May 25 2016 08:00AM
Will Bitten has seen some stuff, man. Though immensely talented and beaming with promise, the 2017 draft prospect just survived most bizarre seasons a franchise has ever endured in the rich history of the Canadian Hockey League.
The Flint Firebirds were a trainwreck last season. The team's owner fired their coach after he refused to play his son often enough. The team walked out on ownership. Ownership was then forced to re-hire said coach by the league, before inevitably firing him before the end of the season. The league then enforced suspensions, fines and other punitive measures as a result. Did I mention this was their inaugural season, too?
Throughout all this, Bitten remained defiantly productive and showcased high-end talent and poise as the rock that kept the Firebirds ship from washing ashore entirely. As Jeff Marek so aptly described the situation for Bitten on an episode of his junior hockey podcast, "he was everything for that hockey team". That's high praise for a 17-year-old. Bitten wasn't underserving of the distinction though and we'll explain why as we introduce him as the 28th ranked prospect in our profile series.
May 24 2016 03:00PM
Expectations were high for Linden Vey when the Canucks dealt a second-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings to acquire him in the summer of 2014. There were ups and downs during his first full NHL season, but fans hoped that with a year of full-time NHL experience and a full summer of training under his belt, he would be able to build on a 10-goal, 24-point campaign.
Unfortunately those hopes were dashed when he was a surprise cut on the last day of training camp, losing his spot to rookie Jared McCann.
May 24 2016 11:00AM
The Linden Vey experiment is nearing the conclusion of its second year and possibly its stay in Vancouver period.
Though the Canucks had high hopes for the project centre when they acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings for a second-round selection in advance of the 2014 NHL Draft, they've failed to secure their money's worth to date.
To the Canucks credit, it was a sound decision that carried a sizeable probabilistic advantage in their favour of securing a bona fide NHL player. And to Vey's, it shouldn't be forgotten that he's dealing with an unimaginable situation involving his family, which reads too close to the script of Fargo for comfort. Now the Canucks have a second opportunity to qualify Vey and have to decide whether it's worth the trouble.
May 24 2016 08:00AM
Tyler Benson entered the season as someone who could hear his name called in the Top 15 of the 2016 NHL Entry draft, but injuries derailed his season before it even began.
Now the former first overall WHL bantam pick finds himself falling in draft rankings simply because there are too many questions marks for a player that had very few to start the year. Our consensus rankings have him holding onto one of the final first-round spots because we think there is enough talent for a team to take the risk.
Benson checks in as the 29th ranked prospect in our consensus rankings.
May 23 2016 03:00PM
We are halfway through our draft rankings!
In an effort to make all the profiles easy to access and in one place, we have created this post to include all of the players ranked from 60 to 31.
We hope you have enjoyed the profiles so far. They will only get better from here as we approach the top of what should be a fun draft class.