The 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing will be held without NHL players. However, several former Vancouver Canucks players and prospects will compete – let’s take a look.
F Adam Cracknell (2015- 2016)
Cracknell was a Vancouver Canuck during one of the team’s darkest eras. This was a year in which Vancouver would finish with the third-worst record in the entire league. Wearing the blue-and-green, Cracknell played and scored more than ever before up to this point in his NHL career. Scoring ten points during his 44-game run. However, he was placed on waivers prior to the end of the season and claimed by the Edmonton Oilers on February 29, 2016.
After finishing his season in Edmonton, Cracknell signed with the Dallas Stars where he would play almost an entire season (66 games). Finishing with 16 total points, Cracknell potted an impressive ten goals. Three of those came on the same night where Cracknell recorded his only NHL hat-trick in a 6-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on March 24, 2017. Cracknell was waived by the Stars during the following season and has bounced around several NHL, AHL, and KHL teams since. He currently plays with the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL
F Landon Ferraro (2019 PTO)
This inclusion might confuse many Canucks fans. Granted, Ferraro was never technically an official Canuck, he did sign a PTO and participate in training camp in September of 2019. Ferraro was unsuccessful in this tryout and was ultimately released before the end of the month. Thus tying Landon Ferraro to Canucks organization forever.
Ferraro has yet to put on an NHL sweater since his tryout with the Canucks. He has spent the last three years playing for various professional teams in Germany. He currently is on the roster of the Cologne Sharks of the DEL where he has over 30 points so far this season.
F Nicklas Jensen (2011 – 2016)
The Danish left-winger was selected with Vancouver’s 29th pick in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. As a first-rounder, Jensen was by default, one of the organization’s best prospects in time where prospects weren’t their strong suit. While with the franchise, Jensen bounced back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. His best NHL season came in 2013-14 where he scored a total of six points in 17 games for the Canucks. Although he did become a serviceable AHLer, Canucks management decided to move on from Jensen in early 2016. He was traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for another struggling prospect in Emerson Etem. Throughout three seasons, Jensen amassed six total points in 24 games with the Canucks.
Jensen put up an impressive 55 points in 70 games with the Ranger’s AHL affiliate during the 2016-17 season. During this time, he also played seven games at the NHL, although he failed to score any points. Jensen departed from the NHL at the end of that season. He joined Jokerit Helsinki of the KHL for the 2017-18 season and has remained there ever since. His 2021-22 campaign sees him sitting at 34 points in 37 games (the second-highest on the roster).
*FUN FACT* Fellow Canucks alumni Jordan Schroder also currently plays for Jokerit Helsinki
Olympic Athletes From Russia:
D Raphael Diaz (2014)
Raphael Diaz’s stint in Vancouver is about as short and sweet as it can get. He was acquired by the club from the Montreal Canadians in exchange for grinder, Dale Weise, on February 3, 2014. Just over a month, six games, and two points later, he was traded once again. This time he was sent from Vancouver to the New York Rangers in exchange for the 2015 fifth-round pick that turned out to be Adam Gaudette.
Diaz remained in the NHL until the 2016-17 season when he decided to venture back home to the Swiss-A League. Diaz has remained in that same league for the past six seasons. At 36 years of age, Diaz is one of the most experienced players on the team. He will be looking to bring this experience to the table as competes for Switzerland in the 2022 Olympics.
D Yannick Weber (2013 – 2016)
Similar to Diaz, Yannick Weber was a bottom pairing defenceman who spent time with Vancouver in the mid-2010s. With that being said, Weber certainly had the more significant impact on the team. Weber was a fairly regular player during his three years with the Canucks. The Swiss defenceman even put up a career-high 21 points during the 2014-15 season. Weber left Vancouver and signed with the Nashville Predators during the 2016 offseason.
Over a span of four seasons in Nashville, Weber played over 200 games and remained as an NHL regular. His final games in the NHL up to this point were played with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Weber played two games with the Pens during this 2020-21 season. Currently, at 33 years old, Weber plays for Zurich HC in the Swiss-A League. In terms of NHL games played on the Swiss roster, Weber has the most. He will likely be one of the better players on this Olympic roster.
F Markus Granlund (2016 – 2019)
Amassing 69 points in 215 games with the Vancouver Canucks, Markus Granlund was a mainstay on the team’s middle-six for a time. In his first full season, Granlund nearly struck 20 goals by the end of the year and looked like a serviceable NHL player. Unfortunately, Granlund faced some struggles with injuries and never really was able to solidify himself as a quality player at the NHL level.
After leaving Vancouver during the 2019 offseason, Granlund signed with the Edmonton Oilers. Granlund was hoping to have an impact as a depth forward who’d spend time on the penalty kill. However, things did not quite as planned for the young Finn. Granlund only dressed for 34 NHL games and spent parts of the season with their AHL affiliate. Granlund left for the KHL following that season and has become a point-per-game player during his first two years in the league. At only 28 years of age, an impressive Olympic showing could be what Granlund needs if he has an interest in NHL hockey in the future.
F Ronalds Kenins (2014 – 2016)
After never being drafted into the NHL, Latvian Ronalds Kenins joined the Vancouver Canucks at the beginning of the 2014-15 season at age 23 as a free agent signing. He spent the prior season in the Swiss-A League putting up over a point-per-game. He started off hot with the Canucks, he even scored a goal in his second game. Kenins finished his rookie season in Vancouver with encouraging results – 12 points in 34 games. Like many others on this list, Kenins spent most of his next season in the AHL and only played eight NHL games before leaving the league.
Kenins opted to return to his roots to play in Switzerland and has played there ever since. As one of only five Latvian players with NHL games played, Kenins will be a leader on this underdog Latvian team.
F Rodrigo Abols (2016 NHL Entry Draft)
The only time that Rodrigo Abols put on the blue and green was during the seventh round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Rodrigo was never signed to a Canucks contract and therefore has never played in the NHL up until this point. His journey in North America ended when he signed with Orebro of the SHL in June of 2017.
Abols did play in the AHL for a brief stint with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL during the 2019-20 season. He was fairly successful at this level and scored 23 points in 36 games. He has since returned to the SHL where he has spent his last two seasons.
D Oscar Fantenberg (2019 – 2020)
Out of all of the players on this list, Oscar Fantenberg is the most recent to play for the Canucks. Fantenberg was signed in the 2019 offseason as a fringe/bottom pairing defenceman. Overall, he probably exceeded expectations, played 36 games, and provided a much-appreciated physical presence on the blueline. During the Canucks’ bubble run into the second round of the playoffs, Fantenberg was reliable and suited up for 16 postseason contests. Due to salary constraints, the Canucks were not able to re-sign Fantenberg in the post-season.
Since leaving the Canucks, Fantenberg joined St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL where he has played for the past two seasons. Fantenberg will be looking to bring a gold medal home to Sweden this February.
D Henrik Tommernes (2011 – 2015)
Just like, with Landon Ferraro, Henrik Tommernes never technically played with the Canucks. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He played two seasons for the Utica Comets from 2013-14 to 2014-15. In total, he played 77 games for the Comets and scored a combined total of 29 points.
Since leaving the Comets, Henrik has played in multiple European hockey leagues. With over a point-per-game this season, he has been selected to the Olympic roster at age 31. Canucks fans may have not had much of an opportunity to get to know him originally. These Olympic games could be your opportunity to see the Swedish defenceman in action.
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