Photo: Calgary Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau followed up his selection as the Hobey Baker winner in 2014 by turning in a performance in his NHL rookie season that is likely to earn him the NHL’s Calder Trophy in 2015 (courtesy of Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
The late-season playoff push in places like Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Florida — all teams that were not expected to be in the playoff hunt — pushed several rookies into the spotlight. While all but the Florida Panthers made the playoffs, the fact that all had key contributions from first-year players made for an interesting Calder Trophy selection the 2014-15 season. Read more»
Photo: Vancouver 2013 third rounder Cole Cassels of the Oshawa Generals played spoiler in the OHL playoffs thanks to solid defensive work on Erie’s Connor McDavid (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
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.
Photo: Vancouver Canucks prospect Jake Virtanen contributed to Team Canada’s gold medal win at the 2015 U20 World Junior Championship, scoring a goal and adding three assists in seven games (courtesy of Dan Hamilton/Icon Sportswire)
The Spring edition of the Hockey’s Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects continues with the 31 thru 40 section. This part of the ranking showcases several players whose stock is on the rise, including Vancouver Canucks prospect Jake Virtainen. Read more»
Photo: Vancouver Canucks prospect Patrick McNally has been one of college hockey’s best defensemen when healthy. (courtesy of Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)
Vancouver’s prospect pool is largely a professional group this season. Though the Canucks have looked to the United States college path as a developmental course with great success in the past (Ryan Kesler, Cory Schneider, R.J. Umberger, Adrian Aucoin), the last significant draft selection was 2009’s first round pick used on Jordan Schroeder, who disappointed as a Canuck. Boston College’s Thatcher Demko will look to reverse that trend.
Photo: Top AHL rookies Daniel Carr of the Hamilton Bulldogs (L) and Connor Brown of the Toronto Marlies (R) go head-to-head in one of the more interesting NHL prospect matchups this weekend (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
All three CHL leagues begin playoff action this weekend. There are three particularly interesting games on hand, games that feature a mix of high-end prospects and valuable role players as teams in the OHL, QMJHL, and WHL collide. Meanwhile, the NCAA Tournament begins this weekend, and one matchup in particular is worthy of extra attention. In the AHL, two top scorers from far different backgrounds clash as the AHL season starts to wind down. Read more»