Vancouver Canucks – Offseason Prospect System Review

by Cam Robinson on August 28, 2018

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Thanks for joining us for our August 31-in-31 series! Every day this month we will be taking a look at each team and diving into their prospect depth charts, risers and fallers, graduating prospects, and top ten prospects in the system.

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As we near the end of our annual 31 in 31 series, we stop in to check on the Vancouver Canucks. This a team that has finished last in total points over the past three seasons. Their heartbreak at the draft lottery has become something of a tradition. As has their July 1st mandate of providing veteran free agents money and term. This, despite the cry from a fanbase that is ready for a true youth movement.

 

In the July instalment, we combed through the roster changes that have occurred since the culmination of the 2017-18. How this influx of players on one-way deals will impact the roster is also discussed.

 

Here are the crib notes though: It will make it very difficult for several U25 players to earn a full-time role.

 

GRADUATING PLAYERS

 

The Canucks’ prospect pipeline will witness several players venture from the world of junior hockey and into professional leagues. Coming from the OHL, Jonah Gadjovich and Matt Brassard will be eligible to move up. However, with Brassard yet to earn an entry-level contract, he’s likely to return to Oshawa and play his 20-year-old campaign.

 

Brassard was a monster in the back 45 games for the Generals. He clicked at a point-per-game during that stretch and his 218 total shots were fourth among OHL defenders. The Canucks are likely looking for him to repeat that level of dominance (and then some) before having him put pen to paper. The 2017 7th round pick never shies away from jumping into the rush and using his blistering shot. He has a lot of raw potential moving forward.

 

As for Gadjovich, it was a difficult season with regards to maintaining health. He did come away with a World Junior Gold Medal and was second in the OHL in shots-per-game with 5.21. Dubbed the “Man-Child” as a 16-year-old freshman in Major Junior, Gadjovich’s physical development hasn’t slowed one iota. He’s a fitness freak and load to handle in the corners and net-front area. He’ll need to continue improving his acceleration and stride length to be effective in the pro game. Likely destined for a bottom-six role in Utica this season, it will be a challenging but telling year for the Whitby-native.

 

The Western league will be graduating Kole Lind. The 19-year-old was the final cut from the Canadian World Junior squad but used that pain to fuel an incredible run for this Kelowna Rockets’ team. Lind completed his year with 39 goals and 95 points in 58 contests. His 84 primary points were fourth most in the league, while 1.45 primary-points-per-game sat second.

 

Lind came to the Canucks summer camp looking bigger, stronger and faster. A great sign for a player who already looked confident during a season-ending spell in the AHL. Lind fancies himself something of a power forward who owns a seriously heavy release. He can play all three forward positions and is deft in all situations. He’s a player that has a real future.

 

 

 

 

Adam Gaudette completed his junior year at Northeastern with a BANG. The 21-year-old led all skaters in goals (30), points (60), points-per-game (1.58) and was second in the nation with five game-winners. His heroics led the Huskies to a Bean Pot title and spot in the Frozen Four tournament. It also landed him the Hobey Baker award.

 

Gaudette suited up in five games for the Canucks to conclude their season and looked better each night. He’ll be in tough to earn a spot with the club out of camp, but some time playing big minutes for the Comets won’t hurt.

 

 

Brock Boeser graduates from the world of prospects and into the world of NHL stars. It won’t take long for him to cusp the superstar status next. Boeser finished second in Calder Trophy voting despite only playing 62 games due to a broken bone in his back after a nasty collision with a brick wall named Cal Clutterbuck.

 

 

 

 

The 21-year-old managed to score 29 goals and 55 points – many of the highlight reel variety as a rookie. He brings the one-shot goal-scoring ability that has been lacking in Vancouver since Markus Naslund’s heyday.

 

 It also appears that his back (and wrist) are feeling A-okay. The Burnsville, Minnesota-native led Da Beauty League in scoring with 16 goals and 34 points in eight games. He averaged six shots-per-game as well. Sure, it’s just a summer league, but there are true NHL’ers out there and Boeser was making them look silly.

 

 

Boeser has the ability to be one of the rare finishers who can live in the 16-18 percent conversion zone. That means a boatload of goals is coming. The Canucks have indicated they’ve begun talks to extend their star winger. However, waiting to see him pop 40 next season may be the best bet for both sides. Everyone will be happy with an 8×8 deal after that.

 

 

 

RISERS

 

Elias Pettersson

It’s difficult to continue coming up with superlatives to describe Pettersson’s draft-plus one campaign. It would likely be simplest to state the feats he didn’t accomplish, but we’ll do this the hard way.

 

The dazzling forward broke a nearly 50-year SHL record for most points by a U20 player. He led the league in regular season scoring with 24 goals and 56 points in 44 games. He led the playoffs in scoring with 10 goals and 19 points in 13 games. He won SHL Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Playoff MVP. He led his Växjö team to an SHL and Champion’s Hockey League Championship; took home a silver medal at the WJC,  and won a gold with the Men’s National team at the World Championships.

 

All told, in 85 total games during 2017-18, the 19-year-old scored 45 goals and 92 points while playing mostly against seasoned pros.

 

This will almost assuredly be the final year we can consider him a prospect and at this moment, he’s the best fantasy hockey prospect in the world.

 

 

 

Lukas Jasek

Some players have been gifted a clear path to the NHL. Others have to traverse the thick stuff. Jasek is the latter. After bouncing between the top two pro leagues and the top junior league in the Czech Republic the last few years, Jasek finally managed to escape the clutches of his club team and cross the pond. Word has it that he had tried to leave before but was rejected and then left to play middling minutes in the men’s league or dominate the juniors.

 

Once in Utica, Jasek wowed. The 20-year-old recorded three goals and seven points in six AHL contests and earned himself an entry-level contract. He’ll continue to adjust to the North American game next season, but his quick transition should put him on the fantasy radar. Jasek owns great speed and a good mind for creating offense.

 

 

Michael DiPietro

The reigning OHL Goaltender of the Year was dealt a tough blow last season. Pegged by virtually everyone to be the backup to Carter Hart at the World Junior Championships, DiPietro was a late cut. He went back to Windsor only to see his reigning Memorial Cup Champion squad decimated by trades that looked toward the future. He remained. Despite this, DiPietro put up stellar numbers. He finished in the top seven of OHL netminders in every meaningful stat.

 

Despite being slightly undersized, DiPietro is as competitive a player as you’ll see. He owns great athleticism and never gives up on a play. He’ll finish his junior eligibility in 2018-19 and is now forecasted to start for the Canadian squad at the WJC this year. Which just so happens to be hosted by Vancouver. Should be fun.

 

 

FALLERS

 

William Lockwood

Injuries are a part of the game. But when they happen a little too frequently or to specific (and concerning) sections of the body, people take notice. Well, people are starting to notice Will Lockwood’s shoulder. The rough and tumble winger loves to cause havoc and play on the edge. He also has a propensity for injury – which is exactly what happened at the WJC last winter. A thrown hit cost him his tournament and the remainder of his sophomore season at the University of Michigan. He’ll be healthy for a junior campaign, but if his body can’t hold up to his preferred style of play, he’ll be in tough to advance too far.

 

 

Nikolay Goldobin

Another season in the books and the former Sharks’ first-round pick has yet to establish himself as a full-time NHL player. His two months in the AHL to begin his year produced a point-per-game. His 38 NHL contests brought forth eight goals and 14 points with limited power-play opportunities. The soon-to-be 23-year-old will no longer be free to move up and down to Utica. His waiver eligibility has kicked in and will play a substantial role in how 2018-19 plays out. If the slick Russian can solidify a top-six spot out of camp, his fantasy upside shines brighter. If not, a trip to the waiver wire and realistic possibility of a new organization looms.

 

 

 

PROSPECT DEPTH CHART

 

     Left Wing                             Center                                   Right Wing

Jonathan Dahlen

Elias Pettersson

Kole Lind

Nikolay Goldobin

Adam Gaudette

Lukas Jasek

Brendan Leipsic

Tyler Madden

Artyom Manukyan

Petrus Palmu

Tanner Kero

Zack MacEwen  

Jonah Gadjovich

Dmitri Zhukenov

William Lockwood

Tyler Motte

   

Michael Carcone

   

 

 

 

 

    Left Defense                                        Right Defense             

Quinn Hughes

Jett Woo

Olli Juolevi

Matt Brassard  

Nikita Tryamkin

Jalen Chatfield

Jack Rathbone

 

Guillaume Brisebois

 

Ashton Sautner

 

Evan McEneny

 

 

 

 

Goaltenders

Thatcher Demko

Michael DiPietro

Matthew Theissen

 

 

TOP Twenty FANTASY PROSPECTS

  1. Elias Pettersson
  2. Quinn Hughes
  3. Thatcher Demko
  4. Jonathan Dahlen
  5. Kole Lind
  6. Nikolay Goldobin
  7. Adam Gaudette
  8. Olli Juolevi
  9. Michael DiPietro
  10. Brendan Leipsic
  11. Petrus Palmu
  12. Jonah Gadjovich
  13. Lukas Jasek
  14. Artyom Manukyan
  15. Nikita Tryamkin
  16. Jett Woo
  17. William Lockwood
  18. Jack Rathbone
  19. Matt Brassard
  20. Tyler Madden

 

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