How Deep Down the Depth Chart does John Tortorella Go?

Blake Murphy
August 12 2013 11:03AM

Image via Sporting News

New Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella has a reputation for coaching a physical style, specifically one that involves a lot of shot blocking. During the team's summer summit a few weeks ago, he let his thoughts on the matter be known: 

"We talk about shot blocking a lot. I think it's part of good defense, and trying to get the puck back. We saw it happen in New York - I think the whole team takes on the mindset of trying to be a harder team to play against. That's the proper way to play."

One would think if that were the case, Tortorella’s teams would often go deeper on the depth chart than an average team. After all, shot blocking can take a physical toll, as can playing a more physical brand of hockey. A large number of players used could also indicate a coach with a short leash and little patience for mistakes.

Read on for more about Tortorella's usage of depth players.

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Prospect Profile: #15 Patrick McNally

Dimitri Filipovic
August 12 2013 09:44AM

Image via Matthew Henderson

Before you can even start jotting names down when putting together your rankings for a project like this, you have to ask yourself what you personally value the most in a prospect. There's a big 'safety/reliability vs. potential/upside' internal debate that needs to be had.

I tend to look for physical tools and a ceiling that is perceived to be high more than anything else. Especially this deep down the depth chart. You'll always be able to get your hands on "just another guy", but even the slight chance of hitting a home run with someone that turns out to be a star is something worth rolling the dice on. Obviously, at some point, a guy projects so safely as a useful role player that you can overlook the potential lack of upside he may have. And vice versa.

With that being said, it's at this point in our Top 20 that we've finally reached a turning point of sorts; we'll now finally begin to discuss prospects who may actually have a legitimate shot of helping out at the NHL level (to varying degress, of course). While most of the upcoming handful of guys aren't world-beaters by any means, I think we're seeing a noticeable spike in talent as we jump from No's 20-16 to our 15th ranked prospect, Patrick McNally. Yet still, a guy like McNally certainly isn't presented to you without his fair share of warts.

Read on for more about the interesting dilemma McNally presents as a prospect.

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Story Time

Jason Strudwick
August 11 2013 12:51PM

All this Gretzky trade talk the last week stirred up the old story machine in my head. Looking at some of the other players involved in the trade I ran across Marty McSorley's name.

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Prospect Profile: #16 Joe Cannata

Jeff Angus
August 09 2013 11:16AM

Image via Matthew Henderson

Joe Cannata checked in at number 10 on these rankings last year. Was his first year as a professional disappointing enough to bump him down six spots on this list? Perhaps it was, but as we have seen over the last year-and-a-half, goaltenders simply aren’t as valued as they once were across the NHL.

And this goaltender valuation includes prospects. Cannata does have NHL upside and a solid pedigree, considering the fact that he was a sixth round draft pick back in 2009. 

But will he ever play any meaningful games for the Canucks? And if so… when, exactly?

Let’s take a closer look at the former Merrimack College standout.

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Prospect Profile: #17 Yann Sauvé

Dimitri Filipovic
August 08 2013 09:58AM

Image via Matthew Henderson

I'm well aware of the fact that, up until now, our series has been a tad bit underwhelming. But hey, we can only work with what we've been given. We currently find ourselves wading through the back-end of a team's system that I'd somewhat generously describe as hovering around "average".

That's not to say that the guys we've covered - and will continue to cover over the next few days - lack importance, because that's not the case. Having organizational depth is meaningful, and that's exactly what guys like Alex Friesen, Peter Andersson, Cole Cassels, and today's prospect, Yann Sauvé, are. Depth prospects. But prospects nonetheless.

Read on for more on the team's 17th ranked prospect.

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