The Canucks’ preseason kicks off tonight with a game against the San Jose Sharks, meaning summer is officially over. There will be actual hockey on TV with actual NHL players skating on actual ice scoring actual goals. I mean, it’s just preseason, but hockey on TV will always be superior to no hockey on TV.
There are two players who definitely won’t be in the lineup for the Canucks, as they were cut from training camp and sent back to their junior teams: Cole Cassels and Jordan Subban. Both were selected in this year’s draft and had no chance of making the team this year, though both were impressive during the Young Stars Tournament and look like they have a promising future ahead of them.
Similar to the last five cuts, Cassels and Subban will head back to their OHL teams in time for the start of their season on Thursday. Though they were no more likely to make the Canucks roster than those five players, they were higher draft picks with a little more invested in them and got an extra weekend of training camp with the Canucks’ coaching staff.
When the Canucks picked Cole Cassels in the third round of the draft, it wasn’t a particularly exciting pick. Cassels has good all-around ability, but the scouting reports indicate that he doesn’t particularly excel in any one area. It’s hard to get amped up about a jack-of-all-trades who doesn’t have eye-catching point totals.
After his performance during the Canucks’ prospect camp and Young Stars Tournament, however, there’s plenty of excitement building about Cassels. The 18-year-old centre was one of the best forwards for the Canucks and one of the best forwards period. Kevin McCartney, who writes for Jets Nation, had Cassels as one of the honourable mentions for his All-Star picks from the tournament, and for good reason.
Cassels was noticeable in all three zones, but what was especially impressive was his work in the neutral zone, where he harried opposing skaters and picked off passes with his great skating and positioning. He contributed offensively as well, finishing with 3 points in 4 games, good for third on the Canucks. There’s a lot more optimism surrounding Cassels’ potential now than when he was drafted.
Jordan Subban also had a strong tournament after a rough first game, though he finished with no points. His defensive work, however, significantly improved and he used his positioning and skating to make up for his lack of size. I also liked his work on the point while on the powerplay, as he distributed the puck with confidence.
It was clear, however, that he’s still years away from being a professional player. Subban needs to improve his strength and some of his decision-making in his own end, but his high-end skill is readily apparent. He looked well worth the risk of selecting him with a fourth round pick. He’ll play a big role for the Belleville Bulls this season and Canucks fans and management will be keeping a close eye on him.
He definitely looks like he could have NHL potential down the road, though a late growth spurt would certainly help.Tags: camp cuts, Cole Cassels, Jordan Subban, Prospects