August 14 2014 10:46PM
After weeks of ciphering, I have figured out the Pacific Division for 2014-15. Now, if you click-through it will ruin the surprise of the actual season, so consider this a spoiler alert on winter. Up next: where do they finish?
August 14 2014 11:39AM
When we go back and analyze previous NHL drafts, certain patterns and truisms emerge. For instance, the guys who become NHLers are the guys who score a lot of points, everyone is terrible at scouting goalies, guys who are in their draft+1 and draft+2 seasons don't have a lot of upside, defensive ability tends to be overvalued, and so on and so forth.
With this stuff in mind, there are three cardinal sins that a given NHL team should not do at the draft table:
- Don't draft a goalie in the first 3 rounds.
- Don't draft an over age player in the first 3 rounds.
- Don't draft a low-scoring defensive defenseman in the first 3 rounds.
A guy who fills just one of these criteria is a long shot to play in the league - CSS' top-3 rated goalies going into the draft have an ~80% bust rate between 2001 and 2010, and D drafted in rounds 1-3 that can't score at least 0.6 pts/GP at some point in their CHL careers miss the NHL nearly 90% of the time - so when a guy fulfills two of those criteria, you can, in most cases, just write that draft pick off as a wasted asset.
Fortunately for the Canucks, Nikita Tryamkin isn't your typical prospect.
August 14 2014 10:43AM
Unfortunately, the nature of professional sports is that there tends to be an inverse relationship between the success of the NHL club and the relevance of (/stock put into) its farm system, as we've seen up close and personal lately.
This is my 3rd year participating in the annual Canucks Army Top 20 Prospect Profile series, and suffice it to say, it's shaping up to be easily the most uplifting of the bunch. We're still a few weeks away from actually reaping the rewards of that though, seeing as we've just started counting down from 20 this week.
In lieu of that, ESPN's (but most importantly friend of the blog, as he'd be the first to tell you) Corey Pronman released his Top 100 list, which you can read here. If you don't have an Insider account you should look into it because the work himself, Frank Provenzano, and Craig Custance do there is top notch. With that being said, I've gone ahead and spliced some of the key takeaways for our purposes together.
Four recent draft picks of the Canucks made the cut, with another being listed as an honourable mention. This was enough to land the pipeline as a whole a top-10 spot in the organizational rankings.
August 13 2014 11:15AM
Size. Smooth skating. Slick shooter.
Alll things you love to hear about a prospect, and all things that have been used to describe Evan "Public" McEneny's game. So it goes without saying that the former undrafted free agent signing by the Mike Gillis regime - which was known to have a knack for extracting value via that avenue, making up for the abysmal draft record - has quite a substantial amount of upside.
Of course, we've ranked him as the 18th best prospect in the team's system, and there's valid reasons for that, as well.
August 12 2014 10:30AM
I'll let commenter JDM set us up:
I was just thinking, "these always start off in very sober fashion and are basically a downer for the first couple of entries". Which they are; I mean, it's basically a litany of reasons why prospect X is unlikely to ever be any good.
However, it then occurred to me that this is probably going to be the least depressing one of these lists ever compiled.
He is, for the most part, right. Vancouver's system is significantly deeper this season than it has been in previous years, but the unfortunate truth with top-20 prospect rankings like these is that a good number of the guys we rank and talk about likely won't play in the NHL for one reason or another. Some will get injured, some won't catch the breaks they need, and some just won't be good enough. For guys ranked around 10th or below, you're realistically looking at an outside shot of playing an NHL game at best.
So when Michael Zalewski is your 19th-best prospect and has already played in the NHL (and acquitted himself rather admirably I might add, even if it were just the 2 games we saw him in), that says good things about your system.