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.
August 06 2012 03:39PM
When it comes to goaltending, the Vancouver Canucks are exceedingly deep. Even after the organization trades Roberto Luongo (as everyone assumes they'll eventually do), the Canucks will still be stacked between the pipes with the likes of Cory Schneider on the roster, and Eddie Lack and Joe Cannata waiting in the wings.
During Mike Gillis's tenure as General Manager, he's employed a particular draft strategy regarding netminders. At every draft since Mike Gillis became GM (until this most recent one in Pittsburgh), the club has selected a goaltender. While that drafting strategy has been one factor shaping the club's organizational depth in goal, there's more going on here. Consider that presumptive starter Cory Schneider is a hold-over from the Burke/Nonis era, while the organization's top-goaltending prospect (Eddie Läck) was initially acquired as an unsigned free-agent. Gillis draftee Joe Cannata has a promising future, but the likes of Morgan Clark and Jonathan Iilahti went unsigned by the club, re-entered the draft, and are no longer considered "prospects."
While the record is mixed, whether Gillis' approach to drafting goaltenders is seen as a success or a failure in the coming years may hinge on the future development of David Honzik.
Read past the jump.
August 06 2012 01:27PM
Fin pals around at Vancouver Pride
Image courtesy They Slayed the Dragon.
Progress has not come easily to the Vancouver Canucks this offseason. On the Shane Doan front, we've had little news, and minimal progress, as Shane Doan remains unsigned. There's been no progress made on the Roberto Luongo trade front either, as Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis has remained stubborn regarding his asking price for the star goaltender.
So it was a nice change of pace on Sunday in Vancouver, when the Canucks made a significant contribution to social progress in sports by actively supporting Vancouver Pride. Not only did the club send their mascot Fin, but they also sent two roster players in Jason Garrison and Manny Malhotra to march alongside Patrick Burke of You Can Play, and "the Cutting Edges" (Vancouver's gay hockey team) in the Pride parade.
Read past the jump for photos and a reaction round up of yesterday's festivities.