Giants eager to get ‘first-round talent’ Justin Sourdif back in their lineup

The Surrey native, who just signed his entry-level contract with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, looks forward to meeting with the Giants and passing what he has learned to younger players.

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Vancouver Giants center Justin Sourdif is making his way to become one of the steals in the 2020 National Hockey League Draft.

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The Florida Panthers took him in the third round that year, No. 87 overall. Since then, he was voted the BC Division center player of the year last spring after leading it in scoring with 34 points, including 11 goals, in 22 games.

He then received rave reviews for his efforts at Team Canada’s world junior team summer camp, finishing in a line with NHL first-round picks Cole Perfetti and Kent Johnson. And he just signed his initial three-year contract with the Panthers last week while in training camp in Florida.

The 19-year-old center from Surrey is expected to be reassigned to the Giants sometime this week and be in the lineup on Saturday when they open their Western Hockey League regular season with a visit to the Victoria Royals.

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“I think Florida is probably ecstatic. They got a first-round talent in the third round, ”Giants coach Michael Dyck said.

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Contacted in Florida over the weekend, Sourdif spoke about how much he had learned in camp with the Panthers and how excited he was to bring that knowledge to his Giants teammates.

When asked about joining the world youth team in December, he mentioned that Vancouver needed to have a good start to the season, as “team success brings individual success.”

It coincides with Dyck and CEO Barclay Parneta’s conversations last spring about how Sourdif was taking a leadership role.

It makes Sourdif a good bet to be named captain of the Giants upon his return. Defender Alex Kannok Leipert used the ‘C’ last year for Vancouver, graduating from the league at the end of the season. He signed with the Abbotsford Canucks, the NHL’s new Canucks American Hockey League farm team.

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“The older guys were always very good to me,” Sourdif said. “I want to do the same. I want to show the younger ones what I have learned.”

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Sourdif is gearing up for his fourth full season with the Giants. He was a member of that Giants team that went to the WHL championship series in 2019, one that was loaded with leadership with guys like Kannok Leipert, Jared Dmytriw, Davis Koch, Owen Hardy, Bowen Byram and others.

“Since Day 1 here, we’ve talked about how he wants to leave his legacy. You want to leave this place better than you found it, ”Dyck said. “Give Justin credit for believing that. You will also have the opportunity to learn from very good guys over the years. “

Parneta added: “It all speaks to his level of maturity and how far he’s come since joining the Giants.”

Sourdif feels he is an “even better player” from his time with the Panthers. He feels that signing that contract has also given him a boost.

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“I have gained a lot of confidence,” he said. “I feel like I have a lot to look forward to.”

Sourdif was getting some first-round rumors heading into the 2019-20 season. TSN’s Bob McKenzie had him 17th overall in his preseason draft rankings. Sourdif had an uneven season, fading into the background during stretches, and that’s part of the reason he crashed.

A late flurry that season had him on 26 goals and 54 points in 57 games. He scored 23 goals and 46 points in 64 regular season games as a rookie in 2018-19.


NEXT GAME

Saturday

Vancouver Giants vs. Victoria Royals

7:05 pm, Save-On-Foods Memorial Stadium. TV: watch.chl.ca. Radio: TBD.


Sourdif played well enough in Team Canada’s camp this summer that he was put in a line there with Saginaw forward Spirit Perfetti, a returnee from last year’s world youth team and the No. 10 overall pick in the 2020 draft. by the Winnipeg Jets, and Johnson, the University of Michigan forward who was the No. 5 pick in this summer’s draft for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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“How well he did did not surprise me because I had just seen him 62 days in a row in the bubble,” said Dyck, who is an assistant coach for Team Canada. “I think it may have been a surprise to some people who didn’t know him that well.”

Sourdif added: “I wanted to go to the camp and try to impress as many people as possible.”

The Giants assigned another player to their team Monday when the Vegas Golden Knights sent goalkeeper Jesper Vikman back to their youth club. It was scheduled to arrive in Vancouver on Monday night. The team is still waiting for center Zack Ostapchuk (Ottawa Senators), winger Fabian Lysell (Boston Bruins) and defender Cade McNelly (Los Angeles Kings) as well.

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Reference-theprovince.com

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