By Cleve Dheensaw
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007
VICTORIA, British Columbia – Forward Ash Goldie has been hitting the back of the net at a machine-gun clip during Manitoba Moose AHL camp and also netting glowing reviews in Winnipeg newspaper articles this week.
Goldie, under ECHL contract to the Victoria Salmon Kings, had a good Vancouver Canucks prospects camp and hasn’t looked back. One of the reasons he signed with the Salmon Kings was that he was promised a look in the Canucks system – which consists of the Moose and Salmon Kings – and is making the most of it.
“Ash has done well and scored a lot of goals in Manitoba camp and shown off his offensive talents,” said Salmon Kings head coach Mark Morrison, who is assisting Moose head coach Scott Arniel during camp at the MTS Centre.
“This weekend’s exhibition games [against the Toronto Marlies] will allow more of a look at how Ash does against AHL players and will tell Scottie [Arniel] and Zinger [Moose GM Craig Heisinger] more about him.”
If Goldie is wowing the camp, Milan Gajic and 2004 second-round Canucks draft pick Marc-Andre Bernier, both effective forwards for the Salmon Kings last season, are perhaps underperforming, according to Morrison.
“We were expecting a little more from Milan. He’s better than what he’s shown so far,” said Morrison, by phone from Winnipeg.
“Marc-Andre is a shooter and was one of our stronger forwards last season and we were also expecting a little bit more from him in Moose camp. But they both still have time [to prove themselves at the AHL level].”
A player who has truly impressed Morrison is Canucks-drafted goaltender Julien Ellis, who will likely return to Victoria this season because of the crease log-jam in the Vancouver system.
“Julien looks good. He’s got a whole different attitude going on,” said Morrison.
“He’s in better shape, more committed and more focused. He’s got the idea: It’s very tough with all the goalies Vancouver has right now and he’s got to compete.”
“Phil has been solid in camp and Matt looks more mature and stronger on his feet,” noted Morrison.
Morrison said he expects more than 10 players currently skating in the Moose camp to also attend the Salmon Kings camp, which begins Oct. 5 at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. Being so intimately involved in Moose camp has allowed Morrison to already make some decisions, although he’s not giving anything away.
“It has given me the opportunity to see a lot of guys here in Manitoba and saved me a great deal of time,” said Morrison.
Manitoba camp got crowded earlier this week with 11 Canucks cuts adding to the 33 players already in camp. The Moose responded yesterday by cutting six players outright and assigning seven others to the ECHL teams which hold their rights: forward Mark Derlago to the Bakersfield Condors, goalie Ervins Mustukovs to the Pensacola Ice Pilots, defenceman Jonathan Paiement to the Texas Wildcatters, forward Matt Robinson to the Alaska Aces, forward Peder Skinner to the Phoenix Roadrunners, rearguard Kevin Truelson to the Bakersfield Condors and blueliner Travis Wight to the Idaho Steelheads.