Sep 092009
 

From Cleve Dheensaw (Victoria Times Colonist):

With prodigy Cody Hodgson and the intriguing Russian Sergei Shirokov grabbing the headier storylines for the forwards in the Vancouver Canucks rookie camp, Dan Gendur of Victoria continues his quieter quest to move up the hockey ladder.

Fellow Victorian Taylor Ellington, meanwhile, has seen the recent flurry of blue-line veterans acquired by the Canucks and must know his fate is to also begin his pro career in the minors.

Having a season in the minors under his belt, with nine goals and 38 points in 52 games with the hometown Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL, Gendur is a year ahead of his buddy Ellington on the pro learning curve.

More here.

Sep 072009
 

Nick Patterson covers the Everett Silvertips for the Everett Herald. While covering the Silvertips’ preseason, he took some time to answer our questions regarding Canucks prospects, Kellan Tochkin and Taylor Ellington.

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Kellan Tochkin and Taylor Ellington

Photo credit: Everett Silvertips

CHB: After leading all WHL rookies in scoring 74 points, what are yours (and the Silvertips’) expectations from Kellan Tochkin?

Nick Patterson: It’s interesting because although Tochkin led the team in scoring, he was thought of more as part of a unit than as an individual. He teamed with fellow 17-year-old rookies Byron Froese and Tyler Maxwell to form a young and dynamic line, and it almost became impossible to mention one without the other two. Therefore, I don’t think the expectations (and pressure) are as high for him individually in Everett as one might think. The expectations for that line, however, will be to become a top No. 1 unit — provided new coach Craig Hartsburg keeps them together — and Tochkin would be expected to accumulate the most points among the trio.

CHB: Tochkin wasn’t drafted in his first eligible draft season, but shined in Canucks prospect camp enough to get the Canucks to sign him to an entry-level contract. Two things: Why do you think Tochkin wasn’t drafted? What impresses you most about him (i.e. what is it about him that probably led the Canucks to sign him)?

Nick: My understanding is that Tochkin was a very polarizing player among the scouting community. Some loved his offensive abilities, while others believed his modest physical attributes would prevent him from ever being an effective pro. It’s those physical attributes — small and a below-average skater — that probably kept him from being drafted. But Tochkin has about as good a passing vision of any player who’s come through Everett, and I’m sure that’s what the Canucks were looking at when they signed him.

CHB: Taylor Ellington finished his WHL career as an overager with a career-high 32 points and career-worst -20. Do you think Ellington has the game to make it in the pros?

Nick: I think Ellington can make it in the pros, certainly in the minors, as he has decent size, his skating is OK and he’s willing to play a physical game. However, he’s not a highly-skilled player, so he’s never going to be more than a stay-at-home defenseman. My guess is he’ll need a couple years in the minors to adjust to the pro level, but he’s a dedicated guy who should be willing to put in the work necessary to raise his game.

CHB: What does Ellington need to work on to make it in the pros?

Nick: Even though he’s going to be a stay-at-home defenseman, Ellington is still going to have to improve his puck skills, particularly making sure his first pass is always on the tape. And even though he’s a pretty strong guy, he’s going to have to get stronger in order to play his role against fully-mature opponents.

CHB: What were Ellington’s biggest contributions to the Silvertips organization?

Nick: Ellington’s always going to be remembered in Everett as the guy everybody liked. He was a great teammate because he’s a goofy, happy-go-lucky individual who gets along with everyone. As a player he’s a perfect illustration at how much a player can improve over five seasons in the WHL. There were times as a 16-year-old when you wondered whether he was ever going to figure out the mental part of the game. But he got better every season, and despite an ugly plus/minus was very deserving of being named the team’s co-MVP last season, as he logged a ridiculous number of minutes against top offensive players.

Apr 022009
 
Apr 012009
 
Mar 172009
 

It’s been a good past few days for some Vancouver Canucks prospects.

2008 1st round wonderboy Cody Hodgson won a bunch of awards (batallionhockey.com with HT to ‘Nucks Misconduct):

Cody Hodgson was a multiple winner as the Brampton Battalion presented its yearly awards Sunday.

Centre Hodgson received the Ontario Hockey League team’s player of the year and most sportsmanlike player honours and also collected the Don (Hockey) Hadley Memorial Award, named for a longtime season ticketholder and presented by the Booster Brigade as the fans’ favourite player.

Defenseman Yann Sauve won one (Nathan White, Telegraph-Journal):

The Children’s Wish Foundation Fan Choice Award went to 18-year-old Vancouver Canucks prospect Yann Sauve.

“It’s a great honour to be selected by the fans and I’m happy about it. You never know what the fans think about you. When you’re playing hockey it’s not always positive things you hear from the fans. They let you know when you do bad things,” Sauve said. “I respect the fans here a lot. They’re doing a great job supporting us.”

Taylor Ellington was named the Everett Silvertips’ co-MVP (Nick Patterson, Everett Herald-Net):

The choice as the Everett Silvertips’ most valuable player was a split decision.

Right wing Shane Harper and defenseman Taylor Ellington were named the team’s co-MVPs for the 2008-09 season during the team’s annual awards ceremony following Saturday night’s game.

Harper, a 19-year-old from Valencia, Calif., became the team’s go-to offensive player during the second half of the season. Through Everett’s first 70 games Harper led the team in goals with 32 and was second in points with 66.

Ellington, a 20-year-old from Victoria, B.C., has been the team’s defensive mainstay all season long. Going into Saturday he had five goals, and 25 assists.

The Canucks then signed Ellington to his first pro contract yesterday.

And finally, Patrick White’s and Taylor Matson’s University of Minnesota Gophers advanced to the WCHA Final Five and has a shot to move on to the NCAA tournament at the end of the month. For anyone interested, their play-in game against Minnesota Duluth will be aired live on FSN Plus.

Sep 182008
 

After completing Prospects Camp and the rookie tourney in Camrose, the Vancouver Canucks announced the following cuts today:

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have reduced their training camp roster by 14 players. The Vancouver Canucks will now have 45 players attending main training camp in Whistler, B.C., September 19-21.

The following players have been assigned to the Manitoba Moose:

Mario Bliznak Centre Manitoba Moose AHL
Patrick Coulombe Defence Manitoba Moose AHL

The following players have been assigned to their junior clubs:

Morgan Clark Goalie Red Deer WHL
Prab Rai Centre Seattle WHL

The following players have been released but will be attending the Manitoba Moose camp:

Jordie Benn Defence Manitoba Moose AHL
Oren Eizenman Forward Manitoba Moose AHL
Julien Ellis Goalie Manitoba Moose AHL
Scott Howes Left Wing Manitoba Moose AHL
Travis Ramsey Defence Manitoba Moose AHL

The following players have been released:

Shawn Boutin Defence
Tyler Matheson Left Wing
Tom May Forward
Kyle Neuber Right Wing
Jordan Skellet Left Wing

Which means the following are moving on to the main camp this weekend:

Forwards – Dan Gendur, Michael Grabner, Cody Hodgson, Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Juraj Simek

Defense – Taylor Ellington, Daniel Rahimi and Yann Sauve

Goaltender – Cory Schneider

No big surprises really. Grabner, Hodgson and Schneider were very good and certainly earned their invitations to play with the big boys. The others were okay, and at the very least, probably merited a longer look. That said, with the exception of Grabner and Hodgson (and to a lesser extent Schneider), I don’t expect anyone from this group to make it to the big squad. However, the camp experience should be invaluable before they return to the Moose or their junior teams. In particular, Ellington, who was named an alternate captain for the Everett Silvertips today (Nick Patterson, Everett HeraldNet), and Sauve, who the Saint John Sea Dogs are counting on for leadership (Nathan White, Telegraph Journal), should benefit from being around the team’s veterans.

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