Head coach, Travis Green, believes Vancouver is a “playoff” team
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
The Canucks are looking to improve on a very disappointing 2021 season where they failed to make the playoffs; but there is reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season.
The Vancouver Canucks will be holding their training camp in Abbotsford from September 23 to 25, as reported by The Province in July. For the past eight years, Vancouver’s American Hockey League (AHL) farm team was based in Utica, New York but is now based in Abbotsford. Moving their AHL team to the Fraser Valley—thusly closer to Vancouver—seemed to make sense both logically and logistically.
The Daily Hive reported in July that the Canucks will play seven pre-season games. The first game is September 26 in Spokane, Washington versus the newest NHL expansion team, the Seattle Kraken. A Canucks and Kraken rivalry appears imminent. The next day, Canucks will play Calgary on September 27 in Abbotsford. The Canucks will then travel to Calgary on October 1, followed by three games at Rogers Arena: October 3 against Winnipeg, October 5 against Seattle, and two games against Edmonton on October 7 and 9.
The Canucks still have not resigned their two core young players, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. During a September 7 appearance on Donnie and Dhali – The Team, Canucks head coach, Travis Green assured viewers by saying: “I’m not worried. I think it’s just part of the process when you’re dealing with young players that are making a big jump in their salary. It’s part of the business as a coach [that] you just kind of live with. I think both parties are aware of how important it is for the players to be done [and signed] before camp and I’m confident that it will [happen].”
Sportsnet reported on September 7 that former Canucks forward, Jake Virtanen, has signed a one-year contract to play in the KHL with Spartak Moscow. Virtanen is still under a police investigation for an alleged sexual misconduct incident with a woman in 2017. The Canucks placed Virtanen on leave in May 2021 and later bought out his contract in July. Travis Green wishes Virtanen all the best with the remainder of his hockey career. “I’ve worked with Jake [for] a long time,” Green quipped on Donnie and Dhali. “I want nothing but the best for him and wish nothing but the best for him [….] I hope he has a good season [in Russia].”
The Canucks are looking to improve on a very disappointing 2021 season where they failed to make the playoffs. But there is reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season. As reported by the Daily Hive, the team acquired: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tucker Poolman, Jaroslav Halak, Luke Schenn, rookie Jack Rathbone, Conor Garland, and Jason Dickinson. Russian prospect, Vasili Podkolzin, also hopes to land a spot in the lineup this season. Canucks GM, Jim Benning, in addition to the Virtanen buyout, also bought out goalie, Braden Holtby—and traded Nate Schmidt to the Winnipeg Jets.
Travis Green feels very optimistic about the upcoming 2022 season. With new players acquired in the off-season, he believes the Canucks are a playoff team. “I think that we’re a team that’s going to make a big push this year,” he said. “Our expectations will be to get back to the playoffs. Now, it’s easy to say that. There’s a lot of teams, they’re going to say the same things [as] us in our division—and our side of the conference. And a lot of things have to happen before you get there. But that’s going to be our goal and starting from day one, that’s what we’ll be aiming at. And there’s a process that goes into it as well. There’s going to be a lot of teams again that want to make and expect to make it [to the playoffs], and we’re definitely one of them.”
Lastly, the Canucks are mourning the death of one of their Swedish-based European amateur scouts. The Vancouver Sun reported on September 8 that Patrik Jonsson passed away after a battle with prostate cancer at age 51. Jonsson was instrumental in the Canucks drafting Swedish rookie, Nils Höglander—in the second round (40th overall) in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Canucks GM, Jim Benning told the Vancouver Sun the franchise is saddened by Jonsson’s passing: “He was a great person, a really good man, and a hard worker. He was loved by everybody in our group, and he took it personally [sic] to really know all the Swedish players and their characters. And that’s what he was. A high-character person and a tireless worker who just loved working for an NHL team.”