September 22 2016 11:00AM
The invitees stole the show at this weekend's Canucks Young Stars Classic in a tournament where previously they'd mostly been an afterthought. Invitees accounted for a large portion of the Canucks' offence across three games, contributing three of the seven goals Vancouver scored in the tournament.
Generally, you'd hope that the players lighting it up at your development camp would be members of the organization. Unfortunately for the Canucks, they weren't coming into the tournament with a particularly impressive forward group. It's important to note that they have some players that weren't able to compete and that many of their young forwards have already graduated to the NHL, though. The prospect depth at forward is still worrisome, but the Young Stars roster made it look worse than it is.
September 20 2016 11:00AM
The Canucks have a centre depth problem, roster and pipeline alike. In an era where most teams elect to dress five or sometimes six natural centres, the Canucks will likely carry no more than four on their opening night roster.
Vancouver's showing at the annual Young Stars Tournament in Penticton has only served to highlight that organizational deficiency. The team wasn't expected to boast an electric group of forwards to begin with, but the late withdrawal of Dmitry Zhukenov only added to that problem. The youngsters acquitted themselves well over the weekend, but much of that was courtesy of invited players like Marc-Olivier Roy, Alexis D'Aoust and Kyle Maksimovich -- players that, for now, aren't even Canucks property.
September 19 2016 08:54PM
The Canucks closed out the 2016 Young Stars Classic in a spirited affair against their Western Canadian rivals, the Calgary Flames. Calgary had been the team to beat this weekend, featuring the most well-rounded roster of the tournament.
The Flames came on strong, and Vancouver struggled against their attack for most of the game. Luckily, a few timely goals from Michael Carcone, Jordan Subban, and Yan-Pavel LaPlante, as well as the inspired play of goaltenders Thatcher Demko and Michael Garteig was enough to push the game to extra time.
Karma caught up with them eventually, however, when Ashton Sautner blew a tire at Calgary's blue line. Ryan Lomberg was left all alone on the breakaway and he made no mistake, sealing the game 4-3 in overtime.
August 29 2016 09:00AM
There's so much I could say about Anton Rodin. I'm almost having a hard time figuring where to start. His development path has been an atypical one, to say the least. So much so, in fact, that it's debatable whether or not he even qualifies as a "prospect".
He'll turn 26 midway through the 2015-16 season, and should theoretically be in the prime of his career. He's still eligible for the Calder trophy, and he's still an unknown commodity, however, which made him a prime candidate for the top-end of our prospect rankings.
August 23 2016 09:31AM
At times, fans and media alike are guilty of undervaluing NHL-readiness when it comes to prospects. When a player has spent a number of years on the cusp of making the jump to the NHL, it's easy to forget how difficult it is just to get that far. Regardless of how much offensive upside some of the other prospects in the Canucks' system may have, the 13 games Andrey Pedan played at the NHL level last season are quite likely 13 more than some of the players we've already listed will ever play.
Pedan's status as a hard-nosed defensive defenceman isn't likely to endear him to the spreadsheet and pocket-protector crowd, but the fact remains that these types of players are still useful, and remain highly sought after in the modern NHL. More importantly, the emphasis on numbers-based evaluation has on occasion led many of us in the blogosphere to underestimate young players that have made their name playing an old-school brand of hockey. When we have only 13 games of action to go on, many of which were played out of position, it's prudent to remember that Pedan's reputation as a rough-and-tumble stay-at-home defenceman does not preclude him from being a good NHL player in the near future.