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Canucks call up Nils Åman and Cole McWard from Abbotsford

The injured Carson Soucy and Pius Suter have been placed on LTIR and IR, respectively.
The Canucks have called up Nils Åman and Cole McWard from the AHL in place of the injured Pius Suter and Carson Soucy.

The Vancouver Canucks made some roster moves on Friday ahead of their game against the Seattle Kraken, placing Carson Soucyon Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR), Pius Suter on regular Injured Reserve (IR) and calling up Cole McWard and Nils Åman from the Abbotsford Canucks in the AHL.

Soucy's injury has been known to be serious for some time, as the Canucks have reported he will be out of the lineup for six-to-eight weeks. That strongly suggests that he suffered a fracture when he took a puck off his left ankle in a game against the Montreal Canadiens earlier this month. 

What is less known is Suter's status. The centre was one of the Canucks' key free agent signings in the offseason, bolstering their bottom-six with his savvy, puck-smart game. Suter was just finding his footing offensively, putting up four points in his last six games before suddenly being removed from the lineup.

Suter's last game was in Montreal, the same game where Soucy was injured, but Suter didn't miss a shift against the Canadiens, even playing the final shift of the game in the 5-2 win. 

The only update the Canucks have given about Suter is that he is day-to-day and is being "evaluated daily." Thus, there is no definitive timeline for his return and the cause of his injury remains a mystery.

Both Åman and McWard had strong performances in training camp and the preseason and were among the final roster cuts for the Canucks ahead of the start of the season.

McWard made waves when he was paired with Quinn Hughes for a long stretch of the preseason, as the Canucks gave him a real shot to earn the plum position of playing with the captain. He also got opportunities with Ian Cole, leading to the eponymous Cole-McWard pairing.

While McWard hasn't lit up the AHL with the Abbotsford Canucks, putting up 4 points in 15 games, he's played a steady game on the right side and leads Abbotsford's defencemen in plus/minus and shots on goal. Adding another right-shot defenceman to the mix may make it easier for the Canucks to scratch Noah Juulsen, who has had some serious struggles this season

Nils Åman, on the other hand, has been lighting up the AHL. With eight goals and 15 points in 15 games, Åman is first on Abbotsford in goalscoring and second in points behind Arshdeep Bains. 

That's good news for both Åman and the Canucks. The 23-year-old centre was primarily a low-event defensive centre last season for the Canucks but he found his scoring touch in Abbotsford, which will hopefully help his confidence after the call-up. Åman is an intelligent forward, who plays sound positional hockey: if his game has improved the way his AHL scoring suggests it has, he could be a valuable player for the Canucks.