September 02 2013 01:11PM
Image via DaveArt [dot] com.
It's September 2nd, which means that we currently find ourselves in the 'calm before the storm' phase of the summer. Our prospect series - which seems to have done a passable job of taking your attention away from the largely uneventful August - concluded last week, and we're still a few days away from the Young Stars Classic in Penticton.
Things will ramp up in both intensity and entertainment value soon enough, but until then, something like "Mask design of potential backup goaltender Joacim Eriksson revealed!" is a headline that has some legs around these parts. I'm sure you understand.
August 30 2013 10:10AM
Image via Matthew Henderson
Brendan Gaunce clocks in as our number one overall Canucks prospect! That probably comes as a bit of a surprise considering Frank Corrado's emergence over the past twenty-four months and Vancouver's selection of Hunter Shinkaruk and Bo Horvat at the 2013 NHL entry draft. I'd add that my personal list didn't peg Brendan Gaunce as Vancouver's top prospect (I had him ranked third).
There are some legitimate concerns about Gaunce's overall upside, but I have no trouble standing behind this consensus pick from an editorial perspective. Gaunce is a powerful hockey player, and an extraordinary defensive player with NHL size. His skating is a concern for some scouts in the industry, but I generally think he has the tools and hockey smarts to develop into a play-driving forward at the NHL level. Certainly he wins puck-battles with machine-like regularity at the major junior level.
More on the other side of the jump.
August 30 2013 08:45AM
Image via Matthew Henderson
Corrado's ascent up not only prospects lists, but the organizational depth chart as well, has been a rather remarkable one. It was only a measly two years ago that he was available all the way up until the 150th overall pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft, before the Canucks finally took him with their 5th rounder.
With hindsight being 20/20 and all, that was a gross miscalculation by all 30 teams (the Canucks included, as they could very easily be kicking themselves for taking Honzik, Grenier, LaBate, and Blomstrand before finally pulling the trigger on the Sudbury Wolves defenseman). Were we to re-draft that class today, I figure that Corrado would go somewhere in the mid-to-high teens.
Just a few months after his draft, Corey Pronman, of ESPN Insider and Hockey Prospectus fame, assessed Vancouver's system and put out a Top 10, in which Corrado's name wasn't even mentioned. Last summer, Corrado made the jump all the way up to the 3rd spot on Pronman's list, drawing some kind words from the scout along the way. As for us, we had him ranked 7th last year, before bumping him up to number 2 this time around. Even Vin Diesel thinks that his climb has been fast, and furious.
Now, he's the only player in our Top 5 that wasn't brought into the system with a 1st round pick. Read on past the jump for more on the best defenseman in the team's system.
August 29 2013 11:52AM
There's been a lot of talk about the future around these parts lately. With today being an off day for the prospect series and the top TWO prospects coming at you tomorrow, I figured the hole in the schedule today would be an appropriate time to look backwards.
I recently queried all of Hockey Reference's player season data going back to 1942, creating the most cumbersome Excel file in existence. While I have longer term plans for what to do with that data, for today I kept it simple - I tried to identify the top Canuck seasons in history when adjusted for league scoring context.
August 29 2013 11:45AM
What was a common sight last season, is no more (Image via Jeff Vinnick)
The month of September is almost upon us. That means training camp, strained groins, players in the “best shape of their lives,” and of course, hockey pool drafts! Who doesn't love a good fantasy?
It will be interesting to see how the Vigneault-for-Tortorella swap impacts the offensive production of the players on this team. Do the Sedins continue to see a close-to 70% offensive zone start rate? Do any of the depth forwards step up into the top-six? Which defensemen will play on the two power play units?
The answers to these burning questions (as well as a few more) are available after the jump.