Canucks: It's time for Nils Höglander and Vasily Podkolzin to step as much as the plate

Swede Nils Hoglander has been skating with Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko.

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VICTORIA — To stay as a winger on a prime line with J.T. Miller or Elias Pettersson as your centre, Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet has made it very clear: he needs to see vitality, recklessness and smarts.

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Step as much as the plate, Nils Höglander and Vasily Podkolzin.

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The 2 younger wingers have been skating alongside Pettersson and Miller, respectively, within the first two days of camp and each have been displaying nicely.

To Höglander, the equation for him is straightforward: forecheck arduous, play arduous and win plenty of puck battles.

“Simply play my fashion,” he mentioned.

It’s a mode that bought Höglander drafted in 2019 within the first place. Judd Brackett, the Canucks’ director of beginner scouting on the time, mentioned two issues excited him about Höglander: his scoring fingers and his “motor,” as he referred to as it.

Höglander the prospect by no means stopped shifting, by no means stopped getting himself proper into the motion.

In his rookie season, that vitality gained him an NHL job. However the two seasons since have seen loads of dips; final season all the way in which again to the minors.

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To get again from the AHL, his coach has made it clear. Whenever you’re on the puck, be reckless, he mentioned. Whenever you don’t have the puck, know what to do and do it.

Each time.

“Now he’s go to know the place to go in sure conditions. Who’s his man. Within the slot, is that my man or not? That’s the stuff he’s actually bought to dial up,” Tocchet mentioned. “I believe that’s the toughest factor, to play with out the puck.”

For Podkolzin, as a lot as something, it’s about confidence as a lot as something.

“Be extra assured with myself and be slightly simpler on myself,” the 22-year-old Russian mentioned. “Like Hughesy (Quinn Hughes) says, simply come to the rink on a regular basis with a smile on my face.”

Podkolzin must be taught to let go, Tocchet mentioned.

“He’s an incredible child, however he takes all the pieces actually although. You inform him one thing and that’s all he thinks about,” the pinnacle coach mentioned.

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Like Höglander, Tocchet needs Podkolzin taking part in slightly reckless, when the time is true.

“When he thinks an excessive amount of, that’s when he will get into hassle. In order that’s on me, to get him to calm down. However I’ve preferred him up to now.”

Miller mentioned he’s at all times preferred the match of getting Podkolzin on his wing — an up-and-down-the-rink winger he referred to as Podkolzin.

“He’s so younger however he’s nonetheless getting higher and higher. I believe he’s realized lots the final 12 months,” Miller mentioned.

“We’ve bought an incredible relationship. If I’ve some issues, I can simply name him and … ask about recommendation or one thing like that. And yeah, he mentioned to me his historical past and that’s what I wish to be taught, like for him it was like a tough and a good distance,” Podkolzin mentioned.

Miller may dole out recommendation about learn how to be a great father — Podkolzin and his spouse Sasha welcomed their first youngster in July.

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“Most likely one of the best a part of his life,” new dad Podkolzin mentioned, with a smile. “I’m blissful.”

Defensive committee

On Friday, Hughes had his second defence accomplice in two days. On Thursday he was paired with the right-shot Noah Juulsen, who he skated with for a stretch final season.

On Friday he was with left-shot Carson Soucy, who has loads of expertise taking part in on the proper regardless of his left-handedness.

Tocchet isn’t an enormous fan of taking part in a defenceman on his off-side, particularly with Hughes, however mentioned he wanted to take just a few appears to be like on the choices in entrance of him.

“It’s a scenario the place … particularly early, if you wish to attempt issues do it now,” he mentioned. “I’m not going to experiment for 3 weeks.”

Hughes will probably be taking part in 23 or 24 minutes per recreation, so his accomplice — or possibly it will likely be a few completely different choices within the recreation — must be as much as the calls for of such a task, in addition to having the ability set, Tocchet mentioned.

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“It’s arduous to only go right here to a different … proper hand shot that may play 26, 28 minutes. Prefer it’s arduous to seek out these however we’ve got succesful defencemen that may try this by committee,” he mentioned.

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