September 09 2013 12:30PM
After a long and controversial campaign, the writers at Canucks Army ranked Brendan Gaunce No. 1 among prospects in the Vancouver system. Our lobbying efforts directed at ESPN's prospect guru Corey Pronman failed to land Gaunce onto Pronman's list of Top 100 NHL prospects, which went up earlier today [Insiders Only].
The highest ranked Canuck instead went to Hunter Shinkaruk, a player full of offensive potential but is still a ways away from producing in the NHL. Shinkaruk was rated at 22 overall, below Teuvo Teravainen of the Chicago Blackhawks and Darnell Nurse of the Edmonton Oilers.
Other Canucks on the list include Bo Horvat at 28, Frank Corrado at 78, and Nicklas Jensen at 83. Gaunce didn't even make the "Just Missed" category of 10 prospects that failed to make the final cut.
I suppose the only saving grace for Gaunce at this point is his two assists from yesterday's Young Stars game after getting shifted over to left wing. Such a positional shift may void his candidacy to join the Canucks as a third-line centreman, before proper training camp has even started yet. Not to say that Gaunce should be immediately declared a bust days before the start of his very first National Hockey League training camp, but he has obviously reached the point in his development where fans see more of the negatives and fewer of the positives.
Thank goodness for us Pronman didn't also rank fan favourite Ludwig Blomstrand on the Top 100. We may have to spend the year defending our collective decision to rank Gaunce No. 1 in the Canucks' system, especially if Gaunce begins his final season of junior eligibility with the Belleville Bulls.
Just a note about Prospect Camps and junior hockey in general, the players that come away with the best chance at making the NHL aren't necessarily the ones that play the best at that level. Nicklas Jensen, by way of example, is a couple of years older than some of the players in the tournament and he is literally a "man amongst boys".