August 07 2012 12:14PM
Darren Archibald has always been a "late bloomer." While he had significant success in his Major Junior career, that career didn't even begin until he was 18. The young power-forward went undrafted several times, and was only signed by the Canucks as a 20 year old after his NHL draft eligibility had expired.
Until this past summer, undrafted free agents were a staple of Mike Gillis' tenure as Canucks General Manager. Prominent examples include Chris Tanev and Eddie Lack, as Mike Gillis aggressively pursued "late bloomers" of Archibald's ilk in an effort to jump-start a rebuild of the Canucks farm system and offset the loss of the mid-round picks that Gillis routinely moves at the trade deadline.
After several shining successes with undrafted free agents, Mike Gillis' luck ran out somewhat this past season. In 2011 he signed two more long-shots in Sebastian Erixon (who was unhappy in Chicago, was traded, and will return to Sweden for next season) and Darren Archibald, who spent nearly all of last season in the ECHL.
Generally speaking, spending a year in the ECHL is a bad sign. The league doesn't even have an NHLE number since, Alex Burrows aside, so few players ever actually make the transition. To get signed to a professional contract by an NHL club in the first place, Darren Archibald had to overcome long odds. Can he do it again and make the show? Click past the jump for more.
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.
August 05 2012 04:05PM
Larry Brooks of the New York Post is among the smartest and most reliable sources of inside information in the business. Today he wrote at length about the impact of the Rick Nash trade on the Rangers organization, and included this tantalizing nugget about the Shane Doan derby:
Doan, who understandably wants this to be the last move he makes, is believed to have narrowed his sights on Manhattan, Pittsburgh and Vancouver. It’s unclear if Rangers general manager Glen Sather is willing to go four years, but if he does, Doan is more likely than not to become a Blueshirt.
Read past the jump for more.
August 05 2012 12:39PM
It's the August long weekend! Hockey may be on the back-burner for many, but that doesn't mean that Nation Radio is hurting for things to discuss. Host Allan Mitchell talks about the Oilers with Jason Gregor, the Canucks with Thomas Drance, the NHL in general with Eric T., the AHL with Jim Byers and the WHL with Guy Flaming, with a little soccer talk with Scott Francis Winder in acknowledgement of the fact that when the thermometer is pushing 30 degrees all the talk can't be about hockey.