The Pittsburgh Penguins improved their NHL roster a fair amount in the 2015 offseason, but it was at the expense of their future. Once possessing one of the deepest groups of defensive prospects in the league, trades and graduations have left the coffers empty. It will only get worse too, as several of the Penguins’ top prospects are set to graduate during the 2015-16 season. Read more»
Yes, Mike Gillis did attend the draft. Apparently not liking the looks of things in the first round, the Vancouver Canucks‘ General Manager sent the 25th overall pick, along with Michael Grabner and Steve Bernier, to Florida in exchange for Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich. The Panthers took Quinton Howden, who has yet to become a full-fledged NHL player, but the Canucks might have taken a gamble on a player still on the board like Evgeny Kuznetzov, Brock Nelson, or Emerson Etem who have done so. Read more»
The season ended suddenly and surprisingly for the Canucks at the hands of the Calgary Flames, a team that was not expected to do much of anything this season but whose undervalued prospect depth has quickly proven to be on track and capable. The Canucks on the other hand now find themselves in a transitional phase, with Daniel and Henrik Sedin showing signs of slowing down, but with a strong group of players coming up to bolster an experienced NHL core. The good news is that the bulk of the prospect pool enjoyed post-season runs during the 2014-15 season, with deep playoff runs in the AHL and OHL playoffs for some notable names.
Vancouver has iced very good rosters for a long time now. Despite having not yet won the Stanley Cup, the Canucks accomplished a lot in the 2000s on the strengths of Daniel and Henrik Sedin’s puck possession skills, Ryan Kesler’s defensive game, the goaltending of Roberto Luongo, and teams that were composed from top to bottom with strong talents who could drive play. The Sedins will be 35 years old when the 2015-16 season starts, Kesler and Luongo are gone, and though the team has performed well this season, it is no longer among the President’s Trophy favorites. Management has not had the luxury of lottery picks to build around, but there are several prospects in the system who will help ease the transition to a post-Sedin era, whenever that arrives.