Photo: Brendan Gaunce was the first draft pick selected by Vancouver Canucks at the 2012 NHL Draft. (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
The Vancouver Canucks came into the 2012 NHL Draft with only five picks. The organization made the best available selection with their first round pick and went off the board with their remaining picks. There was a strong NCAA connection, with the team selecting players that will attend Maine, Boston University, and Yale. It was also apparent that the Canucks brass were looking to add size to their prospect ranks, as the average height of their 2012 draft class was 6'2.
Photo: Winger Nicklas Jensen is the top prospect for the Vancouver Canucks. Jensen was drafted 29th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
After coming up just short in the Stanley Cup Final in 2010-11, the Vancouver Canucks had another banner regular season, taking home the President's Trophy. However they were ousted in the first round of the playoffs this year by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. The price to pay for finishing near the top of the regular season standings is another draft pick right near the end of the first round, just like last year.
Photo: Defenseman Kevin Connauton had a breakout season in 2011-12, managing 13 goals and 20 assists from the blue line. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)
Finishing among the top teams in the NHL five of the last six years has taken a toll on the Vancouver Canucks prospect pool. Aside from having a perennially low draft spot, the organization has either traded or graduated most of their top prospects. Consequentially the Canucks inaugural prospect awards are dominated by mostly complementary and depth players, with winger Nicklas Jensen being the possible exception.
Photo: London Knights captain Jarred Tinordi and his London Knights teammates fell just short of a Memorial Cup championship. Tinordi is a top prospect of the Montreal Canadiens (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
Below is the bottom third of the ranking of the prospect depth of the NHL organizations as voted by the 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 each season, in the fall and spring.
Photo: Former first-round pick Jordan Schroeder has developed slow but steadily over the past two years in the AHL. The forward is expected to battle for spot in the NHL over the next two seasons. (Photo courtesy of Paul Hebert/Icon SMI)
The Canucks aren't blessed with an overly deep group of prospects, but there are a few players at the top of the list that have some good potential and upside, the most notable being Nicklas Jensen. There are a lot of project-type players in the system as well, many of whom have a lot of raw and untapped potential. The strength of the organization continues to remain in between the pipes, headlined by Eddie Lack.
1. (2) Nicklas Jensen, RW, 7.5C
Drafted, 1st round, 29th overall, 2011