Canucks add depth in net

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

The goaltending situation with the Vancouver Canucks and Manitoba Moose is becoming a little less cloudy.

Veteran Wade Flaherty remains the front-runner to earn the back-up job behind new Canucks starter Roberto Luongo, but the depth in the organization improved dramatically yesterday with the acquisition of Drew MacIntyre.

MacIntyre was picked up by the Canucks from the Detroit Red Wings for a conditional draft pick in 2007.

Although MacIntyre split last season between the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL and Toledo Storm of the ECHL, he could prove to be a solid insurance policy should Flaherty spend part or all of the season in the NHL.

"What he adds is pretty much up to him. It's a position where there is a little bit of uncertainty right now," Moose general manager Craig Heisinger said yesterday from Vancouver, where the Canucks wrapped up prospects camp. "There's an opportunity there and the best guys are going to get it. He's a guy who's proven he's ready to take it to the next level and hopefully he can show the rest of us that he's ready."

MacIntyre, who was originally drafted by the Red Wings in the fourth round (121st overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, was 24-7-2 with a 2.06 GAA for Toledo and 8-4 with a 2.91 GAA for the Griffins during the regular season.

He also appeared in six playoff games with the Storm and another five post-season games with the Griffins, including a relief appearance in the seventh game of the North Division final which saw the Moose squander a 4-1 lead.

Following yesterday's session, the Canucks trimmed down their training camp roster by 17 players. Two players were returned to their Western Hockey League clubs and second-year centre F.P. Guenette was assigned to the Moose.

Other potential Moose players that were shown the door include Jason Jaffray, Adam Keefe and Nick Kuiper.

All three are under contract to Manitoba and will report to camp on Sept. 24.

One guy who was expected to battle for a spot with the Moose was former Anaheim first round pick Alexei Smirnov, but the Russian didn't show much in prospects camp and won't be trying out in Manitoba either.

A total of 50 players are heading to Vernon, B.C., tomorrow as main camp begins.

"The one thing that stood out to me from prospects camp, in general, was that everybody could skate," said Heisinger. "There was not a guy or two who you thought 'that guy can't play because he can't skate.' With the new rules, things are moving in the right direction."

One of the more interesting stories coming out of camp was that Moose sniper Jason King chose not to report to prospects camp, since he's unhappy with the two-way contract offer that is on the table.

King's agent, Anton Thun, told the Vancouver Sun that King is exploring Europe as an option but there are some rumblings the sharp-shooter may show up for physicals and testing today and join his teammates in Vernon.


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