Canucks reduce preseason 2021 roster by 16 players

The Vancouver Canucks have made some changes to their preseason roster.

The team released the information during the game against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday afternoon and reduced their current group by 16 players.

Four players were fired from their amateur games to be sent to Abbotsford, including striker Chase Wouters and defender Alex Kannok-Leipert.

Wouters, who was Abbotsford’s first official signing after moving from Utica, has spent the past five seasons with the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL and has been their captain for the past three years. The high-energy center signed its first AHL contract with Abbotsford last July.

Kannok-Leipert is another WHL product that has spent the past four years with the Vancouver Giants. During his time in Vancouver, Kannok-Leipert scored 83 points in 219 regular season games and 12 points in 22 playoff games. The right-handed blueliner, which was originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2018, also wore the “C” in its last two years with the Giants.

The team also sacked three players from their pro friendly matches, including defender Ashton Sautner and striker Vincent Arseneau.

Sautner originally signed an entry-level contract with the Canucks in 2015 after playing four seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Since landing his ELC, he has spent most of his time in Utica, scoring 11 goals and 38 assists in 240 games. The left-handed Blueliner made his NHL debut against the Dallas Stars on March 25, 2018.

Sautner spent most of last season on the Vancouver taxi squad before being loaned out to Manitoba Moose. He is currently signing a one-year contract with Abbotsford.

Like Sautner, Arseneau have spent most of their time in Utica in recent seasons. The 6’2 ″, 221-pound winger scored 21 goals, six assists and 234 PIM in 104 games between 2018 and 2021 and was supposed to bring hardness, courage and seasoned leadership to Vancouver’s farm team.

The Canucks also waived four players Monday morning for AHL allocation purposes, including netminder Spencer Martin, who was acquired by Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this summer. The 26-year-old goalkeeper was originally drafted by Colorado Avalanche during the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and will join Arturs Silovs and likely Michael DiPietro at Abbotsford in the coming season.

Silovs, Jett Woo, and Karel Plasek, all of whom are waived waivers, have been loaned direct to Abbotsford.

Viktor Persson and Connor Lockhart were also reassigned to their respective junior teams. Persson, who was drafted at No. 191 by the Canucks in 2020, will play with the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL, while Lockhart, who was drafted to No. 178 overall in 2021, will join the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.

One notable name that wasn’t on this list was striker Danila Klimovich.

Klimovich, who recently signed his entry-level deal after finishing 41st overall last summer, spent the last season with Minskie Zubry in the Vysshaya Liga, the second-rate hockey league of Belarus, where he scored 28 goals, 24 assists and 40 PIM Appearances achieved 37 regular season games.

Shortly after he was called up, Klimovich signed a trial contract with Dynamo Minsk of the KHL and seemed to fit in quite well when he scored a goal and an assist in his first game with the Russian club. With players remaining on the preseason squad, Klimovich is expected to eventually land in the QMJHL at the end of training camp, but the door for the Belarusian striker is currently slightly open to snag a spot at Abbotsford.

Head coach Travis Green also needs to make some space in the squad for Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, who both signed new contracts over the weekend and are expected to play in the last two preseason competitions. The team also has to do without blueliner Travis Hamonic, who is allegedly still at home in Manitoba because of a “personal family matter”. The 31-year-old Blueliner will not be eliminated from the coming season despite his current absence from the team.

The Canucks will face the Seattle Kraken at Rogers Arena on Tuesday night. The puck drop is set at 7:00 p.m. PST.

What do you think of the first set of duty roster cuts? Let us know in the comments!

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