Jake Virtanen Is Good. So Don't Draft Him

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June 18 2014 02:26PM


"It's not you, Jake. It's me."

When we're talking about player evaluations, it often seems like we get caught up in the whole black-or-white, he's-either-good-or-bad-there-is-no-alternative train of thought. While it's tempting to fall into this, the fact of the matter is that there's a hell of a lot of grey area when it comes to ranking players because no one really understands exactly how hockey works yet (similarly, no one really understands how gravity works either but that doesn't stop physicists from creating very accurate and detailed models based on what the best available approximations and theories tell us. This is a long-winded way of saying that Corsi, Fenwick and possession theory are our best available approximations of understanding hockey and yes we totally can accurately analyze hockey with numbers, you guys. But, I digress).

Similarly, there's a ton of grey area when ranking prospects, and perhaps the most contentious ranking we at Canucks Army have had is that of Jake Virtanen. Virtanen has a lot of good things going for him - he led all first-time draft eligible players in even strength goals, possesses a great shot relative to other CHLers, and is by all accounts one of the most "toolsy" players in the draft. In other words, he's a good NHL prospect.

Vancouver, however, would be smart to avoid Virtanen at 6th overall. Read past the jump to find out why.

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Who Should Vancouver Draft? Spoiler: It's Sam Reinhart

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June 10 2014 10:38AM


For a lot of Canucks fans, this is their first rodeo going in to the NHL entry draft with a high 1st round pick, and certainly the first time this has happened in the Twitter era. We're all a little excited. Unsure at what to make of this whole mess, but excited. What makes it all the more exciting is that a local kid - Vancouver's own Sam Reinhart - is projected to be one of the top prospects of this year's draft class, and according to Ben Kuzma, Jim Benning may be willing to move the 6th overall pick along with Bo Horvat to Florida for the 1st overall selection and the chance to draft him.

But hey, a rumour is just that: a rumour. This probably isn't going to happen (especially if you believe what Benning said to Mark Spector recently). As professional fans of an awful team, the guys at The Leafs Nation have gone through this "trade up for 1st overall!" hysteria before; nearly every year in fact. Unsurprisingly, nothing really ever comes of this talk, and we all get excited for nothing.

But what if...

What if Jim Benning really is out to make a big splash and land Reinhart? What if Vancouver is willing to part with their two highest draft picks since 1999 to make it happen? What if Florida goes for it? Is Sam Reinhart really that good? Is parting with Horvat and another top-10 draft pick really worth it? Should Vancouver do this deal if it's presented? Read past the jump to find out.

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Ron Delorme and the Canucks v. the 29 other scouting departments

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May 27 2014 11:47AM


Nathan Smith played just 4 career games with Vancouver after being drafted 23rd overall in 2000.

By now, you've all read my last article wherein Sham Sharron outdrafts the actual Vancouver Canucks in a neat little thought exercise meant to illustrate just how poor the Canucks' amateur scouting has been since 2000. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can read it here. You can also read real-life Cam Charron's follow-up that addresses why an exercise like this may yield the surprising results it does here.

The point of that article wasn't to say "this is how Vancouver SHOULD have drafted", which some apparently took it as. It was instead meant to point out that if such a(n admittedly) faulty method - which ignored half of the world's hockey talent - can produce better results than what Vancouver was actually doing, there is a massive problem in the Canucks' amateur scouting that must be addressed immediately.

What the last article didn't do though was put into perspective how woeful Vancouver and their scouting department has been at finding any NHL talent through the draft relative to the rest of the NHL. That is what we'll do here. Read past the jump to be filled with even more sadness and regret.

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We think the Vancouver Canucks may have a scouting problem(!!!!)

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May 20 2014 01:07PM


I was recently having a Twitter discussion with Canucks Army contributor Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) and regular reader Ryan (@Verviticus), in which we were essentially arguing which Canucks entry draft in the Ron Delorme Era was the worst (it's probably 2007, although 2002, 2000, and 2009 are all pretty miserable too).

We came to the conclusion that, man, Vancouver's drafting really has been inexcusably awful for over a decade now. Sure, there have been a handful of home runs with guys like Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, and Ryan Kesler, but nearly every Canucks fan can name The One That Got Away or That Guy They #ShouldOf Drafted. Still, every team in the NHL passed up Shea Weber or Patrice Bergeron or Milan Lucic, so is Ron Delorme's record as head of Canucks amateur scouting really that much worse than everyone else?

To find out, I decided to design an extremely basic you-don't-have-to-even-think method of drafting and compared it to Vancouver's draft record under Delorme. I've put a summer intern with nothing but a book of CHL stats and no access to any non-Canadian junior league up against an entire team of world-travelling, game-watching professional amateur scouts. If the Canucks' brass can't clear this woefully low hurdle, then holy hell they are awful.

Spoiler: it's even worse than you think.

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End Of Year WHL QualComp Estimates

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May 14 2014 01:08PM


Yesterday, we shared our OHL Quality of Competition and Quality of Teammates estimates for the 2013-2014 season and found that it Canucks prospects tended to face above average competition for their respective teams. Today, we'll have a look at QoC and QoT estimates for the WHL. Read past the jump for those.

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