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 12th to 10th.
#12 – Jordan Subban
2014 Summer Ranking: 10th
Subban is the most electrifying man in junior hockey entertainment, a cerebral
assassin and still remains to be signed by the Canucks. Last season Subban saw a dip in his production from his draft year, while this year he is just over his
draft year production. Subban currently
has 18 goals and 19 assists in 46 games with Belleville and currently leads his
OHL team in scoring as a defencemen. He
seems like a great bet to make the NHL…
for his size. While many people
acknowledge the high skill level in Jordan Subban, he has a steep hill to climb
as he is currently listed as 5’9” (and we know players lie about their
height). Players in his size/points-game
cohort have a 20% chance of success but Jordan Subban does not have any past CHL
comparables. It remains to be seen if he
will make the big show, but don’t discount him yet.
issue surrounding Subban this year is that he has not been signed to a Canucks
contract. If Subban (and Miles Liberati)
are not signed by this summer then they will both re-enter the NHL Entry Draft. Jim Benning has mentioned on TSN1040 that the
team has the intention to sign him, but until that contract is signed I would
not count it as being true.
#11 – Brendan Gaunce
2014 Summer Ranking: 7th
Gaunce was drafted in the weak 2012 NHL Draft Class, and was projected as a second line centre due to his size and two-way ability. As his offensive numbers stalled in the OHL, the Canucks seem to currently envision him as a future bottom-6 forward, as Gaunce is playing typically in a 4th line role in the AHL
alongside ex-Medicine Hat Tigers wingers Wacey Hamilton and Carter Bancks, Gaunce has
scored 5 goals and 13 assists from very limited minutes over 43 games. Despite fourth line minutes, Gaunce is
ahead of Hunter Shinkaruk in scoring and right behind Alex Grenier and Nicklas
envision the Canucks wanting Gaunce to play in the AHL for another 1-2 seasons
before he is given an opportunity to join the NHL, though his performance this year in a very limited role is encouraging.
#10 – Thatcher Demko
2014 Summer Ranking: 13th
Thatcher Demko continues to post very strong numbers in the NCAA. At the time of writing Demko is ranked 19th in the NCAA of all goaltenders in save percentage. He has been climbing all season and it won’t be a surprise to see him within the top-10 the end of the year. This is a repeat of last year, as an 18 year old freshmen, when he finished the year ranked 35th with a .918.
At the 2015 World Juniors, Demko was the starter for the United States and was arguably the second best goaltender in that small sample size. He started in 4 of 5 of the United States’ games, posting a .939 save percentage, had 3 Quality Starts and 0 Really Bad Starts. He did all he could to give his country the best chance of winning.
The scouts love him as well as the numbers. The eyes on the ground prize him for his large size with his athletic abilities. He rarely has to make those big athletic saves (which is a good thing) as he is technically sound and is always in position. The biggest “issue” he needs to develop is he is inconsistent with tracking the puck.
It’s hard to see if Demko will be in the NHL. Not because he is a bad prospect, but because goalies are voodoo and it’s really hard to predict their future success. People tend to be bad at evaluating goaltenders and all it takes is a string of bad luck for Demko to be cast aside as a failed prospect (a la Markstrom).
Plus, Demko loves dancing.
Stay tuned for part four of this series, which will run on Tuesday and cover the 9th-7th prospects in Vancouver’s system!