Photo: Anton Rodin, Vancouver’s only prospect skating in Europe during the 2013-14 season, is off to a hot start with three goals and 11 points in 11 SHL games for Brynas (courtesy of Bob Frid/Icon SMI)
With a much needed infusion of forward talent, thanks to a bumper crop provided by the 2013 NHL Draft, the Vancouver Canucks prospect cupboards look less bare.
Photo: Nicklas Jensen made his NHL debut late in the 2012-13 season and could be in line for more ice time with the Canucks at some point during the upcoming season (courtesy of Bob Frid/Icon SMI)
After years of late-round drafting, two quick first round playoff exits, and a starting goaltender slow-burn drama, Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced he was hitting the reset button. That reset started in Newark, New Jersey during the 2013 NHL Draft, ushering in a new wave of prospects, a coaching staff change, and a shift in expectations for the fanbase for the 2013-14 season.
Photo: Belleville Bulls center Brendan Gaunce, the Canucks 26th overall pick last summer, was the first of four forwards taken by Vancouver with their five picks in 2012 (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
After another quick exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, it is no secret that the winds of change are blowing in Vancouver. General Manager Mike Gillis has frequently used the term “reset” to describe the focus of this off-season for the Vancouver Canucks. In truth, anything short of fulfilling that term would be disastrous for Gillis, with local media already quoting the new phraseology. In addition, a restless fan base has voiced their opinion and made it clear that they will not be satisfied with the status quo.
Photo: Vancouver forward Jordan Schroeder earned his first substantial NHL time in 2012-13, shoring up the Canucks depth down the middle when injuries knocked Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra out of the lineup (courtesy of Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
Although it may seem that the Hockey’s Future writing staff are constantly critiquing and evaluating NHL team prospects, there is a flip-side as well. We always strive to give credit where it’s due, and this portion is a tip of the hat to Vancouver Canucks prospects in their endeavors to reach the acme of their profession. Based on their efforts from the 2012-13 season, the following is in acknowledgment of that pursuit.
Photo: Nicklas Jensen, shown here skating for Team Denmark, is expected to return to North America after his season ends in the Swedish Elite League. (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
For the Vancouver Canucks organization, regular season success over the last half-decade has been a dual-edged sword. Winners of multiple President’s Trophies and continually atop the Northwest Division standings, any neutral hockey enthusiast might think it is crazy to label their success a bane. But on two levels, this success has presented challenges that few organizations would covet.