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: The Canucks traded into the top-10 to select Bo Horvat with the ninth overall pick, the highest pick by Vancouver since the Sedins were drafted 2nd and 3rd overall in 1999 (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey would be the setting for the Vancouver Canucks to leave an indelible mark, not just in regards to their own draft and future, but to the host city and their hockey fortunes as well.
Photo: Belleville Bulls center Brendan Gaunce, the Canucks 26th overall pick last summer, was the first of four forwards taken by Vancouver with their five picks in 2012 (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
After another quick exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, it is no secret that the winds of change are blowing in Vancouver. General Manager Mike Gillis has frequently used the term “reset” to describe the focus of this off-season for the Vancouver Canucks. In truth, anything short of fulfilling that term would be disastrous for Gillis, with local media already quoting the new phraseology. In addition, a restless fan base has voiced their opinion and made it clear that they will not be satisfied with the status quo.
Photo: Vancouver forward Jordan Schroeder earned his first substantial NHL time in 2012-13, shoring up the Canucks depth down the middle when injuries knocked Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra out of the lineup (courtesy of Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
Although it may seem that the Hockey’s Future writing staff are constantly critiquing and evaluating NHL team prospects, there is a flip-side as well. We always strive to give credit where it’s due, and this portion is a tip of the hat to Vancouver Canucks prospects in their endeavors to reach the acme of their profession. Based on their efforts from the 2012-13 season, the following is in acknowledgment of that pursuit.
Photo: Cam Atkinson is one of several Blue Jackets prospects who has seen regular time in the lineup for Columbus during the 2013 NHL season (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)
Welcome to the Hockey's Future Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking.