March 01 2012 08:43AM
A few months ago, I analyzed an interesting draft strategy employed by Mike Gillis – selecting one goaltender per draft year, usually in the mid-to-late rounds. One of the goalies I mentioned, Joe Cannata, is having a fantastic season in the NCAA for the Merrimack Warriors. Cannata was selected 173rd overall back in 2009, and he is currently in his fourth year with the Warriors. Through 31 games this season, he has compiled a 15-9-7 record with a 2.13 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage.
He’s likely to join the Chicago Wolves next season, likely in a backup goaltender capacity, depending on how he plays and how the Cory Schneider situation unfolds.
Since we don’t hear much (or anything) about most of the Canucks college prospects, I consulted an expert on Merrimack hockey for a firsthand take on Cannata. Mike McMahon is the author of the Mack Report, a website covering all things Merrimack hockey. McMahon can also be found on Twitter (@MikeMcMahonET). Mike had some great insights to offer me, including a Cam Ward comparison, and what we can expect from Cannata for the next few years as he adjusts to the professional game.
February 23 2012 08:43AM
Thankfully the NHL trade deadline is only a few days away (Monday, February 27th), as the amount of rumours and speculation swirling in the media seems to be at an all-time high. The Canucks are one of only a few contending teams that don’t really need to do anything at the deadline, and sometimes the best moves, are the ones that aren't made.
That said, GM Mike Gillis likely recognizes that his team’s window to win is now, and at the very least he should be working the trade market for some depth at both forward and defense. Earlier this week, Thomas Drance did a thorough inventory of Canucks needs, trade chips and cap-space, and yesterday Cam Charron broke down how the Canucks have fared at previous trade deadlines. Today I'll look into somewhat realistic trade targets, but speculating about picking up depth players isn’t all that interesting. So why don’t we take a look at five of the bigger name forwards who could be made available come Monday morning?
Read on after the jump!
February 16 2012 09:05AM
Photo Credit: Chris Jerina of AHL in Photos.
With a few notable exceptions, Canucks fans are educated regarding their team (our readers are, at least). Most of you know that Jordan Schroeder was “stolen” by the Canucks when they picked up 22nd overall back in 2009 (he was slated by many to be a top 10 pick, and he slid dropped due to concerns about his attitude and size and strength). Since then, his development has had more downs than ups. He left college early to join the AHL’s Manitoba Moose after the 2009-10 season. In his professional rookie season, Schroeder struggled to produce consistently, finishing with 28 points in 61 games (he missed 16 games with a high ankle sprain).
Read on past the break
January 26 2012 02:40PM
Connauton and his partner Chris Tanev celebrate a Chicago Wolves goal via Chris Jerina.
Sorry I didn't have any fresh content last week, I was half way through a take on Chris Tanev's long-term upside when some persona issues came up and I never got the time to finish it.
Tanev’s recall from Chicago came after I had started my piece, and there were quickly numerous other bloggers and writers who offered their thoughts, and insights on him. Thomas Drance wrote a really good piece on Tanev (and at the same time referenced my favourite Schwarzenegger movie - Total Recalled), and I wouldn’t disagree with any of his opinions on Tanev’s short term upside with the club. This week, I’ve decided to shift my focus across the rink to Tanev’s defensive partner with Chicago, the dynamic Kevin Connauton. Connauton has gone from borderline NHL prospect (even after his dominant season with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants) to a legitimate top-four defenseman prospect. Let's take a look at Connauton's big step forward this season...
January 12 2012 08:25AM
Jeremy Price (right) battles for the puck in an ECAC Conference game against Union College.
Over the last few months, I have been profiling some lesser known Canuck prospects, like Frankie Corrando, Sebastian Erixon, Joseph LaBate, and Patrick McNally. I’ll continue with that theme today, as I want to bring some attention to defensive standout Jeremy Price. Price, like McNally, is a skilled defenseman playing in the NCAA’s ECAC Conference (McNally for Harvard, and Price for the Colgate Raiders). Price was picked in the fourth round (113th overall) by the Canucks back in 2009, and since then has progressed into one of the better defensemen in college hockey. We don’t hear a lot about him, but as we have seen with Kevin Bieksa, unknown college defenseman can have a big impact at the NHL level (like Price and McNally, Bieksa was on no one’s radar in Vancouver while he played in the NCAA).