Camp Cuts: Canucks send eight to the Utica Comets

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Canucks made significant cuts after losing their first game of the preseason. A number of the players on the roster against the San Jose Sharks had disappointing games, like Zach Hamill and Alex Biega. What is a bit surprising, however, is that of the eight players cut from the Canucks training camp, none of them played on Monday.

The Canucks assigned five players to their affiliate in the AHL, the Utica Comets, while the three other players they cut received an invite to the Comets’ training camp. Of the eight players cut, five were invitees to camp, while the other three were drafted by the Canucks. Of the invitees, three of them are already signed to the Comets, with the other two hoping to earn contracts in camp.

Today, PITB bids a hopefully temporary farewell to Ludwig Blomstrand, Alex Friesen, Wes Myron, Mathieu Corbeil, Sacha Guimond, David Pacan, Mitch Elliot, and Jesse Mychan.

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Camp Cuts: Four invitees cut before main training camp

After the Canucks’ final game of the Young Stars Tournament, Utica Comets coach Travis Green said he was going to meet right away to discuss who was going to get the invite to the main Canucks camp. He indicated that of the 30 players at the prospects camp, around 20 would continue on. The team was still on the bus when the first cuts were announced, but surprisingly, only four players were cut: Cain Franson, Philippe Maillet, Adam De Champlain, and Daniel Johnston, all invitees.

While there still may be a few players sent packing before the Canucks’ main camp kicks off in earnest, it seems that the rest of the Canucks’ prospect camp roster will get a reprieve until they are back in Vancouver. It’s worth noting that all four cuts only played in two games and only one, De Champlain, played against the Jets, so it’s possible that they had already been cut prior to gametime.

As training camp rolls along, PITB will be here to explain each and every cut, even the most blatantly obvious ones. The first four fit that bill, as they didn’t quite do enough to stick around.

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2013 Canucks prospect training camp invitees: part two

Today we continue our look at the invitees to the Canucks 2013 prospect training camp as the Young Stars tournament kicks off with a game between the Canucks and Sharks. Canucks.com will be streaming the game online at 7:30 pm, giving fans their first chance to see guys like Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk in action in a Canucks jersey. It will also be our first chance to see if some of the undrafted and unsigned invitees have a chance to earn a contract.

It’s interesting to note that five of the eleven invitees play left wing. Left wing is currently the weakest position in the Canucks’ prospect pool. Every other position has at least one player with a fairly certain NHL future: Nicklas Jensen at right wing, Bo Horvat and Brendan Gaunce at centre, Frank Corrado at defence, and Joacim Eriksson and Eddie Lack in net.

On left wing, however, the Canucks have Darren Archibald, Ludwig Blomstrand, Steven Anthony, Wes Myron, and Matthew Beattie. There’s some potential in that list and one of those players could surprise everyone, but none of them have significant upside to really get excited about.

If you don’t have quality, however, you may as well go for quantity and hope that you get lucky if you roll the dice enough times. It makes sense, then, for most of the invitees to play a position of weakness for the Canucks in hopes that one of them stands out and can be added to the prospect pool.

On Tuesday, we looked at the first five invitees coming to camp. Here are the remaining six:

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2013 Canucks prospect training camp invitees: part one

The Canucks prospect training camp kicks off on Wednesday, but it won’t just be Canucks prospects attending. As per usual, the Canucks have invited a number of undrafted and/or unsigned players to fill out their camp roster. Of the 31 players coming to camp and the Young Stars tournament, 11 are invitees hoping to catch the attention of Canucks’ management or, perhaps, the management of one of the other teams participating.

There’s even a recent success story from the Canucks invitees: Antoine Roussel. The native of France was an invitee at the Canucks’ 2011 prospect training camp and did enough during the Young Stars tournament to earn an invite to the Canucks’ main camp. He didn’t quite do enough to earn a contract with the Canucks, but did sign with their AHL affiliate at the time, the Chicago Wolves. His tough physical play earned the attention of the Dallas Stars and, after signing with them, had a surprisingly good 2012-13 season in the NHL, putting up 14 points in 39 games to go with his pugilistic tendencies.

The Canucks might hope that they actually signed the next invitee that has an NHL future, rather than seeing him go on to succeed elsewhere. Could any of this year’s invitees be that player? Let’s take a look at the first 5 invitees and try to learn a little bit more about them before they don Canucks jerseys this week.

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Canucks announce 2013 prospect camp and Young Stars tournament roster

August, the unhockiest of months, is finally over and, with the end of August, comes the announcement of the Canucks’ 2013 prospect camp roster. Prospect camp rosters are like the first robin of spring for hockey fans, the first indication that the figurative winter of the off-season is over and the literal winter of the hockey season is just around the corner.

Prospect camp kicks off on September 4th in Penticton, with all on-ice sessions open to the public. The Young Stars tournament starts the next day, as the Canucks host the Sharks, Flames, Oilers, and Jets. Pass it to Bulis will be in Penticton to provide in-person coverage of the event and get our first real look at the Canucks’ 2013 draft picks, particularly Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk.

Here’s the complete Canucks prospect camp roster and you can expect our usual invitee profiles over the next couple days.

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2013 Canucks Development Camp invitees: forwards, part two

The Canucks 2013 prospect development camp wrapped up yesterday. While the Canucks’ drafted and signed prospects will be sent into the off-season with a training plan full of things to work on heading into next season’s training camp, the invitees will have a couple nervous months ahead of them, as they hope to receive a follow-up invite to training camp or, if all goes well, a contract offer.

It took until September for Evan McEneny to sign with the Canucks after impressing at the 2012 development camp, so if none of the invitees sign immediately, it does not necessarily mean they won’t eventually. Still, it’s rare for an invitee to sign at all. Some will return in September for prospect training camp and will hope to earn their way to the main camp from there or to Utica to sign an AHL contract with the Comets.

We’ve covered the invitee goaltenders, defencemen, and four of the nine forwards. Here are the final five invitee forwards, featuring two Latvians, a Californian, and diametrically opposite WHL prospects.

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2013 Canucks Development Camp invitees: forwards, part one

The Canucks’ 2013 prospect development camp is coming to a climax with a scrimmage that is open to the public and viewable online. Canucks fans eager to see the Canucks’ latest draft picks will get their chance, along with an opportunity to see how past picks have developed.

I admit, however, that my eyes are likely to be drawn to some of the lesser known names on the ice. After scouring the internet for information about the 16 undrafted and unsigned invitees to this year’s development camp, I’m eager to see them play. So far, I’ve covered the invitee goaltenders and defencemen, which leaves us with the nine invitee forwards.

Two of the most interesting invitee forwards, Miks Indrasis and Cody Sylvester, will be coming in part two, but part one has a fair share of intriguing prospects, with two offensive-minded college freshmen and two physical, two-way Major Junior players, including one with a prior connection to John Tortorella.

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2013 Canucks Development Camp invitees: defence

The Canucks’ 2013 prospect development camp is well underway, as the 38 prospects have participated in on-ice drills, MMA training, yoga, and scrimmages. Tuesday, they’ll have off and on-ice sessions, then do some dragon-boating and cooking classes, presumably to learn about teamwork and nutrition, respectively.

Among the 38 prospects at camp are 16 invitees who were neither drafted nor signed by the Canucks. On Monday, I profiled the three invitee goaltenders, as the invitees don’t receive much coverage at camp and are generally relative unknowns compared to the prospects already connected to the Canucks. Today, we’ll look at the four invitee defencemen at camp, featuring three college boys and a WHL grad.

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2013 Canucks Development Camp invitees: goaltenders

The Vancouver Canucks 2013 prospect development camp kicked off this weekend I am endlessly intrigued by invitees to the Canucks development, prospect, and training camps. The undrafted and unsigned invitees have an intrigue surrounding them as, unlike the prospects that are drafted and signed by the Canucks who are the subject of interviews and highlight videos on the Canucks website, as well as coverage from the media, the invitees are virtual unknowns.

Will any of this year’s 16 invitees repeat Evan McEneny’s feat from 2012 and earn an entry-level contract with the Canucks? Let’s take a look, starting with the goaltenders.

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Canucks (finally) release 2013 development camp roster

Thanks to the NHL lockout, events have been jammed together more than usual over the past couple weeks. The end of the Stanley Cup Final led directly into the draft, with barely a moment to compose ourselves before free agency opened and craziness ensued.

Meanwhile, the Canucks’ prospect development camp has snuck up on us, as 38 players descended upon Vancouver this weekend, including all seven of the Canucks’ 2013 draft picks and a healthy dose of unsigned and undrafted invitees. This Sunday, they finally released the official development camp roster.

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Spitballin’ on Canucks ruining interviews, missing roommates, and scouting college players

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few topics that deserve mention.

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Canucks take a chance on Evan McEneny

The Canucks invited 24 unsigned and undrafted prospects to their summer development camp, more than any other team in the league. Often, these invitees prove to have been unsigned and undrafted for a reason and part ways with the Canucks after camp ends. The Canucks didn’t sign any of their invitees from their 2010 or 2011 camps, though some signed with other NHL teams.

This year was different, however, as the Canucks signed one of the most intriguing invitees from their 2012 camp: defenceman Evan McEneny.

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The 2012 Development Camp Invitees: Defence (Part 2)

It is time for the final instalment of our 5-part Development Camp Invitees posts. Part one of the defencemen was posted earlier today. Here are the final four invitees, including an intriguing prospect whose season was cut short by a brutal injury, a behemoth with a great name, and the brother of an NHLer.

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The 2012 Development Camp Invitees: Defence (Part 1)

The Canucks have cast a wide net in their summer development camp, inviting an astonishing number of undrafted and unsigned players to attend. While the camp is now over, that doesn’t mean that the Canucks relationship with these invitees is likewise over.

Several of the invitees, at least the ones that won’t be heading to college in the fall, are likely to also attend prospect training camp, with an opportunity to make it to main camp and earn a contract. As for the players that are heading to college, they now have a (hopefully) positive experience with the Canucks that may influence who they sign with once they’re done with the NCAA.

I have already introduced you to the goaltenders and the (many) forwards. Now it is time for the defencemen, highlighted by size, size, and more size. Also, a former Oilers’ draft pick with promising offensive upside.

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The 2012 Development Camp Invitees: Forwards (Part 2)

It may be Free Agent Frenzy, but the Canucks’ 2012 prospect development camp is still in full swing. The prospects have gone dragon boating, learned proper nutrition with a cooking class, and, of course, hit the ice for plenty of drills. Yesterday, we looked at 5 of the 11 invitee forwards at the camp. Here are the remaining 6, highlighted by a pair of goalscorers from the NCAA and the WHL.

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The 2012 Development Camp Invitees: Forwards (Part 1)

The Canucks prospect development camp is in full swing and Canucks.com has plenty of coverage, including photo galleries, Frankie Corrado’s blog, and reports from Derek Jory. But they’re mainly focussed on the prospects at camp that are already in the Canucks system, and for good reason. But I want to know about everyone else: the undrafted and unsigned players. The invitees.

There are almost as many invitee forwards at this year’s camp as there were total invitees last year. Are the Canucks casting a wider net and hoping that out of the quantity will come quality? Are any of these undrafted and unsigned prospects future Canucks?

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The 2012 Development Camp Invitees: Goaltenders

Longtime Bulies will know that my favourite part of prospect camps is looking into the unsigned and undrafted invitees and seeing where they came from. The prospects that are already in the Canucks system are, to a certain extent, known quantities. Thanks to extensive draft coverage in the media, interviews and features on Canucks.com, and the frenetic googling of thousands of fans, we know a decent amount about each of them.

There is a mystery, however, surrounding camp invitees that makes them extremely interesting to me. While NHL scouting is excellent, plenty of players have made it to the NHL without being drafted, with Alex Burrows being a well-known example to Canucks fans. Maybe, just maybe, one of these invitees slipped through the cracks and is a diamond in the rough, just waiting to be shaped into a beautiful jewel.

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Two days ago, we concluded our report on the Young Stars tournament invitees — Antoine Roussel, Nathan Longpre and Karel St. Laurent — and their quests to earn professional contracts within the bowels of the Canucks organization. Roussel had been successful, Longpre’s tryout was extended, and St. Laurent had unfortunately been released and would be attending and playing goal for Trois Rivieres, according to our sources.

Turns out, we were wrong. St. Laurent’s not heading home; he’s heading to Pennsylvania to be the number one netminder for the ECHL’s Reading Royals, after signing a contract with the Providence Bruins.

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Last week, we provided an update on Antoine Roussel, one of three young players that managed to parlay an invitation from the Canucks’ to the Young Stars tournament in Penticton into a tryout with their AHL affiliate in Chicago. Roussel had done what he set out to do, earning a contract with the Wolves.

At the time, there was no news on the other two invitees, Nathan Longpre and Karel St. Laurent, but with the Wolves’ first game of the regular season set for this Saturday, a decision on both players was expected by the middle of this week. That decision has been made. Despite a strong showing, Karel St. Laurent was unable to crack the Wolves’ goaltending depth chart, and has been released. Meanwhile, Nathan Longpre’s long shot continues, as the Wolves have signed the 23-year-old centre to a professional tryout (PTO) of their own.

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Of the handful of players invited to pad out the roster for the Canucks’ Young Stars team in Penticton, three impressed: Karel St. Laurent, Nathan Longpre, and Antoine Roussel. At the end of the tournament, all three were invited to main camp and, while they failed to earn contracts with the Canucks, each was eventually assigned to the training camp of the Canucks’ AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves.

Antoine Roussel has already made the most of the opportunity, signing a contract to join the Wolves forward corps’ for the upcoming season.

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The Canucks closed out a cut-heavy Sunday night by losing four more members of the training camp roster, assigning Matt Climie and Antoine Roussel to the Wolves, and reassigning both Owen Nolan and Niko Dimitrakos from their tryout contracts. Once again, PITB is here to break down the moves, although if these four need any explanation, it’s possible you won’t even comprehend the one I provide.

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Despite Alain Vigneault’s claims that the next round of cuts wouldn’t come until Friday, the Canucks made two minor reductions today, sending 2011 third round draft pick Alexandre Grenier back to the QMJHL and releasing prospect camp invitee Karel St. Laurent to their AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves. Followers of Grenier on Twitter saw this coming, as he tweeted this morning that he was on his way back to the Halifax Mooseheads.

As always, PITB is here for the explanation. Since we’re not too far into training camp and the preseason just yet, the explanations are not too difficult. Grenier is clearly not ready for the NHL yet and there’s just no room for Karel St. Laurent in Vancouver.

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On the eve of tomorrow’s split squad games with the Calgary Flames, the Canucks have trimmed their preseason roster by two, sending defensemen Sawyer Hannay back to Halifax and releasing Marc Anthony Zanetti outright. Any time this happens, we at PITB will do our best to explain why these players were cut, and it’s pretty easy this early into training camp. Neither was good enough.

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Shortly after the conclusion of the final game of the Young Stars Tournament, the Vancouver Canucks announced their first round of cuts, letting eight players know that they would not be coming to the main camp. Unfortunately for me and my increasingly creepy obsession, all eight players were invitees. We bid a sad farewell to Michael Curtis, Craig Duininck, Ryan Harrison, Steven Janes, Brendan Jensen, Jonathan Lessard, Ian Saab, and Andrew Smith.

In happier news, this means that several invitees are heading to main camp and are still in the running to earn a contract with the Canucks or Wolves. Sticking around are Marc Anthony Zanetti, Nathan Longpre, Antoine Roussel, and Karel St. Laurent. It’s worth noting that the invitees asked to stay were four of the five oldest invitees. All four are at least 20, with the only 20-year-old not staying being Jonathan Lessard.

So how did these players fare during the Young Stars Tournament? Are any invitees heading back to Junior unjustly? And of those staying, do any of them have a chance at earning a contract? Fortunately for you, I watched all four games of the tournament and took extensive notes. Let’s take a look.

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Throughout the Young Stars Tournament, we will have in-person coverage from Harrison, while I will be “in studio” back here in the Valley. We won’t be writing our usual I Watched This Game feature, as the games themselves are not what matters. Instead, we’ll be looking at the individual performances. I will be choosing the 3 stars from amongst the Canucks prospects as well as making a few other observations. Why just the Canucks prospects? Because we don’t care about the other teams. Screw ‘em.

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