On last night's game...
Hodgson - Yes he's improved over last year, yes he understands the game, yes he's had some good moments, yes he's stronger, but I've seen absolutely nothing from him so far that suggests he can be an productive, every day top 9 forward, let alone the 2nd line centre. Thankfully Kesler isn't out long-term, so any time Hodgson will spend there will be limited and can be chalked up as a learning experience, but unless his game somehow transforms when the regular season starts, a cup of coffee is all he's getting. I do think these last two games was far more indicative of the pace and challenge of a regular season game, and Cody struggled the most in those games. I'm sure there will be some who will be critical of AV's handling of Cody this training camp regardless of dressing him in 6 games and putting him in every possible role and allowing him to play with skilled veterans on his wings, or skilled prospects or checkers.
Ballard - Good and bad. He's improved his gap control and understands the system better, but he hasn't been stellar, and last night he had some very good moments and a couple of iffy ones, making a bad give-away in the 1st that didn't cost them and then getting caught up ice on the 3rd goal. Mistakes happen and the team was taking chances to get back in the game, but for a player that seemingly needs to gain the confidence of the coaches, I'm not sure Ballard has completely convinced the coaching staff. Perhaps playing with a full line-up and getting in meaningful games will bring something more out of Ballard.
Tanev - To say he's on the team is stating the obvious, but he's also going to playing on the right side every night unless he gets hurt. If his rapid progression continues, don't be surprised to see him paired with Edler at some point after the 10-20 game mark to allow them to rest and limit Salo's regular season minutes by having him on the 3rd pair.
Jensen - Hands down our best prospect in camp. Maybe that's not saying much, but as an 18 year old this kid has all the tools and abilities you'd want from a potential power forward. Just wait until he fills out his frame. He's still a little raw and needs to be a little more aware at all times, but that's nothing to be concerned about with an 18-year old. Honestly, I think the Canucks should give him 9 games.
Malhotra - He looked much better than the player we saw in the Cup final. He's obviously not where he was last year quite yet, but his performance in the face-off circle, on defense and positioning was pretty good. All in all, encouraging.
Eriksson - Like I said before, if he's willing to play in Chicago give him a 2-way deal. He can be solid depth insurance for us.
Schneider - Best Canuck on the ice last night and looks poised for a repeat performance, and maybe then some, this season.
Considering Cody and Ebbett's struggles, I propose the Canucks put Higgins as the 2nd line centre with Jensen and Samuelsson on his wings to start the year. Give Jensen 9 games or less depending on when Kesler comes back. I don't think Jensen is at the level where he can play an entire season in the NHL at this age and then be productive in the post-season, so at the moment it doesn't make sense to think too far ahead, but giving him some games for his development and a short-term boost to 2nd line isn't a bad idea.