Photo: Prab Rai, the Canucks' fifth round pick in 2008, has been limited by injury to just 31 ECHL games through three seasons thus far in his pro career. (courtesy of Kathleen Hinkel/Icon SMI)
Two players from the Vancouver Canucks 2008 NHL Draft remain in the system, defenseman Yann Sauve and center Prab Rai. Of the two, Sauve is the only one to get a taste of NHL hockey action, with a five game call-up in 2010. Perhaps one of the more prolific and discussed players drafted by the Canucks, Cody Hodgson’s arrival in 2008 provided local sports pages with material aplenty. Just as some drafts bring hope and anticipation, Vancouver's 2008 draft brought drama and intrigue, culminating in one of the biggest and most shocking trades in the NHL during the 2011-12 season.
Photo: Defenseman Chris Tanev has been one of the best blueliners at both ends of the rink for the Chicago Wolves thus far in 2012-13. (courtesy of Zuma Press/Icon SMI)
Considering that the Chicago Wolves have played the fewest games in their conference to this point in the 2012-13 season, they are enjoying a modicum of success. Though currently sitting in 10th spot, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks is still within striking distance of a top five seeding.
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.
Brendan Gaunce will once again be expected to lead the way for the Belleville Bulls heading into the 2012-13 season. (courtesy of Leon T. Switzer/ Icon SMI)
The Vancouver Canucks organization used the 2012 draft to augment their forward talent levels. Already well-stocked on the back end and between the pipes, forwards with grit and size were added to help balance out the positional depth. With that said, many of the interesting stories shaping up for this season come from players that have already spent time in the team's developmental system.
Photo: Zack Kassian celebrates his first goal as a member of the Vancouver Canucks following a midseason trade from the Buffalo Sabres. (courtesy of Bob Frid/Icon SMI)
The Vancouver Canucks' prospect pool may not be considered deep, but the organization has a number of players that project well within the team's puck-possession system. The current roster, laden with veterans drafted by the club, has been carefully chosen out of necessity. The team's regular season success in recent years has forced the organization to pick near the end of each draft round but the system has been improved with shrewd scouting and astute free-agent signings.