The complete Canucks prospects camp roster was announced recently and Canucks fans are excited to see the team’s young prospects in action in the Young Stars tournament, including their 2011 first round draft pick Nicklas Jensen and free agent signees Darren Archibald and Bill Sweatt. But beyond the big names deep in the Canucks depth chart, there are 10 undrafted/unsigned invitees coming to camp, hoping to earn an invite to the Canucks main camp and, perhaps, a contract.
Of the 12 invitees to the Canucks summer development camp, only 2 return, defenseman Marc-Anthony Zanetti and goaltender Karel St. Laurent. Most of those not returning to camp are already heading back to school in the NCAA or are playing this season in Europe. The one exception is Brandon Tanev, brother to Chris Tanev, who was traded to the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles after he attended the Canucks development camp, where he’ll join fellow invitee St. Laurent. The tiny Tanev just doesn’t have the potential of his bigger brother, even if he does eventually go through a similar growth spurt, which is likely why he did not receive a return invite. He’ll likely follow in his brother’s footsteps in the NCAA, as he has reportedly committed to Providence College.
So there are 8 entirely new faces among the 11 invitees hoping to impress Canucks brass with a few goals, saves, hits, and fights in the Young Stars Tournament. Here are the 3 defensemen, all of whom are returning to junior this season and will therefore not count against the Canucks’ 50-contract limit should the club decide to sign them:
Craig Duininck - Defense
6’0″ – 201 lbs – April 29, 1993
St. Cloud, MN
The defensively solid Duininck was ranked 118th among North American skaters heading into the 2011 entry draft, but ended up disappointed as he slipped through the cracks. Scouts report that Duininck projects well as a stay-at-home defenseman, but he possesses a heavy shot and he put up 22 points in 66 games for the Spitfires, adding 4 points in 18 playoff games, so there’s an offensive side to him as well. He’ll have more offensive opportunities this season with teammate Ryan Ellis going pro.
He’s also willing to drop the gloves when necessary, most notably doing so against Young Stars teammate Darren Archibald two years ago after Archibald ran over his goaltender. He’ll be an intriguing prospect to watch, having represented his country at the 2010 U-18 Ivan Hlinka tournament and boasting some untapped offensive potential.
Ian Saab - Defense
6’1″ – 165 lbs – February 8, 1992
Lewiston MAINEiacs/Saint John Sea Dogs
Saab isn’t exactly known for his scoring touch, scoring just 10 points in 75 games in the QMJHL, but he does play with a physical edge, recording 106 penalty minutes in 46 games for the MAINEiacs last season. With the MAINEiacs purchased and dissolved by the league after attendance struggles and rising debts (perhaps because their nickname made it embarrassing to support them), Saab was acquired by the Saint John Sea Dogs in the dispersal draft. Saint John’s director of hockey operations, Mike Kelly, reports that Saab has grown to 6’2″, 192 lbs and that they “really liked his compete level.”
He’s a willing combatant with the gloves off, is reportedly a reasonable skater, and has the capability to keep his game simple. His potential likely peaks at a 7th defenseman at the NHL level if he continues to develop his game. He describes receiving the invitation from the Canucks as “one of the best days of my life” so you know he’ll be enthusiastic during the tournament: look for him to set the tone with a fight in his first game.
Marc-Anthony Zanetti - Defense
6’0″ – 201 lbs – May 20, 1990
Richmond Hill, ON
I previously profiled Zanetti when he attended the Canucks summer development camp. He is an offensive defenseman with decent size who can play with a physical edge. He will be playing in his fifth season for the 67′s and will be expected to provide veteran leadership to go with an improved year statistically in hopes of landing an NHL contract for the following year. The Canucks may have the inside track in that regard, having asked him to work out in Vancouver after their development camp ended, where he trained with strength and conditioning coach Bryan Marshall for over a month. Judging by his twitter account, he’s a big fan of Jersey Shore, but we won’t hold that against him. We’ll mock him mercilessly for it, but we won’t hold it against him.
Tags: Canucks, featured, Invitees, Prospects, YoungStars