Five guys who must make big strides with Canucks in 2012/13

Back To The Future

Good Afternoon, I hope you all had a great weekend, and depending on where you are, you got out and enjoyed some sun and didn’t spend your Saturday in a strip club that was show casing it’s Single A ball club equivalent of “dancers”.

All right, let’s move on.

Today I’m going to showcase five Canucks that I would like to see make some big strides in 2012/13.

Zack Kassian

Out of all five players I’m going to profile, I think Kassian will have the spotlight on him more than anyone. Acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline for Cody “Why did you trade him? He’s the next Trevor Linden” Hodgson.

Some had shunned Zack Kassian before he’d even take a shift as a Canuck.

Kassian fits the mold for the future of hockey in Vancouver, at least under Mike Gillis. He’s big, young and strong and with any luck he’ll score some goals somewhere along the line, too.

After all, Gillis did say this league and team is geared for offense and that’s the direction he aims to take the team in.

Chris Tanev

The man who is so cool he could smoke a cigarette as he plays…or something to that effect. The Canucks haven’t had a defensive prospect as good as Chris Tanev in quite some time.

His hockey smarts are incredible. He’s calm, cool and collected, fantastic at avoiding big hits from the opposition and makes great first passes out of the zone.

Jordan Schroeder

Can Schroeder adapt his game and be more versatile in 2012?

Sure he’s played 54 games and not scored a goal, but that’s bound to change. He has some offensive upside that hasn’t really been tapped into yet at the NHL level.

Once that happens he’ll become a more complete two-way defenseman.

Jordan Schroeder

While Ryan Kesler recovers from off-season shoulder surgery, Jordan Schroeder is likely to be given a chance to fill the temporary void at the second line centre position.

Schroeder is looking to prove that after three seasons in the AHL, he’s ready for the big league. What he lacks in size he more than makes up for in speed and in game smarts.

He’s currently coming off a successful season in which he recorded 21 goals, 23 assists for 44 points in 76 games played.

If Schroeder is able to adapt his game and be a versatile player who can play a different role other than second line centre, then there is no reason why he couldn’t battle someone for a job.

Internal competition brings out the best in everyone.

Well, most of the time.

Kevin Connauton

It’s nice that there’s two defensemen in this piece. The Canucks depth at defense is tested every year, whether it’s Keith Ballard screwing up AV’s morning coffee and sitting in the press box for 10 games or Kevin Bieksaneeding maintenance days, it’s a position where it never hurts to have a few extra players.

This year the Canucks can look forward to the arrival of Kevin Connauton. An offensive defenseman who has reached double digits in goals the past two seasons in the AHL with 11 and 13, respectively.

Kevin Connauton

Connauton should push for a full time NHL spot within the next two seasons.

He excels on the power play, has a hard shot – actually the hardest in the 2011/12 skills competition. While he might not see full time duty right away, he’s a player I would at least expect to make strides and push for a full time NHL spot within the next two seasons.

Eddie Lack

A redhead goalie comes in and out plays the no. 1 goalie for the starting job. The no. 1 is traded and the team moves on. Why does that sound familiar?

Well, obviously that’s what’s playing out right now, but also it’s what happened when Corey Hirsch out played MacLean for the starting job many years ago.

Now that Cory Schneider, another read-head goalie has taken over for the no. 1 and is primed to be the starting goalie once Roberto Luongo is traded, it seems realistic to think that Eddie Lack could get a long look as Schneider’s back up.

Coming off of his second season in the minors, Lack’s total wins dipped, but it doesn’t take away from the promising career he is sure to have.

I would expect him to join the Canucks at some point, not sure if it will be in a full time back up role, but I’m sure he’ll see games this season in the NHL.

Who are you looking forward to seeing take big strides from the AHL to the NHL?

Or which current Canucks roster players are you looking forward to seeing step their game up? Hit me back below!


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About Mitch Dyck

Mitch lives in Port Coquitlam and though it sounds pretty awful, it's not nearly as bad as you think. He's been a Canucks fan since he can remember. Likes hockey, beer, swearing and aspires to teach children the violin once he's able to play one himself. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Mitch today!
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