Allvin’s Canucks can walk away from this offseason with a totally revitalized set of top-ten prospects, top-to-bottom

Photo credit:© Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 year ago
We’re sure we’re not the only ones getting the feeling that the next couple of weeks could be busy ones for GM Patrik Allvin and the Vancouver Canucks, so welcome to the calm before the storm.
The new front office, led by Allvin and POHO Jim Rutherford, have pledged to transform the Canucks into far more of a long-term success story, and that the first step along the way to that would be restocking the organization’s barren prospect cupboard.
So far, so good.
We’re hours away from the 2022 Entry Draft, which itself will come a week ahead of the 2022 Free Agent Frenzy, and already Allvin and Co. have set themselves up to walk away from this summer with a totally revitalized set of prospects; revamping the “in the system” portion of the franchise from top-to-bottom.
Last September, a plucky band of writers at CanucksArmy.com set out to complete our annual official Prospect Rankings. The results were, as the kids say, decidedly “mid.”
CanucksArmy Top-Ten Prospects Ranking, September 2021
  1. Vasily Podkolzin
  2. Jack Rathbone
  3. Mikey DiPietro
  4. Danila Klimovich
  5. Will Lockwood
  6. Aidan McDonough
  7. Jett Woo
  8. Jonah Gadjovich
  9. Joni Jurmo
  10. Dmitri Zlodeyev
It was, from an objective perspective, one of the worst collections of future assets in the entire NHL. That’s a fairly embarrassing distinction for a club that had missed the playoffs in six of its previous eight seasons at that point.
Amazingly enough, by midseason, it had got a little worse.
Prospect Pundit ™ Faber did some revamping of his own in April of 2022, reordering and upgrading the list based on the season that had already mostly passed by then. Vasily Podkolzin took himself off the top of the list by graduating to the NHL full-time, and Jonah Gadjovich was lost on waivers to the San Jose Sharks, where he, too, became a full-time NHLer. Others slid down the list via poor performance, and nobody really made much effort to leapfrog them, save for Linus Karlsson, who came out of nowhere to dominate the SHL.
The resulting list looked like this:
Faber’s Top-Ten Prospects Ranking, April 2022
  1. Jack Rathbone
  2. Danila Klimovich
  3. Will Lockwood
  4. Aidan McDonough
  5. Jett Woo
  6. Linus Karlsson
  7. Lucas Forsell
  8. Mikey DiPietro
  9. Arturs Silovs
  10. Chase Wouters
Yep, somehow that’s an even worse top-ten list (with no shade, other than the usual amount, on Faber for his excellent journalism).
But that’s okay, because Allvin and Co. have already been taking some major steps to correct the problem.
Let’s start by counting the birds in hand, before we get to the bush.
Over the past couple of months, the Canucks have added a number of free agent prospects to their stable, meaning young players acquired for the cost of nothing more than an entry-level contract.
Most prominent on this list is probably Filip Johansson, a former first round pick of the Minnesota Wild that they were either unable or unwilling to sign.
Next up is Arshdeep Bains, a local product and the WHL’s leading scorer this past season at the age of 21.
Though he looks like more of a longshot project, Nils Aman also deserves a mention here. The former Colorado Avalanche selection has enough size and skill to be an intriguing option down the middle eventually, and will probably come over to North America as soon as this upcoming season.
Right there are three prospects, each of whom was acquired for essentially free, and each of whom could now probably find a place on the Canucks’ top-ten set of prospects.
At 26, Andrey Kuzmenko is a little old to be considered a prospect (or a genuine NHL rookie), but he represents even more young talent added to the Canucks’ roster for no acquisitional cost.
Allvin and Co. also deserve some credit for convincing the 22-year-old Karlsson to sign a contract and cross the ocean to give the North American game a try.
Then there are those future assets which have yet to actually materialize into prospects, but will soon enough.
The Canucks have something in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft that they didn’t in the two drafts prior, and that’s a first round pick.
Currently, the Canucks are slotted to pick 15th overall. They might move up, they might move down, but it seems pretty certain that the organization will be making at least one first round selection this year. Said player almost automatically becomes the franchise’s top-ranked prospect.
The Canucks don’t have a second round pick this year, as of this writing, but they do have a third rounder. Chances are good that whoever they pick there also makes their way onto the top-ten prospect list by October of 2022.
But if their own collection of six draft picks are the only new prospects the Canucks walk away from the 2022 offseason with, they’ve missed a golden opportunity. Thankfully, that seems highly unlikely.
It’s now a near-foregone conclusion that JT Miller will be traded at some point this summer. Right there, you can pencil the Canucks in for at least one pick or prospect good enough to automatically enter the organization top-five, and maybe TWO or THREE of them.
With Brock Boeser under contract, Conor Garland looks far more likely to be shipped out of town. Whatever he returns, whether it be prospect or impending pick, should also fit comfortably in the top-ten. If not him, maybe it’s Tyler Myers who goes for something equivalent to a second or third rounder.
Come Training Camp 2022, most expect that Jack Rathbone and Will Lockwood will graduate from the prospect system, becoming full-time NHLers. Good thing the prospect cupboard should be restocked by then, and able to constitute a far superior top-ten list than last year’s additions, even without Rathbone and Lockwood included.
Que sera, sera; but here’s an advanced preview of next season’s rankings:
Purely Speculative CanucksArmy 2023 Top-Ten Prospect Rankings From The Future
  1. 2022 15OA Selection
  2. Primary return for JT Miller
  3. Secondary return for JT Miller
  4. Primary return for Conor Garland/Tyler Myers
  5. Danila Klimovich
  6. 2022 80OA Selection
  7. Linus Karlsson
  8. Filip Johansson
  9. Arshdeep Bains
  10. Aidan McDonough/Arturs Silovs
That would mean just two or three players carried over from our 2022 lists.
Talk about a turnover you can get excited about.
And if this speculative list looks good to you, Canucks fans, we’ve got even better news.
All you should have to do to experience it in the present day is just wait a few weeks.
Allvin and Co. will take it from here.

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