Sports

Canucks kick off Development Camp in Whistler; Vancouver could trade Markstrom

Jim Benning has said he is likely done signing wandering players, but that doesn't mean anything is quieting down for the Vancouver Canucks.

Because, well, Benning will likely have to move a piece or two, and then re-sign one.

The Canucks' new GM still has to come to terms with Restricted Free Agent (RFA) Linden Vey, who the L.A. Kings traded to Vancouver during the second round of this year's NHL Entry Draft.

And Benning will also have to please his third-string goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who has either requested a trade or is interested in one. After all, the Canucks did sign free agent goalie Ryan Miller for $6 million to start in front of last year's No. 1, Eddie Lack.

That makes Markstrom a tall, talented, but untested No. 3, and you can't blame the Swede for wanting a change of scenery, even though he's only been a Canuck for a few months.

The Province's Jason Botchford quotes Benning as saying there are "at least three teams" who have expressed interested in Markstrom, which means his imminent exit has been considered, at the very least.

"We're exploring that for Jacob," Benning told Botchford. "But if that doesn't happen, Jacob comes to camp. He has a good attitude. He understands the situation."

And of course, the Canucks' prospects are hard at work already, trading in their summer for a shot this winter.

The team held the meet-and-greet portion of its 2014 Prospects Development Camp in Whistler last weekend, and started on-ice sessions at UBC on Monday.

Players like Bo Horvat, Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce, and Dane Fox are joined by this year's draft picks – Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann, and Thatcher Demko.

Last year, Horvat and Shinkaruk impressed in the Canucks' preseason, as did 2012 first rounder Gaunce. Fox had 64 goals last year with the OHL's Erie Otters, by far the most of any Vancouver prospect in the Canadian Hockey League. And Virtanen, McCann, and Demko join the team as three highly rated just-draftees. All went between picks No. 6 and 36 in June 27's Draft.

Another player at this week's prospect camp is Mike Zalewski, who played two games for the Canucks last year.

Zalewski was impressive in his short stint with the big club, and he had an assist for his first-ever NHL point, coming on a goal by defenceman Yannick Weber.

Benning said there has been interest from other general managers in McCann, who Vancouver selected 24th overall in the first round. McCann was originally expected to go anywhere from 10th to 15th overall in the draft, but fell to the Canucks toward the end of the first round, where Vancouver had its second pick.

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