May 27 2016 08:00AM
Samuel Girard likely has the most offensive potential of any defenceman in this draft class. He's the single most productive defender in junior hockey and he's accomplished that feat as a 17-year-old. Under normal circumstances, this would be enough to launch many a defenceman into the top ten of their class regardless of position.
We're not talking about a normal defenceman, though. Girard plays such a high risk, high reward game that one scout I spoke with at the CHL Top Prospect Game called him a fourth forward. That particular line of criticism is usually exaggerated or unfounded entirely when spent on high point producing junior defenders, but in this particular case it's grounded in reality.
Under the right circumstances, Girard can iron these wrinkles in his game, though. The tools readily available in Girard's toolkit, like his skating, vision, crisp passing and general slipperiness aren't so easily developed from the ground up. Those among countless other reasons culminated in Girard ranking 26th overall in our consensus rankings.
May 26 2016 06:00PM
Today is a tough day for Canucks fans, having lost Jared McCann and a 33rd overall draft pick to get a young number-four defenceman whose statistical and physical profile can typically be found in free agency. You're well within your rights to lose your marbles.
But as rough as that was, at least you didn't just record a brand new podcast the day before the local team made headlines with a huge trade. I mean, caman.
With that said, I implore you to check out the latest iteration of the Canucks Army podcast, this time hosted by yours truly, along with Canucks Army Managing Editor, J.D. Burke.
May 26 2016 05:00PM
Long the foundation upon which the Carolina Hurricanes built their franchise, Eric Staal was finally dealt this season at the trade deadline to the New York Rangers for a bevvy of prospects and picks. The move signalled Carolina's enthusiasm to rebuild from the bottom up, but also the relative decline of the once dominant Staal.
Now, at 31-years-old, the former second overall selection is staring down free agency for the first time in his 11 season career. Though Staal's offensive production waned to pedestrian levels this season, he remains a dominant two-way force down the middle of the ice -- capable of pushing the needle in less obvious, but nearly as relevant fashions.
Staal's performance as a Ranger (a modest six points in twenty games) indicates he might not be staring down the hefty pay-day we all spent much of this season anticipating. That fact, among others, puts Staal into a rarified class of free agents, likely in need of a short-term contract with which to bet on themselves, as they attempt to adjust the market for their services accordingly.
Should the Canucks throw their chips on the table?
May 26 2016 03:22PM
The Vancouver Canucks have made a smaller splash today, signing free agent defenceman Tom Nilsson to a one year two way contract.
May 26 2016 03:00PM
Call it a win for the Vancouver Canucks -- in the short term. Acquiring hulking right-handed defenseman Eric Gudbranson from Florida offers an immediate upgrade to a Canucks blueline desperately in need of help. So as the dust settles on Wednesday night’s deal, the Canucks have bolstered their defense corps at the cost of a player -- Jared McCann -- who may not have made Willie Desjardins’ hockey club out of training camp. In that sense, player for player, the Canucks are a better team today than they were yesterday.
However, National Hockey League deals involving young players and draft picks are not done for one season nor will they be judged after just one year. That’s where things may very well swing in Florida’s favour.