August 14 2012 07:42AM
The Canucks used their first pick in the 2010 NHL Draft (115th overall) on American defenseman Patrick McNally. The selection was a bit of a curious one, as McNally still had a year of prep school to play before even joining the college ranks (he had committed to the Harvard Crimson for the fall of 2011). It's accurate to say that McNally was selected as a longer term "project."
McNally’s freshman season for Harvard was a rousing success. He established himself as one of the best offensive defensemen in the country, and was a big part of a dominant Crimson power play. McNally’s defensive game is still a work-in-progress, but he is learning to make better decisions with and without the puck.
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 13 2012 09:35AM
We're in the midst of the interminable mid-August hockey lull, and news is sparse. But neither CBA uncertainty, nor a lack of material can deter Allan Mitchell! On this week's episode of Nation Radio, Allan is joined by the likes of player agent Tom Lynn, Andrey Osadchenko, Nations overlord Kent Wilson and Scott Reynolds of NHLNumbers and Copper and Blue. Allan and his guests breakdown the news of the week, gush about Nail Yakupov's play at the Subway Super Series and, of course, suss out some reasonable expectations for Jordan Eberle.
This is Nation Radio.
August 10 2012 02:23PM
In this edition we covered all things tracking with an expert panel on the subject: Neil Greenberg from the Washington Post and ESPN Insider, Geoff Detweiller of Broad Street Hockey, Eric T. of BSH and NHLnumbers and our own tracking addict Corey S. We went over Eric's article on the link between scoring chances and shot differential and what it means for scoring-chance tracking, Geoff and Eric's very promising project tracking zone entries, tracking zone exits and what the future holds for tracking/advanced stats.
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!