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2018 Young Stars Classic Preview

...a closer look at the Canucks and Jets players to watch in this year's tournament.

by Tyson Giuriato @TysonGiuriato / Freelance writer

Despite not having 2018 first-round selection Quinn Hughes on the roster, this still may very well be the most exciting and talented team the Canucks have ever sent to the Young Stars Classic.

Pettersson, Gaudette, Dahlen, Lind, Gadjovich, Palmu, Jasek… and that's just the forwards! Mix in some high-end defenceman and a goalie that will most likely be between the pipes for Canada at the World Juniors this Christmas, and Canucks fans in Penticton are going to be in for a treat.

Action begins September 7 at the South Okanagan Events Centre as UBC takes on the University of Alberta at 4:00 pm, followed by the Canucks and Jets at 7:30 pm. The two U Sports teams will do battle again on September 8 at 6:00 pm, before the Canucks and Jets close things out on September 9 at 2:00 pm.

Three Canucks players to watch? It's just too tough to narrow it down to three, so let's do something a little different: 

Three Young Stars Rookies to Watch

Elias Pettersson

His season was well documented. Led the Swedish Hockey League in scoring, despite being only 19, was named the league's MVP, Forward of the Year, Rookie of the Year, had the most points ever in Sweden's top league by a player under the age of 20, scored five goals in seven games for Sweden at the World Juniors, where he won silver, made the Swedish Men's National Team...the list goes on and on for Pettersson. 

Get your popcorn ready.

Video: Elias Pettersson is named No. 3 on the list

Jonathan Dahlen

Dahlen, 20, was acquired by the Canucks from the Senators in the Alex Burrows trade. He is coming off a sensational season in Sweden's Allsvenskan league, where he posted 44 points (23-21-44) in 44 games en route to being named the league MVP and Top Forward.

Dahlen joined the Comets at the end of the season and appeared in six games, including four playoff games, registering three points (1-2-3).

Video: Get to know Canucks prospect Jonathan Dahlen

Jett Woo


Tweet from @Canucks: #Canucks #YoungStars Head Coach Trent Cull confirms Jett Woo is injured and will not be participating in this year's #YoungStars.

Selected in the second round, 37th overall, at the 2018 NHL Draft, Woo, 18, is coming off a very solid World Junior Showcase in August where he provided strong defensive play and was one of the most physical players on the ice.

The 6-foot, 201-pound defenceman is entering his third season with the Moose Jaw Warriors and has all the makings to be a fan favourite, not only in Penticton, but down the road with the Canucks.

Video: Jett Woo's draft day with family and friends

Honourable Mentions: Petrus Palmu and Lukas Jasek

The Canucks selected Palmu, 21, in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Draft after the 5-foot-7 forward produced 98 points (40-58-98) in just 62 games with the Owen Sound Attack. He went back to Finland this past season to play in their top professional league and the point production didn't stop there. He netted 36 points (17-19-36) in 59 games and was named the SM-liiga Rookie of the Year after leading all rookies in goals and points.

Jasek, 21, was selected by the Canucks in the sixth-round back in 2015. He remained playing in the Czech Republic for the next three seasons until he joined the Comets at the end of last season and reeled off seven points (3-4-7) in six AHL games.

Scouting the Opposition

The Jets are also bringing an experienced roster that features 11 players who saw some action at the professional level last season, either in North America or Europe. They are also big, with 10 of their 21 players standing 6-foot-2 or bigger, six of which tip the scales at over 200 pounds.

Three Jets Players to Watch

Kristian Vesalainen

Vesalainen, 19, was selected in the first round, 24th overall, by the Jets at the 2017 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 207-pound forward has represented Finland at the past two World Junior Championships and was a beast at the 2017 World Under-18 Championships, where he posted 13 points (6-7-13) in seven games, while being named the tournament MVP.

Vesalainen helped Kärpät capture the SM-liiga Championship this past season.

Michael Spacek

Spacek, 21, is coming off a productive rookie season in the AHL, where he netted 38 points (17-21-38) in 70 games with the Manitoba Moose. The 5-foot-11 forward was selected in the fourth round, 108th overall, by the Jets at the 2015 NHL Draft and has represented the Czech Republic on three occasions at the World Juniors.

Spacek led the Red Deer Rebels in scoring during the 2016-17 season with 85 points (30-55-85) in 59 games.

Logan Stanley

Stanley, 20, is a towering 6-foot-7 defenceman the Jets drafted in the first round, 18th overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft. He is coming off a breakout season in junior that saw him register 42 points (15-27-42) in 61 games with the Kitchener Rangers, before adding 16 points (4-12-16) in 19 post-season games.

Stanley won the Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires in 2017.

Video: YOUNG STARS | Cull on First Practice

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