Here at Canucks Army, we love three things more than anything in the
world: prospects, prospect rankings, and whining about prospect
rankings. Every summer we vote on and rank the top-20 Canucks prospects to
take stock of what’s in the system, and every summer we hear vocal
complaints from our readers they disagree with our rankings.
So this year, in our mid-term ranking, we gave you the chance to vote on prospects and
have a say on these players. Since our summer rankings, we’ve
simplified the definition of “prospect” to any player in the Vancouver
Canucks’ system that is eligible for the Calder Trophy if they were to
play in the NHL this year. This means that players like Linden Vey and
Joacim Eriksson who were not rated over the summer will be covered in
Without further adieu, here are the Canucks prospects that were rated 16th to 13th.
#16 – Joacim Eriksson
Previous Ranking: Not Rated
Joacim Eriksson has be relegated to the back up in Utica this year, sharing the net with top goalie Jacob Markstom, but he has received a large amount of playing time due to Markstrom’s broken hand earlier this year.
Eriksson has played in 24 games this year allowing 57 goals against which translates to a .916 save percentage (ranked 26th), 2.39 goals against average and a record of 13-6-4. In terms of his fancystats Markstrom is above league average by 0.03 which translates to a save-percentage z-score of 0.06. His Goals-Saved Above Average is 1.57 (ranked 38th). He has 17 Quality Starts (65%), 4 Really Bad Starts and 2 Bail Outs.
Eriksson did not have the adjustment period this season as he did last season. So far he is showing to be a slightly above average AHL goalie but it remains to be seen if he will be able to be an NHLer. He is young and has time but there also appears to be a goaltender log jam above him.
#15 – Andrey Pedan
Previous Ranking: Not Rated, not in the system
Not too much was known about Andrey Pedan before this season as he came into the Canucks system this season in exchange for Alex Mallet and a 3rd round pick in 2016. He is often playing in the Comets top 4 and is known for being a big player (listed at 6’5″). Pedan does not score a lot, currently he has 1 goal and 5 assists through 23 games with the Comets and he is averaging just over 1 shot a game.
His most notable moment this season came when he one punch KO-d Jarred Tinordi of the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens).
You can read more about Pedan from the New York Islanders’ blog “Lighthouse Hockey” as they reviewed him as their 18th best Under-25 player in the system. Defencemen are known to develop later than forwards so we can afford to wait another year or two to make a judgement on Pedan and his likelihood of NHL success. Right now, given his success in the CHL and his toughness but relative inability to break into an AHL team full-time before this season, there are arguments to be made both ways.
#14 – Alexandre Grenier
Previous Ranking: 11th
Alex Grenier had a great season in 2013-2014 with the Utica Comets as one of the few prospects who was able to step in and help the team. This year he seems to have fallen back a bit but it appears to be more of an issue of less ice time than having regressed.
In 34 AHL games this season, playing in the middle 6, Grenier has 9 goals, 8 assists and 75 shots on net. He is 2nd in Canucks prospects in scoring in the AHL and 6th on the team overall. Grenier is tied exactly in goals and assists with the younger Nicklas Jensen.
Alex Grenier is an older prospect as he is in his 23 year old season and will be 24 next year. If he is not ready for NHL action next season it’s unlikely he will have much of an NHL career. Look for him try to earn an NHL position next season in the Canucks bottom 6 which he will have to contend with Nicklas Jensen and Jake Virtanen for.
Grenier could potentially be the one older draft pick that Gillis made that could pan out.
#13 – Ben Hutton
Previous Ranking: 8th
Ben Hutton has fallen in production this year and it appears to be the result of two issues. The first is that Maine is near the bottom of their conference, while last year they were a middling team. The second is that Ben Hutton’s shooting percentage has dropped to 6.3%
In 28 games this year Hutton has 5 goals and 9 assists while he is still shooting at an elite rate of 2.82 shots/game, even more impressive considering he is a defencemen.
The jury is still out on if he will become an NHLer but there is plenty to be excited about on this player. His defensive abilities have been questioned by scouts but he is good enough to be nominated for the Hobey Baker award two years in a row. Hutton is a member of the 2012 draft class and part of GIllis ideal to draft NCAA players later in the draft to give them time to develop.
Stay tuned for part three of this series, which will run on Sunday and cover the 12th-10th prospects in Vancouver’s system!