Vancouver has iced very good rosters for a long time now. Despite having not yet won the Stanley Cup, the Canucks accomplished a lot in the 2000s on the strengths of Daniel and Henrik Sedin’s puck possession skills, Ryan Kesler’s defensive game, the goaltending of Roberto Luongo, and teams that were composed from top to bottom with strong talents who could drive play. The Sedins will be 35 years old when the 2015-16 season starts, Kesler and Luongo are gone, and though the team has performed well this season, it is no longer among the President’s Trophy favorites. Management has not had the luxury of lottery picks to build around, but there are several prospects in the system who will help ease the transition to a post-Sedin era, whenever that arrives.
Led by standout performances from AHL veterans Jacob Markstrom, Dustin Jeffrey, Bobby Sanguinetti, and Cal O’Reilly, the Utica Comets hit the All-Star break in third place in the Western Conference but have games in hand on all competing teams. The Comets feature a combination of experience and young talent, creating a balanced roster that looks ready to push for a Calder Cup.