Canucks Army Player Previews: Nick Bonino

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October 01 2014 04:25PM

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When murmurs of a possible Ryan Kesler trade first surfaced on the internet, Canucks fans were understandably somewhat pensive. After all, here was a two-time 70-point scorer who had eclipsed 40 goals not too long ago, won a Selke trophy, and was a special teams monster, and Vancouver was going to trade him. Those guys just don't come around all that often, so even though Ryan Kesler was no longer RYAN KESLER, it still seemed imperative that Vancouver got an A-grade prospect in return.

Instead, Kesler used his NTC to force a trade to Anaheim, where Jim Benning was unable to acquire any particularly young assets aside from the 24th overall pick, spent on a very-good-but-not-great prospect in Jared McCann. What Benning was instead able to acquire was a cheap, cost-controlled 26-year old centre who scored 22 goals last season, and would have finished 2nd on the Canucks in both goals and points in Nick Bonino. Those guys also just don't come around all that often, so if that's what Nick Bonino is going to be, Vancouver has themselves a valuable asset.

But that's the big question here: what exactly is Nick Bonino?

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Canucks Army Player Previews: Kevin Bieksa

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October 01 2014 12:59PM

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With the Vancouver Canucks 2014-2015 regular season set to begin in just one week, you may have noticed that CanucksArmy has been kind of light on season preview-type content. As Dimitri promised back in the summer, we did have plans for an extensive pre-season series, but some recent changes to our staff put those plans on hold. Well, the show must go on, and it must go on in bigger and better ways than it did last year, so not having a season preview was out of the question.

Starting today, we'll be running a handful of individual player previews each day until the start of the regular season, focusing mainly on all the highs and lows (and oh, there were lows) of the ill-fated 2013-2014 campaign from hell, and what we can expect from each player this coming season. First on schedule is one of the anchors of Vancouver's blueline: Kevin Bieksa.

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Prospect Profile: #1 Bo Horvat

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September 10 2014 12:01PM

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Well, here we are. After a month of counting down the Vancouver Canucks' top-20 prospects, we've finally arrived at our consensus choice for the top prospect in Vancouver's system. We've covered every type of player from towering European defenders to late developing scorers to history-making college kids to dynamic and exciting Western League scorers. The Canucks' pipeline of quality young talent is as full as it's been in years, and at the head of the class of the future is none other than Bo Horvat.

We've written extensively about Bo Horvat on this platform before, and for good reason: at the time of his selection, he was Vancouver's highest pick in the entry draft since the team selected Daniel and Henrik Sedin back-to-back in 2000, and unlike drafting Jake Virtanen, they had to give up arguably the best goaltender in the game today to get him. With Ryan Kesler now gone and returned in the form of Nick Bonino and Jared McCann (and the funeral pyre that is Luca Sbisa) leaving a gaping void at centre behind an aging Henrik Sedin, the pressure isn't just on Horvat to produce, but to produce as soon as possible on a team that hopes to compete in an increasingly more vicious and unforgiving Western conference.

So, yeah. No pressure, kid.

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Prospect Profile: #8 Ben Hutton

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August 28 2014 11:43AM

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As we move closer and closer to the top-5 prospects in the Vancouver Canucks' system, we start moving out of "we hope this guy can make the NHL" territory, and into the range of guys where we can reasonably expect them to make some sort of legitimate NHL impact. 

Ben Hutton, our 8th ranked prospect, hasn't quite earned "surefire NHLer" status yet, but considering the season he had with the University of Maine Black Bears in the NCAA last year, he's knocking loudly on that door.

While a large majority of the guys we've profiled can say that they had a good 2013-2014 (except for one extremely notable guy we'll get to some time down the road), only Hutton can claim that his was all-time good. The big, mobile, and talented forward-turned-defender broke a University of Maine scoring record for defensemen, rippling the mesh behind notoriously stingy Hockey East goalies an astounding 15 times. But in case "Look! GOALS!" wasn't a strong enough selling point, Ben Hutton does all sorts of other things quite well, too, leaving us with many, many reasons to be hopeful that he'll find himself in the NHL sooner rather than later.

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Prospect Profile: #13 Thatcher Demko

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August 21 2014 10:58AM

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Years down the road, when we're looking back on the 2014 NHL entry draft with the benefit of hindsight, the story of Thatcher Demko may not be so much the story of Demko himself, but of goalies and their unique relationship with the draft. 

Indeed, all-star netminders have been selected in the first few picks of the draft, but for every Carey Price (5th overall, 2005), there is a Brian Finley (6th overall, 1999). For every Cory Schneider (26th overall, 2004), there are multiple Leland Irvings (26th overall, 2006). For every Jonathan Bernier (11th overall, 2006), there is a Brent Krahn (9th overall, 2000), and so on and so forth.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, I assume you're acquainted with our good friend Sham Sharron. If not, now is a fantastic time to get to know him if you've got an hour or six to kill. One of Sham's cardinal rules for drafting prospects was to avoid goalies at all costs since they're voodoo and, much like Sham's namesake, can't be trusted.

But why can't we trust goalies? Why should we avoid them? I'm glad you asked.

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