Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/18/13
Gettyimageproxy.ashx_requesturl_http_3a_2f_2fcache.gettyimages.com_2fxc_2f72165302.jpg_3fv_3d1_26c_3dewsasset_26k_3d2_26d_3d17a4ad9fdb9cf193dadd97b58d4678d0cc4893e6cf5fc3da
How will blue line look opening night? The Vancouver Canucks opened their 2013 training camp over the weekend, beginning a six-day sprint towards opening night on Saturday. As veteran players are given a chance to find their ice legs, younger teammates are prepared to battle for the few available spots on a talented Canucks squad. While the absence of Ryan Kesler in Vancouver’s top-six provides opportunity for forwards to embrace new roles up front, the Canucks appear to have little room for competition on the blue line. Bieksa – Hamhuis Vancouver’s top pairing of Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis return to patrol the blue line together in 2013 and should have familiarity on their side to start the year after playing together for two consecutive seasons. Both Bieksa and Hamhuis chose to be patient during the lockout and did not play professional hockey elsewhere this winter, so expect a touch of rust to be visible over the first several games. If anything, at least Bieksa’s love for ball hockey may have kept him in shape. Edler – Garrison Vancouver’s second defensive pairing could face the biggest adjustments in 2013 as Alex Edler learns to play alongside off-season acquisition Jason Garrison. Like Edler’s former defensive partner Sami Salo, Garrison brings a big shot to the ice and is expected to play a large role in Vancouver’s power play in the future. Edler and Garrison both spent the off-season rehabilitating back and groin injuries respectively, but were both given medical clearance to play in mid-December. Hamhuis is expected to be ready for opening night (Photo – Rich Lam/Getty Images The NHL is sure to be rife with groin injuries due to the season’s sudden start, but as long as Garrison hasn’t been receiving rehabilitation tips from new teammate Ryan Kesler he should be healthy to start the year. Tanev – Ballard – Alberts – Barker With two defensive pairing seemingly set in stone, Vancouver’s final set of roster sports on the blue line come highly contested in the shortened 2013 season. Keith Ballard, Chris Tanev and Andrew Alberts are all familiar with the position and are expected to collectively make up Vancouver’s third pairing, but youngsters Kevin Connauton and Cam Barker are also expected to put the pressure on the team’s returnees. Connauton will be hard-pressed to crack the Canucks’ roster during a short six-day training camp, but Barker’s previous experience seems to have convinced the Canucks of his value, earning him a one-year $700,000 deal. Oilers fans who witnessed Barker’s struggles last season will tell you the Canucks are foolish to commit a year to the young defenceman, however the deal is ultimately structured to expose Vancouver as little as possible. Under the new CBA the Canucks can send Barker down to the AHL to avoid his cap hit without having to risk re-entry waivers. Derek Joslin and Peter Andersson are not expected to compete for a spot in Vancouver’s starting six anytime soon but could be called upon in a depth role as injuries pile up in a sudden and compressed season. UPDATE: The Canucks have signed defenceman Jim Vandermeer, who is expected to join the cast of depth defenceman fighting for time on Vancouver’s third defensive pairing. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSPORTSBEAT!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Vin Scully will return to the Dodgers in 2016

Rob Gronkowski’s younger brother, Glenn, trying to make NFL as fullback

Michael Bennett fined over $17K for nasty hit on Alex Smith

Cam Cameron battling prostate cancer

RG3 to be held out 1-2 weeks after doctor changes mind

LA Kings offer Peter Budaj a professional tryout

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Carlos Boozer hoping roster spot opens on playoff team

Starting EJ Manuel not a bad idea for Bills’ third preseason game

Tim Beckman fired by Illinois amid mistreatment allegations

Chip Kelly reveals thought process behind Bradford trade

Charles Barkley on ex-agent: ‘I’d blow his damn brains out’

Bryce Harper doesn’t seem to care if Nationals make playoffs

NFL admits communication breakdown in Pats-Saints game

WATCH: TJ Yeldon gets crushed in brutal goal-line collision

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

Jonathan Kraft: Patriots haven’t apologized to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen

Ballmer declines $60M/yr TV deal, could start streaming

Nationals forced to re-issue massive bobblehead order

Jay Gruden would like the media to stop calling him fat

Spieth: New irons the reason for missed cut at Barclays?

Opening Drive: Where have all the great UM tailbacks gone?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Andy Reid perfect play: 'That’s like a good cheeseburger'

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

10 NFL players set for down seasons in 2015

Why NFL preseason games matter

August's winners and losers in sports

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker