A prequel to our Canucks 2024 midterm prospect ranking: What we are taking into account

Photo credit:@orebrohockey on IG
Dave Hall
4 months ago
As we enter the final stretch of hockey for most Junior and European leagues, it’s time for us to take a good hard look at a few of the Vancouver Canucks’ top prospects and check in on where they sit among the organization’s depth chart.
Without further ado, we present to you the 2023-24 top-10 Vancouver Canucks midterm prospect list.
By now, we’ve had the opportunity to evaluate these prospects over numerous games, and if you haven’t been paying close attention, this year has been one of the most promising crops that we have experienced in years.
From the NHL club to the farm system and throughout the entire pipeline, everything seems to be clicking quite seamlessly right now. Sure, each player has experienced their inevitable ebbs and flows, but overall, it’s been nothing but positive vibes for this group of youngsters.
Before we delve into the top 10, a process that will unfold over the next couple of weeks, we’d like to set the stage and go over our approach to ranking each prospect.
Unfortunately, our access to comprehensive statistical data for these young prospects is quite limited. The hockey world often lacks the robust tracking systems found in the NHL, which makes it challenging to gather detailed stats for these players.
Instead, we heavily rely on the eye test and discussions with industry professionals.
Naturally, the cream always rises to the top, and our rankings are anchored in a prospect’s potential at the NHL level.
For instance, a prospect projected to be a first-line player is going to hold a much higher value, while a defenceman with a probable bottom-pairing upside might find a place toward the bottom.
We also consider a prospect’s age. The context shifts when comparing an 18-year-old scoring 20 points in the SHL to a 20-year-old forward lighting up the Canadian Hockey League.
Our top-10 prospect articles will include the following key elements in our evaluation.
Ceiling: Here, we assess a player’s pure top-end potential. We delve into what the player could achieve if they fully develop to reach 100% of their potential. Think, “If this player played with Connor McDavid, what is the utmost potential here?”.
Floor: Here, we explore a lower-end projection for the player. Given the pedigree that will be mentioned in both our honourable mentions and top-10 sections, the floor is likely always going to fall within the AHL. Otherwise, they likely do not make this list.
ETA: This refers to the prospect’s projected timeline for making their professional hockey debut in North America and when we expect to witness their first NHL game.
Now that we’ve covered our bases, let’s dive into who will be eligible and ineligible for this year.
Looking back at Faber’s last rankings, which was nearly a year ago, here is what we were looking at:
Unranked: Aatu Räty
  1. Elias Pettersson
  2. Jonathan Lekkerimaki
  3. Arturs Silovs
  4. Danila Klimovich
  5. Lucas Forsell
  6. Aidan McDonough
  7. Linus Karlsson
  8. Filip Johansson
  9. Jacob Truscott
  10. Arshdeep Bains
Honourable mentions: Aku Koskenvuo, Joni Jurmo, Connor Lockhart, and Kirill Kudryavtsev
Lookign toward our updated midterm rankings, we will be sticking with the U23 format, which eliminates the following prospects:
Arshdeep Bains, Max Sasson, Ty Glover, Tristen Nielsen, Filip Johansson, Akito Hirose, Aidan McDonough, Linus Karlsson, and Nikita Tolopilo.
Artus Silovs turns 23 in March, so he makes the mid-season list by a hair. The same can be said for Cole McWard, who turns 23 in June.
We will exclude Vasily Podkolzin, as he has had a full season or more in the NHL, and doesn’t necessarily fall into the “prospects” category anymore. Although he is back in Abbotsford, he has been “graduated” from this ranking for some time now.
So, with that in mind, our 15 prospects who either made the top 10 or the honourable mentions list are as follows:
Forwards: Aatu Räty, Danila Klimovich, Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Josh Bloom, Lucas Forsell, Ty Mueller, and Vilmer Alriksson.
Defence: Cole McWard, Sawyer Mynio, Tom Willander, Kirill Kudryavtsev, Elias Pettersson, and Jackson Dorrington.
Goaltenders: Arturs Silovs and Aku Koskenvuo.
Now that we’ve set the table, it’s time to begin with the honourable mentions and then work our way down from 10 to one.
If you believe there’s a prospect who should be in the top 15, make a case for them in the comments.
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