This Week Straight Up: Sept 30 - Oct 6

Thomas Drance
September 30 2013 05:02PM and PlayNow Sports are proud to re-launch a partnership between our humble hockey blog and their fun, legal on-line sports book. Going forward this post will appear every Monday afternoon at So welcome to "This Week Straight Up."

Obviously we at CanucksArmy are big supporters of sports betting, in part because we buy into the Nate Silver theory that putting your money where your prediction is will help improve the aggregate accuracy of forecasting. So this is a natural fit for us. That said, make sure to gamble for fun (or for bragging rights), not to make money. From all of us at CanucksArmy and PlayNow: a gentle reminder to use your game sense!

Read past the jump for special offers to readers from PlayNow Sports, and for a preview of the first week of 2013-14 regular season NHL hockey.

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Canucks 2013-14 Season Preview: Forwards

Thomas Drance
September 30 2013 12:20PM

All images in this post courtesy wikimedia commons.

Meaningful(-ish) regular season hockey is almost here! The Canucks will open the 2013-14 NHL season on Thursday night in San Jose, so of course we're kicking off our detailed Canucks season preview. We're beginning today with a preview of Vancouver's centre group, and we'll roll through some predictable topics between now and Thursday (defense, goaltending, the new Pacific Division). 

Let's get to Vancouver's forward group on the other side of the jump.

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Prospect Profile: #1 Brendan Gaunce

Thomas Drance
August 30 2013 10:10AM

Image via Matthew Henderson

Brendan Gaunce clocks in as our number one overall Canucks prospect! That probably comes as a bit of a surprise considering Frank Corrado's emergence over the past twenty-four months and Vancouver's selection of Hunter Shinkaruk and Bo Horvat at the 2013 NHL entry draft. I'd add that my personal list didn't peg Brendan Gaunce as Vancouver's top prospect (I had him ranked third).

There are some legitimate concerns about Gaunce's overall upside, but I have no trouble standing behind this consensus pick from an editorial perspective. Gaunce is a powerful hockey player, and an extraordinary defensive player with NHL size. His skating is a concern for some scouts in the industry, but I generally think he has the tools and hockey smarts to develop into a play-driving forward at the NHL level. Certainly he wins puck-battles with machine-like regularity at the major junior level.

More on the other side of the jump.

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Prospect Profile: #3 Bo Horvat

Thomas Drance
August 28 2013 09:35AM

Image via Matthew Henderson

Bo Horvat was a surprise selection for the Canucks with the ninth overall pick at the 2013 NHL draft. He wasn't much of a reach at that point in the first round, but the circumstances surrounding his selection - what with Horvat being the return in the rather shocking Cory Schneider trade - will be remembered in by Canucks fans for a long time.

So needless to say Horvat enters the Canucks system with high expectations. He makes his debut on our Canucks prospect rankings at third overall, which many of you may think is one or two spots too low.

Read past the jump for more on the team's highest draft pick since Daniel Sedin back in '99.

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Prospect Profile: #7 Jordan Subban

Thomas Drance
August 22 2013 09:42AM

Image via Matthew Henderson

When the Canucks hit the breaks on Jordan Subban's draft day freefall by selecting the diminutive Belleville Bulls blue-liner in the fourth-round of the 2013 NHL entry draft, the general consensus in the industry was that the pick was something of a steal. That's an assessment that I and the other writers at CanucksArmy obviously share considering where Jordan Subban finds himself ranked on our top-20 Canucks prospects list.

The skinny on Subban is that he's an extraordinarily talented puck moving defenceman with a deceptive shot from the point and high-end skating ability. Subban was available in the fourth-round this past June, however, because his projected development carries a well above average degree of risk for a variety of reasons. We'll get into those reasons after the jump.

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