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Photo Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Faber’s post-deadline Vancouver Canucks’ prospects rankings: #10-7

Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, it’s a great time to rank the Vancouver Canucks’ prospect pool. Ranking the players and getting into some projections will help understand some trade targets for the Canucks in the offseason and what position they need to target in trades or at the 2022 draft.

We’re not going to put an age limit or any games played restrictions on this list. You are all smart enough to figure it out your own way.

The balance that we are going to use to establish the rankings is going to be a balance of the prospect’s chances of playing 100+ games in the NHL as well as how high up the lineup they project to if they hit the high-end of their potential. That as well as their current trajectory will give us the final rankings.

So, without wasting any more time, let’s get to the prospects!

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#10: Chase Wouters, C, 22 Years Old, Abbotsford Canucks (AHL)

Let today be the day that I put my take out there that Chase Wouters is going to play NHL games for the Canucks.

The former three-year captain of the Saskatoon Blades is beginning to become a valuable asset in the AHL. It took him about 20 games to figure out what he can excel in at the AHL level. Since then, he has been an excellent defensive centreman who kills penalties. Wouters is extremely coachable and has shown improvement from week to week this year.

Wouters is one of the hardest workers on the Abbotsford Canucks and he is always there to stick up for his teammates. Wouters has dropped the gloves three times this season and is always bringing just the right amount of physicality in post-whistle scrums to not be penalized.

The best part of his game is his active stick in the defensive zone. Wouters does an excellent job of shutting down scoring chances before they can develop. He does a good job of anticipating in the defensive zone and is always working his ass off.

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His drive to be the hardest worker on every shift is another big reason why I believe in his development as a pro. The Canucks have not done a good job developing depth players from the AHL but Wouters could be one of the players to change that.

There needs to be improvements to his skating before he can get to the NHL and from my viewings at practice, Wouters is one of the players who is consistently on the ice an hour early to work with Abbotsford skating coach Mackenzie Braid. I just don’t think I’m comfortable betting against this kid. Seeing Wouters be a potential fourth-line centre in four years wouldn’t shock me at all and that is why he comes in at number 10 on my prospect ranking.

#9: Arturs Silovs, G, 21 years old, Abbotsford Canucks (AHL)/(ECHL loan)

It’s been an up and down season for Arturs Silovs. Once Spencer Martin began heating up, the ECHL had to be the landing spot for Silovs. It may have taken a while but he is now a part of the Trois Rivières Lions and posted a 31-shot shutout in his first ECHL appearance.

Before you worry too much about the Canucks’ ninth-best prospect being in the ECHL, just know that this often happens to young goalies who are behind another young goalie prospect in an organization.

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What a beautiful voice and great commentary on colour there…

Anyways, Silovs has a lot of exciting features to his game. He is long, flexible and athletic — once Ian Clark can really dig into his game, we should expect to see even bigger jumps in his game. Silovs had a few quality starts this season but struggled due to the lack of playing time and will benefit from this current loan to the ECHL.

We are expecting Spencer Martin to either be the NHL back-up next season or not be a part of this organization. That will open the door for Silovs to run in a tandem with Mikey DiPietro on what will be an exciting sharing of the crease in Abbotsford.

Silovs just turned 21 this month and has a high ceiling with his build and athleticism. We’ve seen him make some amazing saves and simply look the part of a pro goalie. He takes up a lot of the net when shooters approach him and with some work alongside the best goaltending coach in the world, we may see this diamond in the rough shine in the near future.

No matter the case, the tandem out in Abbotsford next year should be a lot of fun and Silovs’ goal should be to surpass the next prospect on our list.

#8: Mikey DiPietro, G, 22 years old, Abbotsford Canucks (AHL)

Mikey DiPietro isn’t going to start 50 games this season like we heard he might in the offseason. That was a lofty number thrown out but a multitude of different factors has kept Mikey on pace for somewhere between 28-33 starts.

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It’s true that he has not been the traditional number one starter this season in Abbotsford but he does lead the team with 23 games played.

DiPietro was all the talk through rookie camp. He looked like a much more mechanically sound goaltender. The problem seemed to be once he got into game action. After only seeing four games last year, there’s reason to believe that the 2020-21 season will be a large bump in his development. He got the opportunity to work with Ian Clark but the lack of game action hurt him at the beginning of the year.

DiPietro has had a Jekyll and Hyde season. His numbers from October through January were not good, and there was some worry throughout the fanbase about the 2020-21 season being a lost year of development. After watching him over these past two months and seeing a different goalie, I had to do some number crunching.

DiPietro has been a completely different goalie over the past two months. He was always an athletic goalie who made highlight-reel saves but he was allowing weak goals over the first four months of the season. In the early stages of the year, shots were simply going through DiPietro. He cleaned something up over the last two months and has looked much better.

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It is reflected in his save percentage as well.

DiPietro still has the chance to be Demko’s back-up down the road and if you’re placing bets, he is the frontrunner to back up Demko in a few years. He will battle with Silovs next season in Abbotsford and the hope is that said battle will bring out the best in each of the Canucks’ goalie prospects.

It’s going to take some cleaning up but DiPietro still has NHL potential and is only 22 years old. He has time to develop and we will have to wait and see what Spencer Martin looks like as an NHL backup. There may still be a world where DiPietro ends up as Demko’s NHL partner as soon as next season if Martin can’t handle the NHL as much as this year gave us the indication that he could.

#7: Lucas Forsell, RW, 18 years old, Färjestad BK (SHL)

Everything that Lucas Forsell has done as an 18-year-old is very exciting. He had a scoring streak in the SHL, learned a lot about leadership in his time with the J20 team, and is now locked in for two more seasons of SHL hockey with Färjestad.

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His play in the SHL as an 18-year-old has been the most impressive part of his 2021-22 season. If Forsell was born 10 days later, he would have been eligible for this coming summer’s draft. His showing in the SHL would have been enough to secure him as a top 100 prospect in the 2022 draft.

Instead of wondering what could have been, the Canucks snagged Forsell with their seventh-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. One year later, that seventh-round selection is looking like the early winner of the Canucks’ 2021 draft.

You can expect Forsell to be a part of Sweden’s world junior team in December and may sneak his way onto the summer’s version of the world juniors.

Forsell has plenty of skill but the part of his game that we like most is his aggressiveness. He is always chasing pucks down in the defensive zone and does a great job developing momentum into and through the neutral zone. His passing is likely the best skill that he possesses but lately, he has shown a real scoring touch that was there last year.

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Adding world juniors to his resume will be another feather in his cap as he looks to build on his rookie SHL season with a pair of good development years with Färjestad. There is no rush to get Forsell over to North America. Instead, there is somewhat of a timeline for his transition to North America.

One of Forsell’s goals for this season was to earn an SHL contract and he did that earlier this year when he signed a two-year extension with Färjestad. Those two years will be big for Forsell to work his way into Färjestad’s top-six and get work on the power play. By the time his contract is up, he will be 20 years old and eager to make the jump to Abbotsford or Vancouver.

We would love to see his game continue to develop and be an addition to the Abbotsford Canucks at the end of the 2024-25 season or be a fresh face competing for a spot in the fall of 2025 at training camp.

This wraps up part one of my three-part post-deadline prospect rankings.

We will be back soon with who came in at sixth, fifth and fourth place.

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10. Chase Wouters
9. Arturs Silovs
8. Mikey DiPietro
7. Lucas Forsell