Feb 262009
 

If the injury to Pavol Demitra’s finger is more serious, then it could force the Canucks’ hand before Wednesday’s trade deadline. Or it could create an opportunity for Michael Grabner, the team’s 1st rounder .

Is Grabner ready for prime-time?

Now in his second year with the Manitoba Moose, Grabner still suffers from bouts of inconsistency. He showed some promise while appearing in the Canucks’ preseason, but was sent to the Moose. He started their season with 10 points (7G-3A) in 19 games in October and November, then put up 18 points (12G-6A) in 20 games in December and January. The Canucks allowed him to join Team Austria for the Winter Olympics qualifier earlier this month, but since coming back, only has 5 points (2G-3A) in 8 games.

These numbers don’t exactly scream opportunity, but the Canucks don’t have a lot of options to replace offensive-minded players. Sure they could bump up a Taylor Pyatt or a Steve Bernier to the second line, but neither does it hurt to give Grabner a shot. I just hope they get the aggressive, productive Grabner, not the one that has a penchant for disappearing for stretches.

[update: 02/26/09, 6:57 AM]

Grabner has, in fact, been called up now. Good luck kid.

Jan 282009
 
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Sep 122008
 

The Vancouver Canucks prospect camp starts today at UBC Thunderbird arena, albeit with a smaller group of prospects (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun):

In previous seasons, every living, breathing player not on the National Hockey League roster was expected to show up to skate, shoot and fight. All the top minor leaguers were present. It was a useful exercise in gauging the organization’s depth below the NHL level.

If you showed well in prospects camp, you were better received at main camp. Stink it up and you were re-assigned before getting a chance to tell the Sedin twins apart.

This season, however, it is a true rookie camp. Players with minimal pro experience, no pro experience and those still in junior will comprise the 23-man roster.

It’s interesting because instead of being compared against everyone they could be competing for an NHL job for, they’re going to be compared only against players, who, theoretically, are at the same stage of development.

That said, there’s good hype about some of the prospects already (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province). Michael Grabner and Cody Hodgson, the Canucks’ top draft picks in 2006 and 2008 respectively, are expected to not only make it through to the main camp, but also to challenge for a spot on the big team. Though at this point, I’m not sure if that’s a testament of how good Grabner and Hodgson are or how much Mike Gillis needs Mats Sundin to sign.

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