Jordan James says The biggest surprise to come out of the preseason will be which of our boys actually survives and makes it to the regular season. It should be no surprise that we are currently overstocked in both forwards and in defense, and while you hate to see anyone go cuts need to (and will be) made. It should be fairly safe to assume that the Sedin's will be out there leading our team's numbers, Kesler has proved a reliable offensive/defensive staple (as, one would assume, has Alex Burrows), Ryan Johnson should be a staple on defensive play/shot blocking alone, and lastly Samuelsson's addition to the mix should be relatively certain as well. Throw in Mitchell, Edler, and Bieksa and you've got just about everyone that you know you're going to see... Enter the wild-cards. For numbers sake, that leaves us with six definitive forwards and three d-men.
The list of potential's is quite a bit more staggering. Pavol Demitra should be in the former section, however injury will keep him out of regulation line-ups for approximately a month, so there will have to be some juggling to slot his position alone. Cody Hodgson would make a fine addition to the team, but at the expense of? Kyle Wellwood, Ryan Johnson, or Rick Rypien? Sergei Shirokov can be similarly quoted only to take the spot of Alex Burrows, Demitra, or possibly Steve Bernier? Grabner has been struggling so far and, in my opinion, not looking good, but time will tell if he'll solidify a slot on the team. Not to mention the unproved talents such as Matt Pope, Bolduc, and Oberg who are (possibly) capable of more than just Manitoba. Then you have the guys who have been tested in the NHL already; Mason Raymond, Jannik Hansen, Rypien, Bernier, Hordichuck, and of course, Dave Skatchard to fill out the rest of the lines.
This doesn't even cover our blue line yet, with the staples of Bieksa, Edler, and Mitchell. Sami Salo has proved a defensive staple for quite a while and brings veteran leadership, but is not guaranteed a slot in my eyes. The additions of Ehrhoff, Lukowich, and Schneider provide the opportunity for offense and poise in our line-ups. This doesn't even include penalty box darling Shane O'Brien.
With everything up in the air, and the performance(s) of the players themselves determining (and still to be determined) who will make the cut, I still maintain the biggest surprise coming out of the preseason, is who makes it out!
Mackenzie Oram says I think the biggest surprise of the preseason will be Theo Fleury not making the Flames. Although he's had an amazing preseason, he just isn't going to keep it up all year or even get 20-30 points. Theo's fairly rusty from not playing for I think 5 years, which is a long wait, take Claude Lemieux, for example, tried with San Jose fir 15-20 games at the end of the season but couldn't continue. That's what I think Theo Fleury will do.
Paul Sharpe says Jannik Hansen. There's been tons of talk about Cody Hodgson and his destiny, Sergei Shirokov and the next coming of Pavel Bure, Kyle Wellwood and his trimmed physique, Steve Bernier and his new found speed, Mason Raymond's extra year of experience and so on, but somehow the Great Dane has become a forgotten man when this time last year he outright made the team playing shot gun with Kesler and Burrows (and doing quite well at it.)
He is a year older, a year wiser, and can be used in more roles (arguably) than any of the others on the list. Can Shirokov play comfortably without top 6 minutes like Shirokov? Is Hodgson or Wellwood ready to kill penalties as capably? No. Hansen impresses again, and fits in well without the need to be stereotyped into any one role because he can play bottom 6 minutes without a problem and probably has top 6 potential still yet.
Not bad for a 9th round pick.
Peter Masterton says Firstly, I have to state I've never twisted an ankle hopping off the Canucks bandwagon. I was born bleeding Canucks and that's the way it goes for me in this lifetime, i wouldn't want it any other way.
With that said, I feel like we have one of the deepest defense crews in the league, not only guys that can shut people down and rack up the hospital bill, but we have offensive D-men that can make opposing forwards wish they played another sport.
I believe the biggest surprise though, will be the impact new comer Matt Pope will bring to the team if the organization gives him a shot. He has the speed and skill that can survive at this level. More importantly, he has only played one year of pro and already climbed the mountain to the show - this is something some guys spend ten years trying to do. He proved himself in the ECHL, AHL, and given the chance, I think he could be quite the surprise in the NHL.
I may be crazy, but Hockey's a healthy mix of systems and gut instinct, split second decisions. I think Pope has both.
Max Cekota says The biggest surprise of the preseason will be - well, nothing.
The exhibition games in the NHL simply serve as an extended training camp for the players, but as onlookers, we wouldn't mind it being shortened - or with a little optimism, cancelled altogether.
The collective hockey fan's mindset towards the preseason is "let's get through it." The level of hockey isn't very high, and only the players fighting for roster spots are really "into" the games at all.
The NHL might pretend to care about the preseason, but really, come October 1, what little memories we have of it are wiped instantly from our minds. Sure, we're 6-0, but let's see if it carries over into game 1 - because that's what matters.
For now, though, let's just wait it out.