Author: Jason Brough

Karl Stollery, Jake Virtanen, Martin Jones

Virtanen to skate with Sedins tonight


Sixth overall draft pick Jake Virtanen is getting an opportunity to skate on the Canucks’ top line with the Sedin twins tonight against the Coyotes.

“I think in training camp you have lots of different looks,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins told The Province this morning.

“We know what (Radim) Vrbata can do there, we know what (Alex) Burrows can do there, we know what (Jannik) Hansen can do there. It’s a good time to look at other guys.”

Whether Virtanen, 19, can crack the Canucks or is returned to his junior team still remains to be seen. A right-shooting power forward, he’s been one of the few Vancouver players to score this preseason.

Drafted in 2014, Virtanen became the highest Canucks draft pick since 1999, when the Sedins were taken second and third overall.

Brandon Prust got a ‘cordial’ scouting report before fight

Blair Riley, Brandon Prust

Friday in Calgary, Canucks veteran Brandon Prust gave Flames hopeful Blair Riley a chance to show his stuff.

Specifically, Prust agreed to drop the gloves with the 29-year-old career minor-leaguer.

But not before requesting a bit of a scouting report.

“He’s obviously a professional, he’s been in the game a long time, so I was just grateful for him to give me an opportunity — it was awfully nice of him,” Riley told the Calgary Herald. “He just asked if I (would be) throwing lefts or rights. I told him rights. It’s just something … he doesn’t know who I am, so he wouldn’t have had an opportunity to watch any fight tape of me. Whereas I’m very familiar with him. Just a cordial thing.”

Here’s how the scrap went:

Oddly enough, Riley had to leave the game after the first-period fight, as he wasn’t on the Flames’ official lineup.

Riley has since been assigned to AHL Stockton.

Mark Fraser expected to sign with Sens

New Jersey Devils v New York Rangers

Mark Fraser is expected to catch on with the Ottawa Senators.

The 28-year-old defenseman was released today from his tryout with the Leafs, but will reportedly sign a two-way contract with the Sens.

According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Fraser’s deal will be worth $800,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the AHL.

The Sens moved on Fraser after d-man prospect Mikael Wikstrand returned home to Sweden.

Fraser played 34 games for the Devils in 2014-15, registering four assists while logging an average of 16:17 in ice time.

‘Hawks cut Kopecky and Visnovsky

Chris DeSousa, Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have released forward Tomas Kopecky and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky. Both veterans were with the club on a tryout basis.

Kopecky, 33, had two goals and six assists in 64 games last season for the Florida Panthers.

Visnovsky, 39, played 53 games for the Islanders, scoring five times with 15 assists.

With injuries to Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg in Boston, many are now wondering if the Bruins might consider adding Visnovsky at a low cap hit.

Chicago still has cuts to make. The roster now includes 20 forwards, 11 d-men and three goalies.


Kyle Cumiskey remains with the ‘Hawks on a tryout basis.

The ‘Hawks recently signed Michal Rozsival to a one-year contract.

Related: Chicago releases Jan Hejda from tryout

Injuries to Chara and Seidenberg present opportunity for Miller

Boston Bruins v Carolina Hurricanes

Injuries to Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg may have opened a roster spot for Colin Miller, the 22-year-old defenseman who came to the Bruins as part of the Milan Lucic trade with the Kings.

“He’s been good,” coach Claude Julien told CSN New England. “At times I think I’ve seen a guy that wants to show he belongs, and is maybe trying to do a little too much. But that’s our job to get him to tone down his game, or relax. But I like his mobility. He’s a good skater. We talk about breaking the puck out of our own end, and that’s an element that a guy like that can bring to our team since he’s such a good skater.”

Miller had 52 points in 70 games last season with AHL Manchester. His offensive abilities aren’t in question. It’s the defensive part of the game he needs to keep improving. Certainly not unusual for a young defenseman.

Chara, meanwhile, skated this morning and is apparently making progress. However, he remains day-to-day, his return date unknown.

The Bruins open the regular season Oct. 8 versus the Jets. According to CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty, “it would appear Miller, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman, Matt Irwin and Joe Morrow could potentially be the seven healthy D-men entering the season.”

Of those seven, only Miller is exempt from waivers.

Related: Bruins lose another: Seidenberg (back) out eight weeks