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: Timely scoring from Wisconsin sophomore Joseph Labate was key for the Badgers down the stretch before the team fell to UMass-Lowell in the first round of the NCAA tournament (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
Hockey pundits dubbed the Vancouver Canucks' 2012 NHL Entry Draft selections as "off the board" after their first round selection of Brendan Gaunce. In retrospect, Canucks scouts and management did their utmost to ensure that their later round selections followed several criteria: big, gritty, with a hint of untapped potential.
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.
Photo: Though the Columbus Blue Jackets added several important prospects this past off-season, none were more prominent than defenseman Ryan Murray, who was selected second overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Below is the bottom third of the NHL Team Rankings in terms of prospects as voted on by Hockey's Future staff. To determine the ranking, each team's entire prospect pool was taken into consideration. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
Photo: Chicago Wolves goaltender Eddie Lack leads a shallow group of netminder in the Vancouver Canucks' prospect pipeline. (courtesy of Zuma Press/Icon SMI)
Had the NHL lockout not come to pass, it certainly would have been an interesting training camp in Penticton this season for the Vancouver Canucks. They have graduated a number of players over the past five years, leaving only a couple of select, higher-tier prospects to mature and come of age. With Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler still on the shelf after surgeries, it was shaping up to be an impromptu game of musical chairs to fill the holes left by Kesler’s and Edler’s convalescence.