August 31-in-31: Vancouver Canucks

by Cam Robinson on August 28, 2017


 

As the focus slowly shifts from backyard barbeques and relaxing floats on the lake to fantasy drafts and eventually, puck drop, the realization that there is no offseason for prospect junkies becomes clearer. With an eye towards helping you prepare for all your scouting needs, we’ll continue our offseason tour of 31 organizations by digging into the Canucks’ prospect cupboard, checking in on some players who are rising and falling, who fits where in the depth chart and which players could be of use to you as quickly as this season.

 

**

 

Recently ranked as the ninth best prospect pipeline by Corey Pronman over at ESPN, the Canucks have come a long way from the days of shipping youth and picks out the door with regularity come deadline season. For several years, the organization were legitimate Cup contenders and made sure to leave nothing on the table in their quest for the team’s first Stanley Cup. As we all know, they came up just a whisker short and were left holding an empty bag that represented their future assets.

 

Fast forward four entry drafts into Jim Benning’s tenure as the team’s General Manager and much has changed. The scouting department has been reorganized and revamped. Many old voices have been shown the door and new Director of Amateur Scouting, Judd Brackett has brought in a fresh and innovative eye for talent – one that puts great stock in speed and skill; something that wasn’t always prioritized in past years.

 

It also doesn’t hurt that in three of those four years the team has had a top six overall selection.

 

**

 

To review the team’s most recent crop of draftees, take a gander at the July portion of this series.

 

Prospect Depth Chart

 

     Left Wing                Center            Right Wing

Jonathan Dahlen

Elias Pettersson

Brock Boeser

Nikolay Goldobin

Adam Gaudette

Jake Virtanen

Jonah Gadjovich

Griffen Molino

Anton Rodin

Joseph Labate

Dmitry Zhukenov

Kole Lind

Michael Carcone

Cole Cassels

William Lockwood

Jakob Stukel

Yan-Pavel Laplante

Zack MacEwen

 

Brett McKenzie

Lukas Jasek

 

Rodrigo Abols

 

 

    Left Defense             Right Defense             

Olli Juolevi

Jordan Subban

Philip Holm

Jalen Chatfield

Evan McEneny

Matt Brassard

Andrey Pedan

 

Guillaume Brisebois

 

Nikita Tryamkin

 

Jack Rathbone

 

Ashton Sautner

 

Anton Cederholm

 

Kristoffer Gunnarsson

 

MacKenze Stewart

 

 

Goaltenders

Thatcher Demko

Michael DiPietro

 

** Recently Graduated**

  • Troy Stecher


 

Risers:

 

Jonathan Dahlen The goal-scoring winger didn’t have much time to improve his value to the Canucks’ organization after coming over in a trade with the Senators last February as his Allsvenskan season wrapped up just a few weeks later. He entered the team’s fantasy rankings as the fifth placed skater but the addition of his buddy, Elias Pettersson and a very strong development camp has shot him up to third. With Pettersson earmarked as the team’s future replacement for Henrik Sedin and the strong likelihood that Dahlen will be on his hip pocket for much of their careers, that spark is just the bonus needed to propel him from likely-top six performer, to possible first line talent.

 

Adam GaudetteWhile the Canucks’ fantasy rankings are becoming more and more difficult to climb with the addition of some splendidly offensive talents, Gaudette has risen from ninth to sixth overall and continues to rise in the eyes of many within the organization. The hard-nosed centre returns to Northeastern for his junior campaign to work on his strength and take a serious run at the Hobey Baker. He will almost assuredly leave college next spring and likely join Vancouver for their final few contests. While his pure offensive ceiling may be a touch below some of his prospect team mates, his floor is very high.

 

Adam Gaudette: 2016-17 Highlights

 


 

Jalen ChatfieldThe Memorial Cup champion signed an entry-level contract with the organization last March as an undrafted free agent out of the Windsor Spitfires’ organization. The right-handed defender brings a mix of skill and snarl to the ice, while boasting quality vision, quick outlet passes and is considered a proto-typical two-way defender. Playing on a pairing with Jets’ first rounder, Logan Stanley, the 20-year-old Chatfield was the rock for the Spitfires. He turns professional for 2017-18 and should have a spot amongst the top six defense groupings in Utica. With a lack of right-handed blue liners in the system, Chatfield immediately garners extra attention.


 

Fallers:

 

Jake Virtanen has had a rough go. From the moment he was drafted sixth overall in 2014 ahead of William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers, (yes, there were others in between, but still, those were the options) many people had his head on a bullseye. After a decent 19-year-old campaign with the Canucks, the power winger came to camp too heavy and struggled early, earning him a trip to the AHL. There he struggled once more to find consistency in his offensive game while maintaining his speedy and hard-hitting approach. Just 19 points in 61 AHL contests as a 20-year-old does not inspire much confidence in his future as a productive offensive player and he’s likely destined for another season in Utica. Virtanen barely squeaks on to this top 10 and has a few guys nipping at his heels.

 

Jordan Subban  the youngest of the Subban brothers continues to display his tremendous vision and booming shot in the minors while repeatedly being blasted for his defensive zone play. His size has always been a detriment to his game and with fellow 5’8 standing, Troy Stecher cementing his place on the big-league roster and thriving ahead of Subban, it’s fairly unlikely you see a lineup that features two of those types of players on the right side. Travis Green is at the helm in Vancouver now, the same coach who felt it necessary to scratch Subban from AHL contests just this past season. The writing is on the wall, Subban likely needs a fresh start in a new organization to reach his potential or struggle and eventually end up in Europe.

 

Cole CasselsAfter an amazing finish to his junior career two seasons ago, it had appeared as though the Canucks had a legitimate centre prospect who could one day push for a top nine job. That belief is quickly disappearing if not already gone. 133 AHL games and just eight goals and 18 points to show for it is disparaging, but what’s more concerning is Cassels inability to keep up with the pace of professional hockey. He will need to have a much better 2017-18 campaign or risk not being qualified at years’ end.

 

**

 

Players to Target for this Season

 

Brock Boeser: This upcoming campaign boasts a wide-open crop of Calder Trophy hunters. Right near the top of many people’s list of players to consider is the Canucks’ top prospect. Boeser stood out immediately in his short stint with Vancouver last spring after turning pro at the completion of his sophomore season at UND. He recorded four goals, an assist and 25 shots in nine NHL contests, seeing time next to Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi at even strength and with the Twins on the top power play unit. Expect that type of deployment again this coming season so long as the bullish right-winger shows up to camp ready to compete. The Minnesota-native brings a goal scoring element that this Canucks’ team sorely lacks and that alone should keep him out of Utica.

 

Brock Boeser: 2016-17 Highlights

 


 

Olli Juolevi: The fifth overall selection from 2016 is stuck in the web of the CHL-NHL agreement. Likely too good for junior but not old enough to play in the AHL, the Canucks will be forced to decide what’s best for their top blue line prospect. While simply maintaining his offensive production as a draft-plus one player, the left-handed and cerebral player was tasked with all the difficult defensive minutes while bringing along a 17-year-old draft-minus partner in Evan Bouchard. What is unmistakable when you watch Juolevi play, is his incredible decision making. He plays a style that will lend exceptionally well to the professional ranks as the systems tighten up and every player can make the right play. With a glut of left-shooting rearguards on contract, Vancouver is going to have to make some hard decisions, but don’t let the number’s game assure you that it’s back to London for the 19-year-old. Juolevi has the talent to surprise and Troy Stecher proved a year ago that even long-shots will be given a spot if they earn it.

 

**

 

Updated Top 20 Fantasy Assets

 

  1. Brock Boeser

  2. Elias Pettersson

  3. Jonathan Dahlen

  4. Thatcher Demko

  5. Nikolay Goldobin

  6. Adam Gaudette

  7. Kole Lind

  8. Olli Juolevi

  9. Petrus Palmu

  10. Jake Virtanen

———————–

  1. Jordan Subban

  2. Jonah Gadjovich

  3. Michael DiPietro

  4. William Lockwood

  5. Dmitry Zhukenov

  6. Jalen Chatfield

  7. Nikita Tryamkin

  8. Guillaume Brisebois

  9. Jack Rathbone

  10. Michael Carcone

 

**

 

Young Stars Tournament – Penticton BC

 

For the seventh year in a row, the Canucks will once again host the Young Stars Classic tournament in beautiful Penticton, BC at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, B.C., running from Friday, September 8th to Monday, September 11th. The four-team tournament will feature prospects from the Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets. 

 

Schedule:

Sept. 8 – Game 1 Edmonton vs. Calgary @4:00pm
Sept. 8 – Game 2 Vancouver vs. Winnipeg @7:30pm
Sept. 9 – Game 3 Winnipeg vs. Edmonton @7:30pm
Sept. 10 – Game 4 Calgary vs. Vancouver @2:00pm
Sept. 11 – Game 5 Winnipeg vs. Calgary @10:30am
Sept. 11 – Game 6 Vancouver vs. Edmonton @2:00pm

 

**

 

Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3 where I often give unsolicited fantasy and prospect advice.

Cam Robinson