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.
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.