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Prospects Camp -Day Four

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Tuesday was cut-day in Burnaby.

The Canucks re-assigned three players and 14 more were released outright following the fourth and final scrimmage at 8 Rinks.

James DeMone of 'Making The Cut' fame played 55 games in Manitoba last year but didn't get an invite to main camp. Neither did Burnaby-born Milan Gajic or Maple Ridge's Victor Bartley.

"We discussed it with the scouts and Dave [Nonis] and Steve [Tambellini] and we just made what we felt were the proper decisions for the team," said head coach Alain Vigneault.

That leaves a total of 20 prospects who will make the trip up to Vernon for main camp, including Kelowna's Chris Ray, Vancouver's Elias Godoy, and try-out Patrick Coulombe.

"We're brining in a little more than expected to Vernon - we're bringing in 50 players," said Vigneault.

"We thought that a lot of young kids who came to camp showed us a lot of good things and we wanted to get a longer look at a few of them."

When asked who the top players at camp were, Vigneault was quick to single out Rick Rypien.

"You've got to think Rypien has to be for me the top overall player." He said. "In goal I think [Alexandre] Vincent was the one that stood out for us."

"On defence, the simple answer would be Luc [Bourdon]... You know what, Patrick Coulombe stood out. He's a young man that came out of nowhere and caught a lot of people's attention."

Coulombe is a 5'9", 163-pound defender out of St-Fabien, Quebec who played junior hockey in Rimouski and Chicoutimi last year collecting 23 goals and 77 points in 62 games. He went undrafted and came to camp on a tryout.

Others who drew attention, at least from the collected media, were Jannik Hansen and Marc-Andre Bernier.

Hansen, a ninth-round pick in 2004, scored his third goal of Prospect Camp scrimmages Tuesday dragging a puck around James DeMone in the slot and snapping it over Frederic Cloutier's glove.

"The first thing that jumped out at me is obviously his skill," said Vigneault. "He has great puck skills and he's got a really great shot. He seems to be able to find the open area in the offensive zone to make things happen."

"He's a young man we all feel is going to be a part of our future here. How close that future is, we don't quite know yet."

Bernier, a 6'3", 218-pound right winger who played in the Canucks' farm system last season, scored his fourth and put another off the bar in a 4-2 Team Blue win.

This year's first-round pick, Michael Grabner had his first of Prospects Camp on a penalty shot with a backhand deke.

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