5 Vancouver Canucks prospects appear on Corey Pronman’s top under-23 player rundown
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
22 days ago
As regular readers of CanucksArmy know, the NHL offseason is typically a great time to talk about prospects, and Corey Pronman over at The Athletic has gotten in on the fun with his list of the top 168 under-23 NHL players and prospects.
Pronman has categorized the players into eight tiers, with 2023 first overall pick Connor Bedard standing alone in tier one, the “Bubble generational player and elite NHL player” tier.
Tier 2, titled “Elite NHL player” features Jack Hughes, Tim Stützle, Adam Fantilli, and Matvei Michkov. The tiers feature more players the lower you go — you get the idea. You can read Pronman’s ranking in its entirety by clicking here.
168 players are featured on the list, with the Canucks featuring five. For comparison, the Calgary Flames have four, the Edmonton Oilers have three, the Seattle Kraken have seven, and the Anaheim Ducks have eight.
The highest-ranked Canucks prospect is Tom Willander, who the Canucks selected with the 11th overall pick at this summer’s draft in Nashville. Willander will head to Boston University and will be a prospect we follow closely this season. Pronman has Willander ranked 60th overall in tier seven, the tier titled “Bubble top and middle of the lineup player”. Some other players in this tier with Willander are Dylan Guenther (45), Kirby Dach (47), and Owen Zellweger (59).
The Canucks’ remaining four players on the list all find themselves in tier eight, titled “Middle of the lineup player”. Here, we find Aatu Räty (134), Jonathan Lekkerimäki (154), Vasily Podkolzin (157), and Arturs Silovs just making the cut at 160th overall.
While the Canucks don’t boast any real high-end cream-of-the-crop type prospects, they do have many prospects in the system whose development is worth following this season. An easy example of this is Jonathan Lekkerimäki, who battled multiple hurdles last season before coming alive in the Allsvenskan playoffs. While Lekkerimäki’s 2022-23 season ultimately hurt his ranking on lists like these, he’s getting a fresh start with Örebro alongside fellow Canucks prospect Elias Pettersson (the defenceman) and has already gotten off to a good start with his new club.
Like so many others in the Canucks’ system, he’s a prospect worth watching this season, and you can follow along all season long in Faber’s new and improved weekly prospect report Blackfish. We dropped a primer of Blackfish earlier today with information on where each Canucks prospect will play this season, and you can read it by clicking here!
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