“In making the decision to sign here and come here, I saw an opportunity. I think it’s good too. My way of thinking is just coming here, hanging my head, working hard, and yeah, it’s been nice playing with those guys on them. last days and help with many things. ” – Nic Petan

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At the moment, Nic Petan replaces Elias Pettersson.

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With the Vancouver Canucks’ number one center in Michigan out of a contract, someone has to skate with Nils Höglander and Brock Boeser.

And so far that’s been Petan, the skilled BC-raised center who signed a one-year deal with his hometown team this summer.

It’s still hard to imagine a lineup that doesn’t include Pettersson when the season begins. Negotiations between the Canucks and Pettersson’s agent are ongoing, Pat Brisson told Postmedia on Saturday.


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But even if Pettersson’s situation is resolved, there are questions about the status of fourth-line center Brandon Sutter.

The lanky veteran has not appeared on training camp and aside from general manager Jim Benning, who said Wednesday that Sutter is dealing with fatigue from an undetermined cause, his status remains unknown.

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It is quite likely that he will slide other players to replace Sutter, but Petan could easily replace him as well.

Even before the differences between Pettersson and Sutter surfaced, Petan said he signed in Vancouver because he saw the opportunity.

That he gets a chance to skate with two of the Canucks’ best offensive players is an affirmation of what he saw.

“In making the decision to sign here and come here, I saw an opportunity,” Petan said on Saturday, the third day of Canucks’ training camp at his AHL base, the Abbotsford Center. “I think it’s good too. My mindset just came here, hang my head, work hard and yeah it’s been nice playing with those guys the last few days and they help me with a lot of things.

“Obviously both super skilled guys have proven their worth now and it’s nice to have two great options to go through on the wings,” he said of Boeser and Höglander.

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“It gives you a bit of confidence to go in and know how they play, know how I play, it just makes things a little easier where I know they are going to be or things like that. I think it is my first camp where I have had highly trained guys to start, ”he added.

“I would have been happy with any line mate. Everyone is super skilled and everyone works hard here, so obviously it’s good, for sure. “

Former Toronto Maple Leaf center Nic Petan was a free agent signed by the Vancouver Canucks this summer.
Former Toronto Maple Leaf center Nic Petan was a free agent signed by the Vancouver Canucks this summer. Photo by Claus Andersen. /PNG

This is Petan’s seventh season as a professional and he hopes this is finally his time to clinch a regular spot, after being on the AHL / NHL shuttle with the Winnipeg and Toronto organizations.

“I’ve been kind of an up and down guy for my first six years so my goal is to be a guy who’s going to play regularly and that’s what I’m pushing,” he said.

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Boeser said the veterans center has arrived as advertised.

“I think we all knew it’s a skilled, fast forward on the ice and I think you can see it in those early skirmishes,” Boeser said. The trio created plenty of opportunities in practice games on Friday and Saturday and Boeser is so comfortable with him that he was even heard calling Petan “Petey” – usually Pettersson’s nickname – on the ice.

“He’s a pretty smart guy. We’ve had a lot of videos that give the new guys an idea of ​​how we play, ”Boeser said. “And he’s asked some questions if he’s confused, but for me, Petan and Hogs, I was making sure we all knew what we were doing. Just communicating, you know, if we messed something up, we just talked about it and made sure we didn’t make the same mistake. “

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Petan played junior for Travis Green when the Canucks bench chief coached the WHL Portland Winterhawks, so he had an idea of ​​what training camp would be like.

“I walked in expecting the worst,” Petan joked about what he said were a tough three days.

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Jaroslav Halak at the Canucks training ground at the Abbotsford Center.
Jaroslav Halak at the Canucks training ground at the Abbotsford Center. Photo by Jason Payne. /PNG

Halak’s dream

Jaroslav Halak, the Canucks’ new substitute goalkeeper, has one more goal in his NHL career: to reach 300 wins.

“I am 19 years old,” he said. “I just want to help the guys win games.”

“It’s the ultimate goal for me, it’s not that you get awards for it, it’s just something personal that I want to achieve in my career,” he said. “Hopefully I can get there this year, or as close as possible. But it would be ideal if I arrive this year.

“As a goalkeeper, as a player, as an athlete, you want to set some goals and go after them, do almost everything you can to achieve them because when you look back, when you are older and you don’t, ‘If you reach the goals, you will regret it. I just don’t want to regret it, ”he added.

He also painted a tribute on his mask to the former Canuck Pavol Demitra, his Slovakian compatriot who died in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash a decade ago.

“I just wanted to pay tribute to him and his family. People know him here and how cool he was, ”he explained. “He was amazing at the Olympics (in 2010). He played great. He was hurt before, so he didn’t even know if he was going to play or not and then he came in, he was our best player ”.

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