Quinn Hughes excited for Canucks camp to start
Vancouver Canucks training camp begins Friday in Victoria, and all eyes will be on highly touted defenceman Quinn Hughes. Hughes is expected to make the cut and is looking forward to some real game action.
“I’m excited to just get going," Hughes told the media on Monday. "It’s been a long summer. I don’t really want to work-out anymore. I want to play. So, that’s what I’m excited for.”
The 19-year-old was drafted seventh overall by the Canucks in the 2018 NHL draft. He’s a skilled blue-liner with loads of speed and able to move the puck quickly out of the zone.
The Canucks' three-day prospects camp ended Monday, with Hughes and some talented young players hoping to get a shot at landing a job with the team.
“To have him around his peer group is good for him," said Ryan Johnson, director of player development for the Canucks. "It allows all of them to get a little bit of the cobwebs out and get some of the rust off. The typical first-day camp jitters. I hope that has all been left out here, when they get out on the ice they are going to be comfortable and ready to go.”
“It’s good to kind of meet all these guys," added Hughes. "A lot of these guys are going to be on the Canucks at some point. It’s definitely exciting to meet guys your age that are highly skilled and kind of like you.”
Paired with Hughes during prospects camp was smooth skating defenceman Ollie Juolevi. A knee injury in November ended his season with the Utica Comets, and he has been on rehab ever since.
“I feel good. It’s been a good three days.” Juolevi told the media Monday.
The Finnish 21-year-old has taken a while to develop his game after being selected by the Canucks fifth overall in the 2016 draft. With the quick tempo of the prospect camp, Juolevi seemed to adjust to the pace of play just fine.
“It’s fun to be out there now," he said. "You don’t have to be here alone rehabbing and stuff. You can hang out with the guys and play with other guys. It’s awesome to be out there.”
Goaltender Michael DiPietro has been between the pipes for the last three days during the camp and says this is a level up from his summer workouts.
“I think the first day I had to get the legs underneath me," DiPietro said. "The last two days I was pretty happy with how it went overall and I’m looking forward to hopefully having a good solid camp.”
DiPietro says his game has progressed over the last two years since being drafted. Last year, his playoff run with his Ottawa 67’s was probably the best part of his season.
“Every area of my game has improved in a positive way, I'm hoping," he said. "Hopefully it will translate well into the pro game no matter where I end up next year.”
The Vancouver Canucks open training camp on Friday at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.