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Some Encouraging Notes On The Wolves Play

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Yeah, yeah, another Ian Esplen article, but I haven't seen many on the Wolves individually, so here goes:


Thoughts on the Wolves Game

Last night, Vancouver's AHL team dropped game one of their playoffs series with the San Antonio Rampage. The Wolves played hard, but in the end, lost out 5-4 in overtime to a Gritty, hard working Rampage team. Here are my thoughts on how some of the Canucks prospects looked.

Nicklas Jensen- After starting out a bit slow in his AHL career, Jensen is finally beginning to find the net. The big Dane has five goals in his last two games (2 last night) and is becoming a big part of the Wolves power-play. Jensen reminds me a little of Luc Robitaille (settle down Kings fans, I'm not saying he going to score 600+ goals), in that he seems to always find the open spots on the ice in the attacking zone and his shot seems to find the back of the net. Jensen uses his size well, but I don't see him ever becoming the type of player that is going to crush guys. While Jensen is decent in his own end, he still has a lot of work to do in that area before he is NHL ready.

Jordan Schroeder – In my opinion, Schroeder was the best player on the ice for either team. His skating ability is at a level that I would say not many NHL players have. The guy can flat out fly with or without the puck. When Schroeder was on the ice things just seemed to happen for the Wolves. Because of his size, Schroeder isn't going to out muscle or intimidate anyone, but the smarts he showed in his own end and his willingness to get dirty make him a very good two-way player. If Schroeder is given the chance to play 15 minutes a game night next season, he would be my dark horse in the Calder race. With his speed and vision all he will need is a finisher. Canucks fans get ready for one exciting player.

Kevin Connauton- Kevin played with a lot of heart but there is still a lot of work for him to be done in his own end but the fact he is trusted with big minutes tells me that he will come around. I loved the heart he played with and you can tell by watching him he wants to be a great player really bad. Right now, the biggest problem I see in his game is that he runs around a bit and that takes him out of position. You can tell by watching Kevin that he is most comfortable when the puck is on his stick. When it's not, it can be an adventure. When running the PP, he does a great job of getting his shot through and when he gets a chance to load up he has a bomb. All in all, I loved the heart and grit he played with, he just needs to settle it down a little and stop chasing the play so much.

Bill Sweatt- Sweatt played a solid game and was good in his own end. Nothing really stood out to me about him, but he was good in all three zones, he competed hard, and used speed well on the fore check. Sweatt's one goal was scored by him driving the net hard and having the puck bounce off him and in. I like the way he plays, but there isn't much that wows me about his game. All in all, since not much stands out to me I'm not sure he'll be much more than a fringe NHLer.

Mike Duco- He wasn't as noticeable as he has been in his few NHL games, but he did get a couple of good scoring chances, had a few hits, and played solid. I see Duco as having the potential to be a very good role player in the NHL. He seems to have a very good understanding of what is expected of him and he goes out and does it. I think his high end will somewhere around and Max Lapierre with a little less chatter. I hope he gets every opportunity to make the team next season because I love watching him play.

Eddie Lack- He had a bit of a Luongo type game. He gave up a softy, but also didn't get a whole lot of help from the players in front of him on most of the goals. He looked big in his net and moved well. He stopped 32 of 37 shots and looked fairly calm for most of the game. On one of the goals he was interfered with slightly, but it didn't seem to rattle him. Overall hi was ok, but his performance was pretty average good compared to the standard he has set.

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You could have put this in the Wolves thread in the Prospects forum, that's where it's most likely to be ready by people wanting to find out how our AHL team is doing.

Having said that, it sounds like an bit of a let down loss last night. Some good individual efforts, but more is needed from everyone to work as a team and pull out some wins.

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Definitely excited to hear that Schroeder's play would be complemented by a finisher! Him with Kes and Burrows next season?

Twins - Booth

Burr - Kes - Schroeder (Jordan started off on the wing didn't he?)

Higgins - Pahlsson - Hansen

not bad for a Top 9!

also good to hear about Jensen's continued smart play (reminiscent of Lucky Luc is a good sign too) and K-Con developing as a more well-rounded guy; sure hope he and his big shot can join the Canucks' ranks soon!

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Not getting my hopes up for a next season regular spot for the Canucks, but at least Schroeder has been put on the Wolves' PK. Hodgson's apparent lack of defense has been knocked since his days in Manitoba. Let's hope Schroeds turns out to be the next Marty St.Louis (as usual)

Jensen will be the real deal eventually, but we're not sure if he can handle himself vs. top-4 NHL defensemen at this point. Maybe after a nice summer of working out and conditioning, he'll be able to make the jump. That's high hopes.

K-Con is still a bit raw. He has a much better upside than Tanev, but Tanev is relatively mistake-proof. Eventually they'll pair together for the Canucks. Next season K-Con should get a few games.

Sweatt isn't really good in any aspect, so yup, he'll be a utility player. Will likely get a better shot on a different team.

Duco isn't anything to get excited about. Depth agitator.

Lack will be thrust into a NHL backup role fairly soon. If the Canucks keep Schneider and not Luongo, the 'lack' of a veteran will drastically affect the dynamic of what was Vancouver's biggest advantage. Schneider isn't a proven big-game NHL starter. And Lack isn't a proven NHL anything. Things to take into consideration before making a call. Cheers.


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