The Vancouver Canucks’ plan to get younger without going into a total rebuild is in full effect. Gone are veteran wingers Chris Higgins and Brandon Prust, waived and assigned to the farm in Utica. Taking up the extra minutes are youngsters such as Sven Baertschi and recently acquired Emerson Etem. Add in Bo Horvat, Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen and the Canucks have a very respectable group of forwards aged 23 or younger. With up and comers such as Brendan Gaunce and Brock Boeser knocking at the door, the Canucks seem to have most of the answers to their future needs developing in-house.
Less than a year ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs were in an unenviable place—the prospect cupboard was bare, the AHL affiliate lacked star power, and the big club was in a downward spiral. This year’s version of the Maple Leafs doesn’t inspire much confidence, but the future looks bright thanks to a drastic overhaul and a newfound commitment to drafting and development. Read more»
A long awaited injection of youth has finally come to the Vancouver Canucks franchise after years of competing with a mostly veteran lineup. Bo Horvat was able to stick with the big club for the 2014-15 season and Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann and Ben Hutton have earned their way onto the roster for the 2015-16 season. With solid options at all positions the Canucks prospect pool is as strong as it has been in a decade or longer and the future looks extremely bright for the organization.
Drafting and developing have not been strong suits for the Vancouver Canucks over the last few years. With Jim Benning and Trevor Linden in charge there seems to be efforts being made to rectify years of poor drafting and developing of their own players, though certain moves have not come without controversy.
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.