After a four-day, five-team Young Stars Tournament and a three-day training camp in Penticton, Canucks fans are still looking for a feel-good story. The Young Stars tournament was only mildly-entertaining and Canucks training camp was mostly uneventful. More notably however was the fact that, after a week of drills and scrimmages, we’re still waiting for someone to step up, stand out and steal a roster spot.
Last year, Sergei Shirokov surprised everyone when he left Russia and successfully made the Canucks’ opening roster. Ditto Aaron Rome who signed out of nowhere and played his way on to the team, even if only as their no. 7 defenseman.
So who are this year’s version of Shirokov and Rome?
After a seemingly seamless transition from college to the Moose late last season, Jordan Schroeder was largely ineffective in the Young Stars tournament and ordinary in training camp.
Bill Sweatt showed flashes of brilliance but also a lack of finish.
Brendan Morrison is a sentimental favorite to make it, but while the Canucks are encouraged by his performance in camp, they are also well aware that there is a difference between performing well in drills and performing well in games.
Lee Sweatt may be in the same boat as Morrison (more on Lee in a separate post), and I think it says something that no one’s talking about Peter Schaeffer.
So far this year, no one seems poised to surprise and make the big squad. I realize that’s partly because there are veteran incumbents already in place in most positions, but, IMHO, there are four, maybe five or six, spots available up front (bottom-six) and on defense (depth) and there are no clear front-runners for any of them. Maybe it speaks more that the competition for these spots is fierce, and with the first of nine preseason games starting tonight, there is still ample opportunity for someone to step it up and seize a roster spot.
The question is, over the next two weeks, who will it be?