There will be a couple familiar new faces in Vancouver Canucks training camp this summer, even if their chances of making the team might be a little slim. The team announced that former San Jose Sharks captain Owen Nolan and often-unsuccessful enforcer Todd Fedoruk have been invited to training camp on a tryout basis.
Both players probably have to be impressive to even get a chance to land a contract with the team, but Nolan is the most interesting of the two for obvious reasons. Nolan was a five time All-Star and also won a gold medal with Team Canada in 2002. Nolan was the Sharks’ first big-time player, mixing size, grit and scoring ability to put together a nice career. It’s not like he’s that far removed from being an effective player, either. Nolan played the 2010-11 season in the Swiss League (26 points in 24 games with Zurich) but was solid with the Minnesota Wild in 09-10 (33 points in 73 games) and 08-09 (25 goals and 45 points in 59 games). Perhaps he could play the type of role Gary Roberts did in his waning years with the Pittsburgh Penguins?
Fedoruk’s invitation was met with some chuckles because he’s one of those enforcers who is known for getting beaten pretty badly more often than not. Whatever you might say about his pugilistic skills, teams often prefer to have a stray fighter in their system, even if that person is meant to absorb punches to save more important players. Fedoruk last played with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 09-10.
Who knows if either guy will make it past training camp, but these invitations seem like very reasonable low-risk gambles. We’ll keep an eye on the camp storylines this off-season.