This year more than others, I think we can read a little deeper into the lines from Day 1 of Canucks training camp.
#Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau says lines we see tomorrow are the lines he hopes to have for opening night.— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) September 21, 2022
Quite a departure from Travis Green, who always told the media not to read into practice lines too much.
For day one of training camp, like always, the Canucks split their attendees into three groups. Here’s the full list of line combos and defence pairings.
Training Camp Groups - Day 1 (Sep. 22):— Canucks PR (@CanucksPR) September 22, 2022
10:15am: Group A practice
11:35am: Group B practice
12:40pm: Scrimmage (B vs C)
1:35pm: Group C practice pic.twitter.com/qlcz317ohn
With day one of training camp is in the books. Here’s what the opening night lineup could look like, according to Bruce Boudreau.
Tanner Pearson — JT Miller — Brock Boeser
Andrei Kuzmenko — Elias Pettersson — Ilya Mikheyev
Conor Garland — Bo Horvat — Vasily Podkolzin
Dakota Joshua — Jason Dickinson — Curtis Lazar
If Boudreau truly wants to run with these lines for opening night, that isn’t good news for Nils Hoglander.
The 21-year-old skates on a line with fellow Swedes Nils Aman and Linus Karlsson at Day 1 of camp today.
Based on Day 1 lines, Hoglander is on the outside-looking-in ahead of the season.
While there could be value in having him play against softer competition on a fourth line, there’s no value in having him sit at the 13th forward.
The other top “AHL” line at camp was Phil Di Guiseppe, Sheldon Dries and Will Lockwood. In the case that Hoglander does begin the season in the AHL, look for one of those three guys to make it as the team’s 13th forward.
Aside from that, the biggest story among the forward lines was Pettersson being flanked by the two new Russian additions in Andrei Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev.
Interesting dynamic here already. Pettersson dumps the puck deep, Mikheyev wins the retrieval by manipulating with his feet. Kuzmenko floats into the slot and then high, able to walk down main street, all while EP screens the goalie. #Canucks https://t.co/fd2qHmisgh— Daniel Gee (@DanielGScouting) September 22, 2022
Biggest takeaway from the #Canucks first scrimmage was that Elias Pettersson looks dialed in. By far the best player from either team, looked like he was making dangerous plays at will— Harman Dayal (@harmandayal2) September 22, 2022
Stylistically, Kuzmenko and Pettersson seemed like a good match before camp. Whoever sticks on that line, whether it’s Mikheyev or someone else, could be in line for a healthy dose of goals.
Speaking of goals, Brock Boeser’s confidence is high on Day 1.
Boeser on 30 goals as a target: “This is the year. That’s all I gotta say, this is the year” #Canucks— Harman Dayal (@harmandayal2) September 22, 2022
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Quinn Hughes
Danny Dekeyser — Tyler Myers
Jack Rathbone — Luke Schenn
Travis Dermott — Tucker Poolman
To the surprise of no one, the Canucks unveiled their new number one pairing on Thursday.
Aside from that, the most interesting decision was to pair PTO signee Danny Dekeyser with Tyler Myers.
This is one of those classic “boost the veteran to push the young guys” move. Jack Rathbone and Travis Dermott should be better than Dekeyser on paper, but they’ll have to prove it during camp.
Dekeyser has a history of being a prolific top-four shutdown defenceman. Yes, that was prior to suffering a back injury in 2019, but he’s at least got more NHL clout than Rathbone and Dermott.
Both guys should be motivated to beat him out for an everyday lineup spot.
Now, if Dekeyser shows some spark at camp, all eight guys could make the team.
Kyle Burroughs, who spent all of last season with the Canucks, began training camp on the right side, playing with offseason signee Christian Wolanin. In terms of overall skill and experience, those two are probably on par with another D-pairing from camp: Wyatt Kalynuk and Brady Keeper.