June 20 2014 10:43AM
The news trickling out regarding the available remaining coaching vacancies, and what we consider to be the top candidates to potentially fill them, has been akin to hockey's version of a soap opera. There have been twists, there have been turns, and there has been a whole lot of noise that requires a certain level of prerequisite cynicism to tune out.
Even well before John Tortorella was officially fired by the Vancouver Canucks, it was considered common knowledge that they'd zero in on one of two particular targets to take his place and steer the ship back in the right direction, with those being John Stevens and Willie Desjardins. Because of the success both were having with their current employers, though, there was a waiting game to be played.
In the meantime some potentially interesting alternatives in Trotz, Laviolette, and Muller were all scooped up, but that was just fine, because the Canucks had "their guys". Then the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup, and quickly made sure that no one would come near their heir apparent. Shortly thereafter, the Pittsburgh Penguins - who had a top candidate of their own snatched up from under their noses - jumped in on the pursuit of Desjardins, turning what was initially a feeling of slight consternation into full-blown dread at the thought of Scott Arniel or Glen Gulutzan potentially running the show.
The reality of the matter: things are changing by the hour. The coaching carousel continues to spin, and where it'll land, nobody knows. But it sure is fun to speculate!
June 20 2014 08:30AM
"I like this draft class, y'know, the top six players I really like."
Well isn't that just remarkably convenient? The Canucks have the sixth pick, and the general manager is out there saying that there are six quality players in the draft! Almost a little too convenient for my tastes.
June 19 2014 01:21PM
The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly shopping undersized, underachieving 2009 first round draft pick Jordan Schroeder, according to the News 1130 Sports twitter account. It's not a huge surprise to hear that the organization aren't counting on a player like Schroeder going forward - he's a diminutive natural centre, who has battled a myriad of injuries already in his career, and hasn't produced like a future top-six mainstay since he left college.
That the organization is "very unlikely" to extend the soon to be 24-year-old forward a qualifying offer, which News 1130 Sports is also reporting on Wednesday, is a bit of an eyebrow raiser though. We'll wade into it after the jump.
June 19 2014 10:16AM
Coincidentally, today's prospect preview revolves around the guy who was hyped up by Rhys yesterday. I learned so much from that profile that I'm kicking myself for actually having Nikolaj Ehlers ranked so friggin' low on my own ballot. It's not that I didn't think Ehlers was a guy worthy of drafting (especially compared to a lot of bigger alternatives) but it's hard to separate Ehlers' play from that of Jonathan GD'd Drouin's. Drouin had one of the best seasons of any Québec junior hockey player since Jacques Cartier sailed down the fleuve Saint-Laurent*.
*Okay, Crosby, Lemieux and Bossy were good, I guess.
June 18 2014 02:26PM
"It's not you, Jake. It's me."
When we're talking about player evaluations, it often seems like we get caught up in the whole black-or-white, he's-either-good-or-bad-there-is-no-alternative train of thought. While it's tempting to fall into this, the fact of the matter is that there's a hell of a lot of grey area when it comes to ranking players because no one really understands exactly how hockey works yet (similarly, no one really understands how gravity works either but that doesn't stop physicists from creating very accurate and detailed models based on what the best available approximations and theories tell us. This is a long-winded way of saying that Corsi, Fenwick and possession theory are our best available approximations of understanding hockey and yes we totally can accurately analyze hockey with numbers, you guys. But, I digress).
Similarly, there's a ton of grey area when ranking prospects, and perhaps the most contentious ranking we at Canucks Army have had is that of Jake Virtanen. Virtanen has a lot of good things going for him - he led all first-time draft eligible players in even strength goals, possesses a great shot relative to other CHLers, and is by all accounts one of the most "toolsy" players in the draft. In other words, he's a good NHL prospect.
Vancouver, however, would be smart to avoid Virtanen at 6th overall. Read past the jump to find out why.