The PITB Podcast, Episode 2: Youngstars Tournament and the Meaning of Life

The Canucks prospects are in Penticton, working like mad to impress an all-new management group. Meanwhile, we’re sitting on our behinds judging those prospects, their skill, and their effort. In general, we’re pretty positive about the prospects of these prospects.

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Here’s what happened at the Canucks’ second Youngstars game

Everything went horribly wrong for the Canucks prospects in the first 40 minutes of this game: they gave up three goals on five shots in the second period, looked horrific defensively, and couldn’t get anything going offensively. To make matters worse, Dane Fox fought before the puck was dropped on a faceoff and was tossed from the game.

They entered the third period down 4-1 to the Jets’ prospects and, while the score doesn’t really matter in a prospects tournament, a close game is far more pleasant to watch.

Cue the third period comeback: the Canucks’ prospects scored three goals in the third period, including two in the final two minutes with their net empty, forcing overtime. It was borderline thrilling.

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Canucks prospects to watch at the 2014 Young Stars Tournament

I love this time of year. The lead-up to training camp and the start of the NHL regular season is a time of positivity and optimism. After a long off-season with no Canuck hockey, the wait is finally over. Sort of.

Tonight is the start of the annual Young Stars prospect tournament, as the Canucks prospects take on the Oilers prospects at 7:30 pm. The game will be streamed live on Canucks.com and the Canucks’ YouTube channel, which means that even if you can’t make it out to Penticton, you can still watch the game.

Normally, this is when we’d get our first look at the Canucks’ recent draft picks, but, for a variety of reasons, that won’t really be happening this year. Just two of the Canucks’ seven 2014 draft picks will be at the tournament and they were the Canucks’ last two picks of the draft. Neither of the Canucks’ first round picks will be playing: Jake Virtanen isn’t cleared for contact yet after his shoulder surgery and Jared McCann has mononucleosis.

The Canucks’ second round pick, goaltender Thatcher Demko, is already back at Boston College, while their third and fifth round picks, Nikita Tryamkin and Gustav Forsling, are back in Russia and Sweden. That leaves just sixth round pick Kyle Pettit and seventh round pick Mackenze Stewart from the Canucks’ most recent draft.

Fortunately, there are many other Canucks prospects to get excited about, from the obvious to the more unheralded.

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Meet the Canucks’ 2014 Young Stars Tournament invitees (Part 2)

We are this close to hockey being back. If you can’t tell, because it’s the internet and you can’t see me, I’m holding my thumb and forefinger about a centimetre apart.

It’s Thursday, September 11th, which means that the Canucks or, at least, a team wearing Canucks jerseys and white helmets, will be playing a game tomorrow. Or, if you’re reading this Friday, today. Or, if you’re reading this sometime after Friday, in the past. That’s how close hockey is to returning.

The Canucks prospects will be playing the Oilers prospects on Friday, starting at 7:30 pm. According to their website, the Canucks will be broadcasting the games live on Canucks.com, so you can watch something approximating Canucks hockey tomorrow, today, or in the past. This is crazy.

Along with the drafted and signed Canucks prospects will be ten unsigned and undrafted invitees. I profiled five of them on Wednesday and it’s time to look at the last five. Are any of them potential Canucks prospects? We’ll find out starting on Friday: if any of them impress, they could earn a contract or, at the very least, an invite to Canucks camp.

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Meet the Canucks’ 2014 Young Stars Tournament invitees (Part 1)

The annual Young Stars Tournament starts on Friday in Penticton and, as per usual, the Canucks have invited a number of undrafted and unsigned players to don a Canucks jersey. These invitees always intrigue me, as finding a diamond in the rough can easily and cheaply bolster the team’s prospect pool.

This year, the Canucks mostly looked to the WHL for their invitees. Eight of the Canucks’ ten invitees played last season in the WHL and a ninth is just a year removed from the Dub. That means the Canucks invited just one non-WHL player, Cordell James out of the OHL.

The thing with these invitees is that we generally know very little about them. Unlike the team’s drafted prospects, the invitees aren’t subject to profiles on the team’s website or breathless breakdowns of their potential from Pierre McGuire. So, every year, I take it upon myself to track down as much information on the Canucks’ invitees as possible. Here are all ten that will be in Penticton with the Canucks this year.

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Canucks release 2014 Young Stars Tournament roster, including Frank Corrado and Nicklas Jensen

The annual Young Stars tournament in Penticton is a lot of fun, giving fans a chance to see their team’s top prospects in an NHL jersey long before they actually make the NHL. I had the chance to go last year with my family and had a great time. I was easy to pick out: I was the only guy with a press pass and a baby carrier.

This year’s tournament is just one week away, with the first games taking place next Friday, September 12th. That’s right, hockey is almost back, everyone. Our long, national nightmare is nearly over.

The Canucks just released their roster for the tournament, featuring two players who have already played for the Canucks: Frank Corrado and Nicklas Jensen. The roster also includes 6 first round picks: Jensen, Brendan Gaunce, Bo Horvat, Hunter Shinkaruk, Jared McCann, and Jake Virtanen.

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Complete statistics from the 2013 Young Stars tournament in Penticton

Fans may be curious to know just how well prospects performed during the Young Stars tournament. While some are satisfied with subjective opinions from those who watched the games, others want to see some hard numbers.

I’ve got some numbers for you, but they’re not quite as firm as you might like. These statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, as I noticed some players receive pluses and minuses when they were not actually on the ice, along with a few missed assists and some phantom assists as well. Still, it’s nice to see the numbers and some of them are more reliable than others.

Goals, shots, and penalty minutes are the most reliable of the following statistics, which makes the goaltenders’ save percentages and goals against averages reliable as well.

Here are the point, penalty minute, and save percentage leaders, along with the complete statistics for every player in the tournament.

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Young Stars Three Stars: Canucks prospects vs Jets prospects, September 9, 2013

If you’re eager for the return of our regular I Watched This Game feature, you’ll have to wait a little longer. Since the game itself isn’t really the point of the Young Stars tournament, we’re instead looking at the games with a three stars format looking at individual performances and who stood out the most. We’ll be looking at the three best players from among the Canucks prospects as well as making a few other observations.

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Young Stars Three Stars: Canucks prospects vs Oilers prospects, September 8, 2013

If you’re eager for the return of our regular I Watched This Game feature, you’ll have to wait a little longer. Since the game itself isn’t really the point of the Young Stars tournament, we’re instead looking at the games with a three stars format looking at individual performances and who stood out the most. We’ll be looking at the three best players from among the Canucks prospects as well as making a few other observations.

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Young Stars Three Stars: Canucks prospects vs Flames prospects, September 6, 2013

If you’re eager for the return of our regular I Watched This Game feature, you’ll have to wait a little longer. Since the game itself isn’t really the point of the Young Stars tournament, we’re instead looking at the games with a three stars format looking at individual performances and who stood out the most. We’ll be looking at the three best players from among the Canucks prospects as well as making a few other observations.

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Young Stars Three Stars: Canucks prospects vs Sharks prospects, September 5, 2013

If you’re eager for the return of our regular I Watched This Game feature, you’ll have to wait a little longer. Since the game itself isn’t really the point of the Young Stars tournament, we’re instead looking at the games with a three stars format looking at individual performances and who stood out the most. We’ll be looking at the three best players from among the Canucks prospects as well as making a few other observations.

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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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Harrison is up in Penticton for the duration of the prospects camp, hobknobbing with the elite and bein’ famous. Also, he’s checking in with the blog every day, because he knows who butters his bread.

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Harrison is up in Penticton for the duration of the prospects camp, hobknobbing with the elite and bein’ famous. Also, he’s checking in with the blog every morning, because he knows who butters his bread.

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Back when the Canucks’ Young Stars roster was released, I made a point of boosting for invitee Ryan Harrison, who immediately earned my affection by having the same last name as my first name.

As the Jersey Foul bingo card establishes, putting your own name on the back of a team jersey is a massive fail (unless you play for the team). That in mind, I’ve been waiting for quite some time for the Canucks to dress a player with whom I shared a name. As a guy with two last names, I figured it would only be a matter of time until the day one of them showed up on a nameplate.

That day has come. Ryan Harrison, je t’aime.

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Harrison is up in Penticton for the duration of the prospects camp, hobknobbing with the elite and bein’ famous. Also, he’s checking in with the blog every morning because he knows who butters his bread.

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