There once was a time when fans could focus in on one or two Canucks prospects at the annual Young Stars Classic. After that, it was slim pickens.
Not this year.
Elias Pettersson headlines an impressive group of Canucks youngsters at the Penticton event which begins in under two weeks. Other names fans will recognize include Olli Juolevi, Jonathan Dahlen, and Adam Gaudette.
Any one of those four players have a realistic shot to make the Canucks’ opening night roster.
Kole Lind, Jonah Gadjovich, Lukas Jasek, Petrus Palmu, Jett Woo, and Michael DiPietro might have been enough to get top billing in years’ past, but not in 2018.
A pair of Vancouver Giants have also been invited by the Canucks this year, in forward Owen Hardy and defenceman Kaleb Bulych.
- Canucks release 2018-19 television broadcast schedule
- Canucks are undecided about naming a captain for next season
- Canucks will wear 4 different jerseys during 50th anniversary season
Apart from the players already mentioned, keep an eye on Nando Eggenberger, an undrafted free agent with potential. Ranked 50th by TSN’s Bob McKenzie heading into last June’s draft, all 31 teams took a pass on the 6-foot-2 Swiss winger despite having already played games in the top Swiss pro league.
A strong prospects camp could turn into a main camp invite, and potentially a contract.
|Jonathan Dahlen||20||Timra IK (Swe-1)||23-21-44|
|Nando Eggenberger||18||Davos HC (Swiss-A)||3-2-5|
|Jonah Gadjovich||19||Owen Sound (OHL)||25-23-48|
|Reid Gardiner||22||Wheeling (ECHL)||30-27-57|
|Adam Gaudette||21||Northeastern U. (NCAA)||30-30-60|
|Owen Hardy||19||Vancouver (WHL)||11-12-23|
|Lukas Jasek||21||Liberec Bili Tygri HC (Czech)||8-10-18|
|Kole Lind||19||Kelowna (WHL)||39-56-95|
|Zack MacEwen||22||Utica (AHL)||10-23-33|
|Tanner MacMaster||22||Quinnipiac U. (NCAA)||13-20-33|
|Isaac Nurse||19||Hamilton (OHL)||17-13-30|
|Petrus Palmu||21||TPS Turku (SM-liiga)||17-19-36|
|Elias Pettersson||19||Vaxjo HC (SweHL)||24-32-56|
|Anthony Salinitri||20||Sarnia (OHL)||27-31-58|
Juolevi will be expected to dominate against his peers this year, as he prepares for main camp. The fifth overall pick from the 2016 draft is recovering from off-season back surgery though, so that’s no sure thing.
|Jakob Brahaney||19||Kingston (OHL)||5-25-30|
|Guillaume Brisebois||21||Utica (AHL)||3-15-18|
|Kaleb Bulych||18||Vancouver (WHL)||1-8-2009|
|Jalen Chatfield||22||Utica (AHL)||2-5-7|
|Jagger Dirk||25||St. Francis Xavier U. (AUS)||6-22-28|
|Olli Juolevi||20||TPS Turku (SM-liiga)||7-12-19|
|Garrett McFadden||21||Guelph (OHL)||6-38-44|
|Jett Woo||18||Moose Jaw (WHL)||9-16-25|
Expected to be Canada’s starting goaltender at the World Juniors in Vancouver this December, all eyes will be on DiPietro as he makes his second Young Stars appearance.
|Michael DiPietro||19||Windsor (OHL)||29-21-1|
|Ivan Kulbakov||22||Quad City (ECHL)||11-11-0|
Not every top prospect is available for selection, which helps explain a few notable absents.
Due to NCAA rules, 2018 first-rounder Quinn Hughes isn’t allowed to play at Young Stars. Same goes for other college players like Tyler Madden (2018 third-round pick) and Jack Rathbone (2017 fourth-round pick), and Will Lockwood (2016 third-round pick).
Unfortunately for fans in the Okanagan, they’ll only get to see the Canucks prospects play twice, as Young Stars includes just two NHL teams this year. After the Flames and Oilers declined their invitations, the UBC Thunderbirds and Alberta Golden Bears will fill in the rest of the ice time.
|UBC vs University of Alberta||Sep 7||4:00 PM|
|Vancouver vs. Winnipeg||Sep 7||7:30 PM|
|UBC vs University of Alberta||Sep 8||6:00 PM|
|Vancouver vs. Winnipeg||Sep 8||2:00 PM|