December 05 2013 10:26AM
Welcome back to the Weekly Prospect Report. This past weekend was a big one for the Utica Comets, who went to Abbotsford and came up victorious twice (in front of a largely pro-Comets crowd). Meanwhile, the OHL and WHL prepare for the World Juniors. In the NCAA McNally, Hutton and Labate are all continuing their strong play, and with Rodin's almost at a point-per-game in the SHL, there's some good stuff to talk about.
As always, follow me @nuckprospects on Twitter for the latest in prospect news and feel free to send me feedback on anything prospect-related you wish me to cover.
Without further ado..
December 04 2013 01:53PM
Image via Matthew Henderson
Man, where does the time go? It seems like it was just a few days ago that we were patiently drudging through the preseason, eagerly awaiting the return of meaningful hockey. Remember when Hunter Shinkaruk was scoring sweet goals, and Yannick Weber was looking like a competent NHLer? That was nearly 3 months ago now, crazily enough.
We're now over 1/3 of the way (36.6%, to be exact) through the 2013-14 regular season, as the Canucks played their 30th game of the season on Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators. As you'd expect, there have been some notable peaks (see: 5-1-1 Eastern Conference road trip), and some ugly valleys (1-4-3 stretch, with just 15 goals over that span). Overall I think they've have performed roughly around the expectations I had for them, but I feel like this opening part of the season has served as somewhat of a wake-up call for those of you out there expecting the Canucks of old. Things have changed, and expectations need to be tempered.
We'll get into this in rather excruciating detail just past the jump, but it has become abundantly clear that the team we're watching these days doesn't quite have that other gear that it once did. Their margin for error has shrunk, and as a result we've seen them take some difficult losses due to mistakes they used to be able to get away with. That's not to say "they suck!" or "their window has closed!!", because I actually still think they're a pretty competitive team. There are certainly reasons for optimism and room for improvement.
I'd recommend you pour yourself a big cup of coffee, settle in, and get nice and cozy for this one.
December 04 2013 10:54AM
When the Canucks first selected Oshawa Generals forward Cole Cassels with their third pick at the 2013 NHL entry draft, the selection was a surprise to those of us who've closely observed the teams behaviour under Mike Gillis' regime at the NHL draft.
Cassels was a very young draft eligible player who had turned 18 less than two months before the draft. So he bucked the team's recent trend of drafting older, theoretically "more NHL-ready" players in the middle rounds. Cassels also isn't particularly big, where the club has made a habit of selecting mammoth wingers in the middle rounds (Alexandre Grenier, Alexandre Mallet, Joseph LaBate etc.). Moreover, Cassels - who is the son of former Canucks centre Andrew Cassels - was a third-line forward for Oshawa in his draft eligible season, and his production was pretty unremarkable in comparison with several players still on the board.
But obviously Vancouver's amateur scouts had seen something they liked in Cassels' game, and he's rewarded that confidence with his performance so far this season for the Generals. Between his stellar showing at the prospects tournament and his smooth adaption to a top-line role in Major Junior this fall, Cassels has earned himself his first NHL contract.
Read on past the jump.
December 03 2013 09:49PM
Ryan Kesler and the Canucks defenseman wearing #5 celebrate in Nashville. Wait a second..
The footage from the first 35 minutes or so of Tuesday night's game between the Predators and Canucks may as well be buried in a secret place where no one will ever find it, because my god was it ever boring. The most exciting part from that stretch came when Viktor Stalberg went in on a breakaway, missed the net, but the goal horn went off anyways. It was looking like it'd be that kind of night..
.. but then business picked up. Lineup changes happened, goals were scored, and trends were continued/busted. Read on past the jump for a recap of the 3-1 Canucks victory. As Mike Santorelli wisely said in his postgame interview with Dan Murphy, "3-1 is a lot different than 2-2." Those words have never rang truer than they do tonight.
December 03 2013 01:24PM
Carrie Underwood apparently isn't the biggest Marek Mazanec fan..
The Canucks visit the
house Joel Ward built JP Dumont's old stomping grounds Music City to take on the Nashville Predators for the first time this season, as they conclude their 4-game roadtrip. If recent history is any indication, they're due for a stinker.. but trends are there to be broken, so I wouldn't be putting too much stock into this particular one of up-and-down play.
If you haven't heard by now, they'll be without Alex Burrows (for both this game, and the next several ones as he tries to recover from a recently broken jaw). That's no excuse, though; their opponent tonight has been dealing with a litany of injuries all season long, and they'll be icing a depleted lineup once again in this one.
Wake up, Carrie, there's a game to be played!