May 03 2016 01:00PM
Coming into this season, very few people expected Ben Hutton to crack the Canucks' roster. The 2012 fifth-round pick just finished his NCAA hockey career at Maine and was expected to be playing for the Utica Comets in the AHL. In last season's year-end prospect reviews, Hutton ranked fourteenth amongst all Canucks prospects. However, after a strong training camp the blue liner found himself on the Canucks opening day roster. Hutton quickly endeared himself to the fans and the coaching staff with his strong play.
Turning heads all year, the then 22 year-old earned the trust of Willie Desjardins and the coaching staff quickly. Come February, Hutton was leaned upon heavily. He averaged over 21 minutes per game in the month of February and saw an increase in both his power play and even strength minutes. Hutton surpassed Alex Edler's rookie season point totals, with 25 points in 75 games.
May 03 2016 11:00AM
Emerson Etem, former first round pick. Believe it. Acquired midway through the year in what was very much a "change-of-scenery" type trade for Nicklas Jensen and a sixth-round pick, Etem came in and made an immediate impact. Not a great one, not a terrible one, but uh, he played 39 games this year.
May 03 2016 08:00AM
Tomorrow we kick off our draft coverage with in depth profiles of the top 60 ranked players from the 2016 NHL draft class, but before we get that started, I figured it would be a worthwhile venture to look back at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft one year later.
The Hockey News did a similar thing last week, but it was still based on a subjective polling of scouts looking at the players. This is to say that there's likely a few players slotted way above their appropriate mark. We need a more objective measure to really drive the conversation, and I hope to provide just that with a series of stature and statistics based players with which to compare the next wave against.
May 02 2016 03:00PM
How does this season keep getting worse? It's been over for almost a month now and the hits keep on coming. The most recent, of course, being the Canucks double-loss out of the top three at the NHL Draft Lottery.
It's not like they can't find a franchise type player outside the top three. In fact, it's totally possible. Getting that player into the Canucks lineup as a bona fide NHL player, though, will take much longer. That's the part that really sucks, I guess. Oh, and the uncertainty bit. There's a lot more of that outside the top three.
Well, on the bright side there's way more discretion outside the top three. It makes the guessing part of the draft all the more relevant. You've all reflected as much in your questions for the Monday Mailbag and I'll do my best to answer them in kind on the other side of the jump.
May 02 2016 01:00PM
After clearing waivers last year and spending the majority of the 2014-15 season in Utica, Jacob Markstrom was signed to a two-year contract prior to the 2015-16 season with hopes that he would be finally able to translate his AHL success to the NHL. The Canucks were so confident in the young goaltender that they traded Eddie Lack to Carolina to open up the backup spot.
Due to an injury suffered in training camp, the Swedish netminder only made four appearances before December 1st and had a pedestrian .904 SV% in those games. But over the rest of the season, he slowly moved from the backup role to splitting the games 50/50 down the stretch. As we will see lower in the stats portion, Markstrom did suffer from inconsistency throughout the season. His numbers obviously suffered from the team's performance, and that is particularly apparent in March and April. It's hard to know exactly how much was Markstrom's own regression or the Canucks falling down the standings.