The third and final game of the Canucks Young Stars Tournament was on Monday Night and the Canucks prospects lost again. The Flames severely outplayed the Canucks, winning 6-1.
The Canucks prospects appeared overmatched throughout the first half of the first period as it took 8 minutes for them to register their first shot. They started to find their stride in the second part of the period. Jonathon Martin, a free agent invitee, sniped a goal with 4 minutes left in the first, to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission. The Flames throughly outplayed the Canucks during the second period and tied the game on a Markus Granlund goal. The Flames youngsters tallied two more goals to take a 3-1 lead over the Canucks into the third.
The Flames added a 4th goal midway through the third period. With less then 5 minutes left in the game, Frank Corrado was assessed a game misconduct for an elbow to John Gaudreau’s head. The Flames quickly scored twice on the powerplay to take a 6-1 lead and cruised to the easy victory.
- Nicklas Jensen had a rough game, taking multiple penalties, and having a goal scored on a delayed penalty that was going to be called against him. After playing 17 games in the NHL last year, I expected more from Jensen in this tournament. He never seemed to find his rhythm, as he would look great a few shifts, then deplorable for a few shifts after that. He will need to have a very strong training camp to steal a job and start the season with the Canucks, which in my opinion, is very unlikely.
- Despite the 6-1 score, once again free agent invite goaltender Austin Lotz, was the best player on the ice for the Canucks. As I said on Friday, the Canucks need a goalie that can turn pro in 1-2 years, so I will not be shocked if Lotz gets an invite to main camp, and possibly signed to an entry level deal.
- Its unfortunate that the Canucks were unable to leave the tournament with a win. But with Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann and Cole Cassels all unable to participate due to injury, the Canucks were shorthanded before the tournament even begun. If those three had played, I expect the Canucks tournament would have been a whole lot different as they would have had the depth to compete.
- One of the best parts of attending the games in Penticton this weekend was how the stands were filled with fans from every team. One game I would be surrounded by Flames fans and then the next game, I was within a pocket of Jets fans. All the varying opinions and allegiances made for interesting hockey talk throughout the arena. My favourite conversation that I overheard was some intoxicated Flames and Oilers fans arguing whether Sean Monahan (Flames 6th overall pick last year) was ‘The Man’ or not.
I consider the Young Stars tournament, now in its fourth year of existence, to be a great success. It allows the four western Canadian teams a chance to view their prospects against their peers and also gives fans a sneak peek at the upcoming stars that will ultimately shape their favourite team’s roster. If you are able to next year, I highly recommend that you give yourself a well deserved long weekend and make the trip up to beautiful Penticton.
Main training camp starts on Thursday in Whistler.
Feature Image: canucks.nhl.com