Well, it looks like a Vancouver Canucks news day on NHLTradeTalk.com today. Jim Jr. posted on Jacob Markstrom earlier, and I wanted to add to that post and add some other team news.
Although the NHL’s regular-season play is suspended, hockey news still regularly emerges from the Vancouver Canucks organization. Little of that news involves players on the ice – except for Elias Pettersson who’s finding time and ice for skating; however, it does involve players within the organization and those who are at home during the COVID-19 disruption.
In this post, I’ll try to keep Canucks fans more up-to-date on news emerging from the team.
Item One: Elias Pettersson’s Is in Sweden, and That’s Different than Canada
Elias Pettersson has returned to his home in Sweden to spend his time self-quarantining (which is a new verb we added to our lexicon over the past month). Sweden differs from Canada in terms of the kinds of restrictions placed on the population, so Pettersson has been able to find the time and an area in which to skate.
TSN’s Darren Dreger weighed in on that allowance on Tuesday. He noted, “The local authorities, in this case in Sweden, allow for this type of activity, players are allowed to skate. I can tell you that there are some NHL players in North America who do not like the idea, given the competitive edge that you might see.”
Dreger then added, “What happens when these players are welcomed back to North America? No doubt about it, these players will be quarantined and there are some guys who believe that the players will also face mandatory NHL testing.”
For the record, Pettersson had a really strong second season in the NHH, scoring 27 goals, 39 assists (for 66 points in 68 games) before the 2019-20 season was paused.
Item Two: Speaking from Sweden, Jacob Markstrom Wants to Stay in Vancouver
Perhaps that title was confusing, but Canucks’ goalie Jacob Markstrom – after his injury – fully rehabbed in Vancouver but returned to Sweden about three weeks ago to complete his self-quarantine. He reports that his knee feels fine. However, unlike his young Swedish teammate Pettersson, although he could skate he reported that he hasn’t.
Brendan Batchelor, the play-by-play voice of the Canucks on Sportsnet650 Radio, noted that although Markstrom could become a UFA (an unrestricted free agent) at the end of the 2019-20 season, he doesn’t want to go anywhere. His goal is to be back with the Canucks next season.
Markstrom admitted, “I want to stay in Vancouver. In my mind, that’s my goal.”
He also reported that he’s optimistic he can return this season: “The season isn’t over this year either. I’m still hoping we can come back and play.”
Item Three: Tyler Myers Thinks the Canucks are Making Great Progress
As Sportsnet reported earlier this week, Tyler Myers believes the Canucks have made great progress this season. In a video conference from his offseason home in Kelowna, BC, earlier this week he said the team reminded him of the Winnipeg Jets, where he played for several seasons.
Myers noted that, when he looks at the season in Winnipeg where the team almost made the Finals “there’s a lot of similarities I can take from my experience with my first year here in Vancouver to that team.”
Myers believes the Canucks have a good, solid core group who simply needs to gain the experience of winning. Furthermore, he thinks the group is close to winning lots. Specifically, he praised the Canucks’ young skaters for becoming on-ice leaders.
Item Four: Tyler Toffoli Likes Playing in Vancouver, But He’s Not Likely to Stay
Last week, Tyler Toffoli reported that, although the Canucks impressed him as a team, he’s unsure he’ll be back next season. In fact, it was clear – by the number of times he used the term awesome – that he liked his experience in Vancouver. He’s now “holed up” near the Pacific Ocean at the beach home near Los Angeles.
Toffoli hasn’t really thought about where he’ll go after this season, only that he’s still waiting to see where this season ends. But, he admitted that where he will move is “not my decision, where the cap’s going to go … nobody could have ever imagined this happening and this scenario.”
What’s Next with the Canucks?
The Canucks are similar to all other NHL teams. They’re waiting to see – as Toffoli noted – what happens this season before they move psychologically to the future. In the meantime, they stay ready to engage the season – should it begin.
And that’s true for all NHL fans. There’s still lots up in the air for 2019-20.
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