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Gudd To Go

Gudbranson, Stecher, Juolevi set for pre-season debut

by Derek Jory @NoJoryous / Canucks Writer

New night, new line-up.

The Canucks, who lost 3-2 in overtime to the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night in their pre-season opener, play their second exhibition game Wednesday hosting the Edmonton Oilers.

Of the players who dressed last night only Jayson Megna and James Sheppard are in the line-up again and although the forward lines remain uncertain, coach Willie Desjardins has locked in his defence.

Ben Hutton with Erik Gudbranson, Alex Edler alongside Troy Stecher, and Alex Biega will be paired with Olli Juolevi. Three of those players are especially excited for puck drop tonight, namely Gudbranson, Stecher and Juolevi, all set to make their Canucks debut.

"It's been a long time since I got traded and since then I've been very excited for this day to finally get out there," said Gudbranson. "There's a whole different system here, all new guys, new vocabulary on the ice and a new building; new west coast, it's all new, but it's hockey, so I'm going to go out there and play my game."

Gudbranson said he's ready to battle anyone who comes in front of Vancouver's goal, which could include Milan Lucic. Connor McDavid is also expected to play tonight and Guddy has never lined-up against the highly touted forward.

"[McDavid] is an amazing hockey player from what I've seen and it's going to be a fun night."

For hometown boy Troy Stecher, putting on a Canucks jersey for the first time at this year's Young Stars tournament in Penticton, B.C., was a thrill. Putting it on again tonight, in Rogers Arena, with upwards of 30 family and friends in attendance, is next level.

The cool customer isn't sweating it at all.

"I need to play a good game, I'm not putting any expectations on plus/minus or stats or minutes, I just want to go out there and earn the respect of my teammates and the coaching staff," said Stecher. "With that hopefully I can get into some more exhibition games and build some more confidence."

Juolevi smiled when asked how excited his family is for his debut. "I haven't told them yet, I didn't really believe it myself and wanted to make sure it was true before I did."

Make the call Olli!


On Virtanen…

Coach Desjardins was vague with his update on Jake Virtanen, who injured his shoulder Tuesday night in San Jose. He initially said he didn't expect the injury to be long-term and he reiterated that Wednesday, although he said they'd be having a second doctor take a look at it.

On Jordan Subban…

The Canucks reduced their pre-season roster by 16 players Wednesday, reassigning 15 to the Utica Comets. That included Jordan Subban, Cole Cassels, Ashton Sautner, Mackenze Stewart and Curtis Valk.

Desjardins as asked specifically about Subban and his development.

"Subban has taken some big steps. It's hard for a guy his size to play in the league, you look at a guy like Lucic coming in, so I think he just has to keep working on his game and getting better.

"Offensively he's sound, defensively he has to make some reads and improve a little bit of his habits in practice. He loves the game and he plays well, but I think sometimes he has to get a bit more structured defensively."

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