August 15 2012 01:06PM
Image courtesy vancitybuzz.com.
A year ago today, former pint-sized Canucks enforcer Rick Rypien, who had spent much of his adult life battling mental illness, was found dead in his Alberta home. While he wasn't an offensive star by any means, Rypien was the best pound-for-pound fighter I've ever seen in the NHL, and he wasn't a one-dimensional thug either, he could legitimately play. His skill set and on-ice personality endeared him to Canucks fans, who have felt his loss deeply over the past twelve months.
August 14 2012 10:40AM
To the disappointment of Örnsköldsvik hockey fans and presumably Modo General Manager and former Canucks captain Markus Naslund, the Sedin twins have decided that they probably won't play in the SEL next season in the event of a lockout.
Read past the jump.
August 13 2012 12:30PM
In some ways, Alex Grenier is the prototypical Mike Gillis prospect. Or, at least he's got several traits that the Canucks have trended towards favouring when selecting prospects at the draft. Grenier is a "late-bloomer" who was drafted as an overager, out of the QMJHL, and he possesses a big body.
While Grenier has a power-forward's frame (6,5, 200 pounds) he doesn't exaclty have a reputation for pugilism, rather he's usually described as a skilled player. When you consider that Grenier didn't even break into Major Junior hockey until he was 19 years old, that he ultimately became a third round NHL draft pick and a point per game player in the Q is startling.
Grenier appears at #15 on our consensus list, but I had him in my top-10. For what it's worth the prospect writers and QMJHL media types whom I asked, had a high-regard for Grenier's skill set and potential. He'll be playing in Austria with EC Salzburg this upcoming season and worth tracking closely. At the very least Grenier's future development should make for an interesting "test-case" for the Canucks' recent "late bloomer" drafting obsession.
Read on past the jump.
August 10 2012 02:22PM
Since Mike Gillis selected Yann Sauve with the club's second round pick in the 2008 NHL draft - a draft that featured one of the deepest talent pools of defenseman in recent memory - Sauve has dealt with an awful lot of instability and some excruciating bad luck. Following a concussion which, Sauve suffered when he was struck by a car during training camp in the fall of 2010, the former Saint John Sea Dog spent time in three professional leagues during the 2010-11 season (the ECHL, AHL and a three game NHL stint). That has to be difficult, and certainly it's exceedingly rare.
In 2011-12, Sauve played full-time in Chicago, was a fixture in the Wolves' top-four, and while he struggled at times he was mostly solid on a team that needed to play solid defensive hockey in order to win games. Sauve's defensive play still projects at the NHL-level, but he has continued to struggle with both his decision making and his puck-handling. Partly as a result, he's no longer seen as a guy who is likely to contribute offense from the back-end in a two-way role and that limited upside is partly why he appears at #16 on our list.
Read past the jump for more!
August 08 2012 09:43AM
Early Tuesday morning, Kevin Woodley of InGoal magazine tweeted out a link to this article from French sports media site L'Equipe.
The article in question quoted ex-Chicago Blackhawk and Rollie Melansons pupil Cristobal Huet as saying he's been in contact with the Canucks (as well as the Los Angeles Kings) regarding an NHL job this summer. If my French isn't too rusty the exact quote is "je fais partie de la liste" (pretty straight forward translation: "I'm on their list") would suggest a level of consideration beyond the two sides simply keeping in touch.
Even before Huet's comments were contradicted by his agent, it was clear that these comments needed to be taken with a whole bag of salt. After all, Huet is tooting his own horn here and it's not like he's a disinterested party.
Put another way, I'm not going to read very much into the possibility that Huet could return to the NHL until the "veteran backup whisperer" (AKA the Province's Ben Kuzma) writes that the Canucks should consider Huet as a backup. Kuzma, you may remember wrote something similar to that about Al Montoya the day before Montoya signed with the Jets (and you wonder why prospective NHL backups e-mail the Kuz lobbying for a job). But there's nothing else to write about this week, so let's look into whether Huet makes any sense as Schneider's backup next season. Spoiler alert: not really.
More after the jump.