with a couple of ill-timed pinches.
This Canucks defence isn’t stellar, but DeKeyser certainly wasn’t the answer.
2. Christian Wolanin SZN
The main reason why DeKeyser didn’t make this team?
Because of Christian Wolanin.
Okay, that’s not really the case, but Wolanin led all Canucks blueliners in minutes last night (22:12). He was the only Canucks defender to skate for more than 20 minutes.
Unlike DeKeyser, Wolanin seemed to be able to jump up in the play at the right time and was certainly a much better puck mover.
With Travis Dermott still out, it looks like Wolanin could be in a battle with Kyle Burroughs and, dare I say it, Tucker Poolman, for a roster spot.
3. Lockwood loses pop
Whether it was during preseason or late-season NHL action last year, Will Lockwood was noticeable.
This time around, he was shockingly unnoticeable.
The 24-year-old failed to make a physical impact the way he had in past contests. And, when the puck was on his stick, he continuously struggled to help the Canucks maintain possession.
4. Swedes stick around
Among Canucks to stick around in camp, the de facto “fifth line” from the first day of training camp is 100% accounted for.
Nils Aman, Linus Karlsson and Nils Hoglander remain with the big club for now, although you could say that reviews on all three are mixed.
Hoglander should make this team if neither of Boeser or Mikheyev heal up in time for the regular season, but he’s been a little too quiet at even-strength — both offensively and defensively.
Aman has come as advertised. He’s usually in good position defensively but doesn’t touch the puck much compared to most forwards.
Linus Karlsson has probably been the most pleasant surprise compared to his expectations. His foot speed hasn’t been a major red flag during preseason action, and he’s made some plays with the puck on his stick.
Karlsson and Aman should still be AHL bound, but all three are definitely players to follow as the Canucks preseason concludes.
5. What might Canucks roster look like if injured players don’t heal?
Here’s my best guess at the opening night roster if none of Boeser, Mikheyev and Dermott are ready by next Wednesday.
Tanner Pearson — JT Miller — Conor Garland
Andrei Kuzmenko — Elias Pettersson — Nils Hoglander
Vasily Podkolzin — Bo Horvat — Curtis Lazar
Phil Di Giuseppe — Jason Dickinson — Dakota Joshua
Extra: Linus Karlsson
Three of the biggest benefactors from the Boeser and Mikheyev injuries are Hoglander, Di Giuseppe and Karlsson. Those three probably have the most on the line as preseason concludes.
For now, I have Hoglander with Pettersson. This is a better spot for him than on a Horvat line where forwards have to be able to handle tough matchups. Also, the trio of Hoglander, Horvat and Podkolzin did not look good on Saturday in Seattle.
I think Karlsson might get an extended look with the big club if injuries persist, but he has to be dynamite during these last two preseason games if he wants to play on opening night.
Quinn Hughes — Luke Schenn
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Tyler Myers
Jack Rathbone — Kyle Burroughs
Extras: Christian Wolanin, Tucker Poolman
On defence, it’s not a pretty picture.
I think this organization wants to play Rathbone with Schenn, Hughes with Ekman-Larsson, and probably Dermott with Myers.
The Dermott injury has thrown a wrench into that plan.
We know that Boudreau and this coaching staff loves Luke Schenn, and it’s not like anyone else has really jumped off the page in terms of right-side partners for Hughes.
Tucker Poolman struggled massively next to him on Saturday against the Kraken. In fact, both Christian Wolanin and Kyle Burroughs have looked better than Poolman during preseason action.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Poolman is papered to the minors in the case that the Canucks need to save cap space. Who would take that contract?