Alas, it’s a perfect preseason no more.
Well, that was already the case after the Canucks lost twice to Calgary on Sunday night. Now, the team’s presumed first-line winger is set to miss the start of the season.
Boeser will miss start of Canucks’ season
- The Canucks have announced that Brock Boeser underwent successful hand surgery on Monday and will miss three to four weeks.
That’s obviously a blow for the Canucks, especially since Boeser was slated to start on the team’s de facto number one line alongside JT Miller and Tanner Pearson.
Bruce Boudreau had a ton of confidence in that line for large chunks of last season. They took on tough matchups but managed to control possession (56.4% Corsi-For) and scoring chances (55.6%) while they were on the ice.
So, at least for the start of the season, Boudreau has to find another option for his “first line.”
The obvious solution would appear to be slotting Conor Garland into Boeser’s spot. Garland, Pearson and Miller also spent time together last season, and they posted similarly successful on-ice results in terms of controlling possession.
If you want your first line to keep their juice, this solution works. Hell, you could argue that Garland is a better player than Boeser.
Further down the lineup, it’s clear that Boeser’s injury reopens the door for Nils Hoglander to not only make this team, but for him to have a significant role.
The 21-year-old has impressed Boudreau ever since the Canucks took the ice in Whistler. Now, I’m not sure if the Canucks bench boss has the confidence to put Hoglander with Bo Horvat and Vasily Podkolzin (if Garland takes Boeser’s spot) on a modern-day checking line, but preseason is the time for experimenting.
It could also make sense to shift Mikheyev down to Horvat’s line and give Hoglander a shot with Kuzmenko and Pettersson. That would be a line with a ton of playmaking ability.
Bruce Boudreau on Nils Höglander: He’s the best player on the ice right now. He looks so much faster than he did last year. He’s definitely ready, and I think last year was a setback for him, and he doesn’t want it to happen again. #Canucks @Sportsnet650— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) September 23, 2022
Speaking of Mikheyev, the early indication is that his injury is day-to-day.
Canucks cut 8 from roster
- The Canucks trimmed their roster down by eight players on Monday. Here’s a list of who’s gone.
- Yushiro Hirano (released from PTO, assigned to Abbotsford)
- Chad Nychuk (released from ATO, assigned to Abbotsford)
- Cole Shepard (released from ATO, joining WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes)
- Matt Anderson (released from PTO)
- Dylan MacPherson (released from PTO)
- Kirill Kudryavstev (assigned to Soo Greyhounds, OHL)
- Connor Lockhart (assigned to Peterborough Petes, OHL)
- Ty Young (assigned to Prince George Cougars, WHL)
According to the Canucks team website, there are currently 41 players on the roster. That includes injured players Brock Boeser, Ilya Mikheyev and Justin Dowling.
Including other training camp invitees, there are 51 players still with the Canucks.
Around the NHL
- Seriously, who woulda thunk it!
- Virtanen had a lousy night. He's not on the PK, owing to his defensive issues, he doesn't do much at all with the puck on his stick and he was invisible physically. If he'd had Esposito's game it would have helped his chances a lot, but instead he was a complete non-factor.— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) September 27, 2022
- Juraj Slafkovsky made his debut for the Montreal Canadiens last night, skating 16:59 in a 2-1 loss to the Devils
Slafkovsky trailed only Kirby Dach (18:42) and Owen Beck (17:02) in terms of ice time among forwards.
- Here’s a ranking of the six-best blueline pairs heading into the NHL season. [The Score]