August 15 2013 02:16PM
On this day two years ago, former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Rick Rypien was found dead in his Alberta home, just a few months after he had signed a contract with the Winnipeg Jets. While he could legitimately play hockey - unlike many of the guys who played similar roles around the league - there's no doubt that he was still known for his toughness, and what he was capable of doing when the mitts were dropped. While he only suited up for the Canucks in 136 games over the span of his career, the imprint that he left on the team and their fans is undeniable.
By all accounts he continued to be a great teammate, and friend, even amidst all of the personal turmoil he was fighting through. It was for that reason that there was such an emotional outpour from people who knew him, sharing their fondest stories from over the years. Then there were the fans, who could relate due to their own personal struggles, who were inspired to share their own stories with the world.
While it's unquestionably tragic that such a young man with so much to live for took his own life, it wasn't all for naught. His story, and that of someone like Derek Boogard, has forced the issue in shifting the discussion and awareness of mental illness from something that was long considered taboo to something that we're all now cognisant of.
In the past two years there have been many, many beautiful words written on both the subject of mental illness, and Rick Rypien himself. I don't have much else to add that hasn't already been said. So instead, I've decided that on this day, I'd simply pass along some of my personal favourite articles that have been written for those that either haven't gotten to read them yet, or would like to give them another look. After all, this is a day of remembering for most.
Read on for more.
August 14 2013 10:21AM
Image via Matthew Henderson
When the Vancouver Canucks selected Alexandre Mallet 57th overall in the 2012 NHL entry draft, nearly everyone simultaneously raised their eyebrows in a show of surprise. After all, this was a player that had been passed over entirely by all 30 teams (including the Canucks) in the previous two drafts.
It wasn't necessarily an indictment against Mallet - who had just finished off a rather impressive season for the Rimouski Oceanic - but moreso a shared feeling that Mike Gillis and company had needlessly reached for a player that would've surely been available later on in the draft.
At the time, I somewhat half-heartedly defended the decision; if they truly valued him as a prospect, and believed that he was legit, then I had no real issue with them ensuring that he became a member of the organization. Even if it meant reaching. Unfortunately, his play this past season did little to support the idea that he's actually "legit".
Read on past the jump for more on Mallet, his disappointing campaign, and what's next.
August 13 2013 02:16PM
I made a similar sour puss face when I heard the news; (Image via Tumblr)
Yesterday, news broke that Chris Tanev was at a standstill in his contract negotiations with the Canucks, and that he was receiving interest from teams in both the KHL and Swiss Elite League. Today, Jim Jamieson of The Province reported that the team has been "kicking the tires on huge free agent defenseman Douglas Murray".
Read on for more about why Douglas Murray is not the solution.
August 12 2013 09:44AM
Image via Matthew Henderson
Before you can even start jotting names down when putting together your rankings for a project like this, you have to ask yourself what you personally value the most in a prospect. There's a big 'safety/reliability vs. potential/upside' internal debate that needs to be had.
I tend to look for physical tools and a ceiling that is perceived to be high more than anything else. Especially this deep down the depth chart. You'll always be able to get your hands on "just another guy", but even the slight chance of hitting a home run with someone that turns out to be a star is something worth rolling the dice on. Obviously, at some point, a guy projects so safely as a useful role player that you can overlook the potential lack of upside he may have. And vice versa.
With that being said, it's at this point in our Top 20 that we've finally reached a turning point of sorts; we'll now finally begin to discuss prospects who may actually have a legitimate shot of helping out at the NHL level (to varying degress, of course). While most of the upcoming handful of guys aren't world-beaters by any means, I think we're seeing a noticeable spike in talent as we jump from No's 20-16 to our 15th ranked prospect, Patrick McNally. Yet still, a guy like McNally certainly isn't presented to you without his fair share of warts.
Read on for more about the interesting dilemma McNally presents as a prospect.
August 08 2013 09:58AM
Image via Matthew Henderson
I'm well aware of the fact that, up until now, our series has been a tad bit underwhelming. But hey, we can only work with what we've been given. We currently find ourselves wading through the back-end of a team's system that I'd somewhat generously describe as hovering around "average".
That's not to say that the guys we've covered - and will continue to cover over the next few days - lack importance, because that's not the case. Having organizational depth is meaningful, and that's exactly what guys like Alex Friesen, Peter Andersson, Cole Cassels, and today's prospect, Yann Sauvé, are. Depth prospects. But prospects nonetheless.
Read on for more on the team's 17th ranked prospect.