Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets

Canucks Friday: Pius Suter Signed, Abby Ink, & Wine

Canucks Friday

The Canucks signed 27-year-old Swiss free agent forward Pius Suter to a two-year contract worth 1.6-million per season. The native of Zurich spent the last two seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and has played 216 regular season NHL games over his three season career. He first spent a campaign with the Chicago Blackhawks after signing in July of 2020.

Prior to hopping the pond, Suter spent six years in Switzerland’s top pro circuit. That followed some North American training; he played two seasons for the Guelph Storm in the Ontario Hockey League between 2013 and 2015.

He’s an average sized lefty pivot, 5-foot-11 and 175-pounds.

The Classic Beckons

The Vancouver Canucks will once again be hosting a rookie showcase in September and fans wanting to follow the action in Penticton can do so between the 15th and 18th. The mini-tourney will once again feature youngsters from the Canucks along with the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers.

Single game and doubler-header tickets for the 2023 Young Stars Classic went on sale this morning (Friday) for the unofficial round-robin, won last year by the Oilers prospects. There are no game/score sheets available from the 2022 Classic, but the line-up from Edmonton beat the young-un’s from Vancouver 5-2 in the finale.

It’s a delightful opportunity for fans from Vancouver to zip over and enjoy some Naramata wine tastings, some Penticton hospitality, and some enthusiastic hockey action. Last September was a delight.

An announcement from the Canucks regarding this year’s event featured the names of prospects Aatu Räty, Arshdeep Bains, Aidan McDonough, Cole McWard, and Akito Hirose.

Johnny Canucks

Earlier this week the Abbotsford Canucks revealed a handful of player signings.

On Tuesday, Abbotsford General Manager Ryan Johnson announced that the club had signed forward Josh Passolt, defencemen Derek Daschke and Michael Joyaux, and goalie Jonathan Lemieux to one-year AHL contracts.

22-year-old undrafted Quebec native Lemieux — I hope his nickname is “Denny” — played five seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before spending last season with Concordia University. Canadian university hockey isn’t the typical path for prospects, but Lemieux’s numbers in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) league last season were outstanding.

Left-handed 25-year-old Daschke, a Michigander, played ten games in the ECHL last season immediately following five seasons of college hockey, while Illinois native Joyaux, age-26, spent five seasons in the USHL junior circuit before four more at the Western Michigan University. That led to a full 72-game performance for the righty with the Newfoundland Growlers in the ECHL last season. Both D-men were undrafted into the NHL.

Passolt, age-27, also played college hockey for the Broncos on the five-year plan, before two seasons of minor league pro hockey.

Sutter Sighting

Brandon Sutter, who failed to return to the Vancouver Canucks line-up due to affects from long-term Covid, will finally try to take another crack at pro hockey. The right-handed bottom-six centre played five seasons with the Canucks, part of a 770-game NHL career for the 2007 11th-overall NHL Draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.

His best season in Vancouver came in 2016-’17 when he notched 17 goals and 17 assists.

Sutter will apparently join the Edmonton Oilers for training camp in September on a Professional Try-Out (PTO) offer, TSN reported on Thursday.

Brandon is the son of former NHL player and head coach Brent Sutter, part of the famous Viking, Alberta hockey family.

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Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.