The Canucks might start the season with three goaltenders, because they want us to suffer

Heading into Canucks training camp, there were just a few stories to keep an eye on. Simple things, like who would end up playing with the Sedins, who will centre the third line, and which defencemen will partner on the third pairing.

In net, however, there was no story. Though it will be interesting to see what happens throughout the season, particularly if Eddie Lack outplays Ryan Miller, training camp offered no drama for the goaltending position. Did you really think the $1.15 million sophomore was going to win the starting job over the newly-signed $6 million veteran? Come on!

It’s clear: the Canucks were going to start the season with Miller in net and Lack backing him up. Barring an injury, there was literally no other way things could shake out.

Notice how I keep using the past tense? That’s entirely on purpose.

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Canucks kick off training camp with potential opening night lines

With 61 players at training camp, the Canucks have more than enough guys to comfortably make three full teams. Now, obviously, the goal here is to pare it down to one team, but for the time being, the players have been split into three groups: Blue, Green, and White.

It’s the first day of training camp, so it doesn’t make much sense to read too much into the lines that we see at this junction. They probably aren’t going to stay like that.

But it’s hard not to when you look at the line-ups. It’s clear the plan for Willie Desjardins and company isn’t to start with chaos and see how it comes together (ala John Tortorella last year, or Alain Vigneault a few times during his run). Rather, it’s to start with the ideal opening night lines and defense pairings, the ones written in pencil this summer, and see if anyone or anything else at training camp makes them reconsider. Let’s take a look at how it’s shaping up:

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Four battles to watch heading into Canucks training camp

It’s the start of training camp, which means it’s time for rampant speculation. Who will shine in the pre-season? Who will fall flat on their faces? Which player will excel, looking to have a spot sewn up, then get a brutal injury in the final game of the pre-season and never play for the Canucks again?

The truth is that we have no earthly idea what’s going to happen, particularly in this coming training camp and pre-season. Thanks to the off-season shake-up both on and off the ice, my Canucks-branded Magic 8-Ball keeps returning “Reply hazy, try again.” Admittedly, that’s better than when it was telling me, “You know what to do: burn ‘em all!”

Here are four training camp battles to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

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Here’s the full 2014 Vancouver Canucks training camp roster

Canucks training camp opens Friday in Whistler, but the festivities actually began Thursday in Vancouver, as the players reported to Rogers Arena for fitness testing, headshots, and a meet-and-greet with the media. (According to reports we can predict before they’re even filed: as per usual, everyone worked out really hard this summer and is in the best shape of their life, everyone likes this year’s team a lot and thinks they have a great chance, and everyone is excited to hit the ice.)

There are 61 players attending the Vancouver Canucks’ 2014 training camp: 34 forwards, 21 defencemen, and 6 goalies. Over the next few weeks, this combination of veterans, prospects, invitees, and tryouts will vie to survive through to the team’s final, 23-man, opening day roster.

As we do every year, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this list, as the Canucks work to trim it down to a more manageable number. But first, a role call. Here’s the complete training camp roster, barring any last-minute adjustments or tryouts.

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Who are these media guys Ryan Kesler is talking about?

Unwilling to adjust to waking up one to three hours earlier, Ryan Kesler forced a trade within the timezone this summer, joining the Anaheim Ducks. The centre will still be around Rogers Arena quite a bit, of course, since he just had to go to a team in the division, but he is no longer one of us. Now he is the enemy.

But Kesler doesn’t view Canucks fans the same way. He doesn’t hate you, Vancouver — just select members of your media.

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Did Frank Corrado’s decision to attend the Youngstars Tournament backfire?

Frank Corrado didn’t have to head up to Penticton last weekend to play in the annual Youngstars prospect tournament. He had already been to two of them: he was a standout in his first tournament back in 2011, then was dominant at both ends of the ice in 2013. With a full season of professional hockey in the AHL — along with a total of 22 NHL games, including 4 playoff games — under his belt, another Youngstars tournament didn’t seem to be necessary.

But the Canucks reportedly asked Corrado if he’d like to participate in the tournament and he said yes. One can understand why: with a new management team and coaching staff in Vancouver, Corrado has an all-new group of people to impress if he wants to make the Canucks out of training camp, and what better opportunity to make a good first impression than dominating a tournament featuring younger, smaller prospects, many of whom will never play even one game in the NHL, let alone 22?

Only, it didn’t work out that way. Instead, Corrado struggled to establish his game, looking a lot more like a raw kid than someone ready to make the jump to the big leagues.

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J.T. Wyman gets Canucks training camp tryout; does he have a chance?

J.T. Wyman was the 100th draft pick in 2004, just nine spots after Alexander Edler (and 186 before Jannik Hansen). After the draft, he committed to four years at Dartmouth, where he played with former Canuck Tanner Glass, and then signed with his big-league team, the Montreal Canadiens. He played 3 games with them in 2009, probably encountering Perry Pearn, who was an assistant coach in Montreal at that time.

Five years on, Pearn and Wyman are set to reconnect. Pearn is an assistant in Vancouver now. And Wyman is on his way there to join the Canucks’ training camp on a professional tryout contract.

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Stick in Link: Jim Benning says some things; features on the new guys

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Tuesday and Thursday. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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Complete statistics from the 2014 Youngstars Tournament

The 2014 Youngstars Tournament did not go particularly well for the Canucks. While their prospects managed to take two of three games to overtime, they still lost both in the end, then got thoroughly tromped by the Flames’ prospects in the tournament closer. While wins and losses aren’t really the point of a prospects tournament, [...]

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Camp Cuts: Miles Liberati returned to Junior, invitees sent home

With the conclusion of the Youngstars Tournament yesterday, it was just a matter of time before players started to get cut. And, by “a matter of time,” I mean “no time at all.” The first cuts were announced shortly after the Canucks’ prospects ugly 6-1 loss to the Flames’ prospects.

Like every year, PITB will be here to explain every cut as they happen or, rather, slightly after they happen. To start off, the cuts will be pretty easy to explain, with just one actual Canucks prospect getting the boot.

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