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2017 Canucks Young Stars preview: Opposition

by Tyson Giuriato @TysonGiuriato / Canucks freelance writer

The 2017 Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Classic gets underway on Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.

While Canucks fans will be watching the likes of Brock Boeser, Thatcher Demko and Olli Juolevi, they will also get the opportunity to see young talent in the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets organizations.

Over the years, Young Stars Classic attendees have gotten the chance to watch the likes of Leon Draisaitl, Nikolaj Ehlers, Johnny Gaudreau, Connor McDavid, Sean Monahan, Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba take on the Canucks prospects.

This year will be no different, so to prepare you, here are three players to watch on opposition teams.

Calgary Flames

Spencer Foo: A highly coveted NCAA free agent signing this past summer, Foo is coming off a Hobey Baker Award finalist season with Union College after he netted 62 points (26-36-62) in 38 games. The Flames expect Foo to challenge for a roster spot this season.

Mark Jankowski: One of the older guys participating at Young Stars is Jankowski, the Flames' first round pick, 21st overall, at the 2012 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-4 forward posted 56 points (27-29-56) in 64 games with the AHL's Stockton Heat last season, while also making his NHL debut on November 28 against the Islanders.

Juuso Valimaki: The Flames took Valimaki with the 16th overall pick this past June. A teammate of Olli Juolevi with Finland at the World Juniors, the 6-foot-2 defenceman has spent the past two seasons with the WHL's Tri-City Americans. During the 2016-17 season, he registered 61 points (19-42-61) in 60 games and was named to the WHL West Second All-Star Team.

Edmonton Oilers

Kailer Yamamoto: The Oilers selected the speedy Yamamoto with the 22nd overall pick at the 2017 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-8 forward is coming off a dynamic season with the WHL's Spokane Chiefs which saw him net 99 points (42-57-99) in 65 games.

Joseph Gambardella: After posting 52 points (18-34-52) in 41 games at UMass-Lowell last season, the Oilers quickly signed Gambardella to an entry-level deal. The 5-foot-10 forward would appear in six games with the AHL's Bakersfield Condors at the end of the season, notching three points (1-2-3).

Caleb Jones: The Oilers took Jones in the fourth round during the 2015 NHL Draft, and since then they have sat back and watched him develop nicely in the WHL. The defenceman, and younger brother of Blue Jackets blueliner Seth, picked up 62 points (9-53-62) in 64 games with the Portland Winterhawks last season and he also won a gold medal with the United States at the 2017 World Juniors.

Winnipeg Jets

Logan Stanley: It will be hard not to notice Stanley as the defenceman stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 239 pounds. He was the Jets' first round, 18th overall, selection at the 2016 NHL Draft and was one of 13 defencemen invited to Canada's National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp in August. After three seasons with the OHL's Windsor Spitfires, Stanley was dealt to the Kitchener Rangers last month.

Jansen Harkins: Harkins is coming off an up-and-down four-year WHL career with the Prince George Cougars. He netted 72 points (21-51-72) in 64 games this past season, while also collecting four points (2-2-4) in four games with the AHL's Manitoba Moose. He has appeared in 10 games with the Moose over the past two seasons, accumulating seven points (3-4-7).

Michael Spacek: A three-time World Juniors veteran with Czech Republic, Spacek just completed his second year with the WHL's Red Deer Rebels. He found the back of the net 30 times and added 55 assists in 59 games this past season and he also appeared in four AHL games with the Manitoba Moose. A fourth-round pick in 2015, Spacek is expected to play full-time with the Moose this coming season.

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