The Vancouver Canucks opening night roster is getting much clearer after a series of player personnel moves Friday.
The Canucks released two players on professional tryouts, sent four players to their new American Hockey League affiliate in Chicago, and dispatched first-round pick Nicklas Jensen back to his junior club, the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals.
The battle for jobs on the fourth line lost two candidates. NHL veteran Todd Fedoruk, who was on a tryout, was released and winger Mike Duco, acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers this summer, was sent to the AHL.
That leaves Aaron Volpatti, Victor Oreskovich and Mark Mancari. Volpatti is all but certain to start the season with the Canucks, and mostly likely has a fourth-line job after his one-punch knockout of San Jose’s Brad Winchester Thursday. Oreskovich is the leading contender on Maxim Lapierre’s other wing after two strong preseason games in a row.
Mancari could sneak onto the fourth line, but is more likely battling journeyman Andrew Ebbett to serve as the 13th forward. Ebbett could still win the No. 2 centre job over prospect Cody Hodgson. The loser will likely be the spare forward, although Hodgson may be better served playing heavy minutes in the AHL.
In any event, it is a temporary roster spot, because neither player is unseating Ryan Kesler when he returns from offseason hip surgery.
Veteran defenceman Anders Eriksson was also released, while forward Jordan Schroeder and defenceman Yann Sauvé were sent to the Chicago Wolves.