May 06 2015 09:00AM
With Vancouver's season long over and done with, we begin to turn our attention here at Canucks Army over to the next big event of the offseason: the NHL Entry Draft. Many of us here are of the opinion that the draft is the most important period of the season for all teams, seeing as it's the time when each organization's future is shaped in a significant way.
With that in mind, errors and missteps at the draft can have some very severe ramifications down the road. For example, would the Oilers have been the laughing stock they were if they'd done what Montreal had in 2007 and spent their first three picks on Ryan McDonagh, Max Pacioretty, and P.K. Subban rather than picking up Sam Gagner, Alex Plante, and Riley Nash? I think it's pretty doubtful.
And with Corey Pronman releasing his final draft rankings yesterday (paywall warning), we figured that this is as good a time as any to look at three first-time draft eligible prospects that Jim Benning should treat with caution come draft day.
May 04 2015 12:12PM
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports
The Vancouver Canucks have loaned out their two first-round draft picks from the 2014 NHL Entry Draft - forwards Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann - to the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League, who advanced to the second-round of the Calder Cup Final this weekend.
Virtanen and McCann saw their CHL seasons end this past weekend when their respective teams were eliminated in the conference final by a pair of clubs that are probably Memorial Cup bound. Beating the likes of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Connor McDavid's Erie Otters is a tough task, but so is cracking an elite AHL lineup this late in the season.
Can the addition of either Virtanen or McCann, or both, help the Comets in the short-term?
May 03 2015 04:31PM
Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports
Hot shot NCAA unrestricted free agent goaltender Matt O'Connor, 23, had reportedly begun to narrow down his list of suitors and the Vancouver Canucks are still in the running.
The 6-foot-6 netminder is still talking to the New York Rangers, the Ottawa Senators, and the Canucks, according to TVA's Louie Jean. That would imply that the Edmonton Oilers, who were believed to be among O'Connor's four finalists last week, are out of the running.
Jean also suggests that O'Connor's choice hinges on which goaltending coach the young netminder's camp believes can take the young, undrafted netminder's game to the next level.
May 02 2015 12:35PM
The Nation Network isn't accustomed to playoff success. What else do you expect from a blog network based out of Edmonton?
We're experts in the draft lottery though, and we know a thing or two about playoff pools - particularly the Nation Drafts charity playoff pool that we run annually. With the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs already in full swing, let's take a moment, look back at round one, and check out the progress that the Nation Network's poolies are making in the competition!
May 01 2015 09:00AM
In the first post on this topic, we looked at the issues the Canucks may encounter with their goaltending depth this offseason. This is not an uncommon issue when you can only have 2 players in one position in the NHL and any other talent you may have who is NHL caliber typically is traded as they do not want to sit in the minors.
In this post, we'll follow up on the emptiness in the goaltending prospect pipeline the Canucks are facing, and try to identify players the Canucks could target for both credible AHL depth and perhaps future NHL assets too.