The Kalamazoo Wings, the new draft lottery system and other relevant happenings

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One of the these two is excited to start working for the Canucks.

We’ve been fairly preoccupied on this platform these days with the annual prospect profile series we’ve been running, and for those of you that have been patiently sticking with us since the beginning, the payoff is coming in short order. 

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But in the meantime, there have been a few worthwhile happenings in the hockey world over the past couple of days which are at least tangentially related to the Canucks. This makes them worthy of at least a brief discussion for our purposes. 

If you’ll indulge me, some words on a renewed deal with the Kalamazoo Wings, an adjusted draft lottery system, Jordan Subban’s flashy display of skill, and the team’s shiny new toy in the form of a video coach just past the jump.

Renewed Deal with ECHL Affiliate 

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Aside from having a fantastic name, the other purpose of the Kalamazoo Wings over the past two seasons has been to serve as the ECHL affiliate for the Vancouver Canucks. That’s a partnership that’ll continue, after the two sides came to terms on an extension on Wednesday. 

In the press release, the following comment from Trevor Linden stuck out from the rest of the otherwise generic housekeeping: “Kalamazoo is an organization that shares our level of commitment for success and we will continue to work together to provide our prospects with opportunities to further develop on and off the ice.

It’s worth mentioning that the K-Wings also have a working relationship with the Columbus Blue Jackets (and their AHL affiliate in Springfield), and the Chicago Wolves (who remain affiliated with the Blues, after that one woefully unceremonious escapade with the Canucks in ’12-’13).

Ultimately though, the significance of the K-Wings in the grand scheme of things has been significantly lowered now that the Canucks have set up their main breeding ground in Utica, establishing what seems like a conducive environment for developing their younger players. There shouldn’t be a need to send prospects in bunches down to the ECHL as they did during that aforementioned ’12-’13 season, when the likes of Archibald, Grenier, Mallet, Polasek and Friesen were all relegated to an inferior league and competition because of the unfortunate AHL circumstances.

New Draft Lottery System

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While the lottery odds have been adjusted to “more appropriately reflect the current state of competitive balance in the League” and will be implemented for the upcoming Connor McDavid Sweepstakes, the big change will come in 2016. It’ll be then, where draws will be done to determine who gets each of the 3 picks, with the important distinction being finishing last will no longer guarantee you a top-2 selection. 

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While last season was disastrous, it seems unimaginable that they’ll ever truly bottom out to the level of some of the league’s perpetual losers that this discussion mostly pertains to. Still, even the most marginal of increases in the odds of the hockey gods smiling upon the Canucks franchise can’t really be viewed as anything but a positive thing.

Though truth be told – at least preliminarily, I’d like to ideally give it more thought over the next handful of weeks – I have the Canucks making the playoffs as the last wild card entrant next season, which would make all of this a moot point anyways.

More on all of the new system and the 2015 draft class with ESPN’s Corey Pronman on this week’s podcast

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  • Jordan Subban is an awfully talented player, and he put some of it on display during this week’s BioSteel Camp when he finished off the trick shot below (on his own brother, no less). I imagine we’ll be talking a lot more about Subban on this platform, say, as soon as early next week:

  • There was a neat little profile on Ben Cooper on the team’s site recently, in which the new video coach for the Canucks enlightens us on what his job entails and what sorts of things he’ll be doing this season. Near the end of the video, he refers to himself as “more or less an analytical coach“. He didn’t specifically divulge this, but I’d imagine that includes a whole lot of entries, exits, and neutral zone dissection. We haven’t really written about this hiring on this platform since it happened earlier in the summer, but Cooper’s resume is impressive, and by all accounts he’ll be a useful asset for the Canucks. This is a rather interesting interview from last year in which he does a deep dive on video technology.
  • Finally, this was a rather interesting news blast by our very own Thomas Drance, in which he looks into discussions Markus Naslund has had with Trevor Linden about a potential management gig. It doesn’t sound like anything will be happening in that capacity (if it ever actually does) any time soon, but given all of the ties and history there I get the feeling this isn’t the last time we’ll be having this discussion..