Earlier today, Harrison half-heartedly detailed the demotion of Guillaume Brisebois and Dmitry Zhukenov. It’s understandable why he wouldn’t get worked up about the two players heading back to the QMJHL. Not only did they have no shot at making the Canucks roster, but they also weren’t even on the Canucks main training camp roster. Really, they’d been cut a week ago, but no one had the heart to tell them.
But this afternoon we discovered that they were just part of a much larger cut, with one name in particular standing out from the rest: Jordan Subban.
In total twelve players were cut from the Canucks today: Subban was assigned to the Utica Comets, along with Anton Cederholm, Dane Fox, Evan McEneny, Ashton Sautner, and Mackenze Stewart.
Joining them will be Travis Ehrhardt, John Kurtz, Clay Witt, and Mike Zalewski. Witt and Zalewski both have AHL contracts with the Comets, while Ehrhardt and Kurtz look like they’ll be attempting to earn the same at the Comets’ camp. Add Brisebois and Zhukenov and that’s an even dozen.
It’s not surprising to see the likes of Cederholm, Fox, McEneny, Sautner, and Stewart get sent down this early in the pre-season. All five of them will be battling for jobs with the Comets this season and have little to no chance of even getting called up to the Canucks, let alone start the season with them. It’s probably best for them to get sent down now so they can work on earning a job in the AHL.
It is surprising, however, to see Subban get cut, mainly because it means he won’t see any pre-season action with the Canucks. Subban didn’t appear in the pre-season opener against the Sharks, which led most to believe he’d play in the rubber match tonight in Vancouver.
Instead, Ben Hutton gets his second game of the pre-season, perhaps indicating that Canucks management likes what they see in the 22-year-old and want to give him a longer look.
It has to be disappointing for Subban, who was a standout at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton and is easily the most dynamic defenceman in the Canucks system. While he had little to no chance at cracking the opening night roster -- the Canucks top-six is all-but set and Frank Corrado has staked a claim on the role of seventh defencemen -- he likely would have relished a chance to prove himself against bigger and stronger competition in the pre-season, proving he has what it takes to at least be a call-up in case of injury.
The 20-year-old Subban still has plenty of time to prove himself, however, and now has to re-focus on his first professional season in the AHL.