Several Vancouver Canucks prospects have made their professional hockey debuts this season with the AHL’s Utica Comets and the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL. The Comets came into the 2015-16 season with high expectations after competing for the Calder Cup in 2014-15. Several major personnel changes were made in the offseason however and it could be difficult for Utica to replicate the success they had a season ago. Here is a look at the personnel the Canucks have deployed in Utica and Kalamazoo this season and an assessment of how each player is doing so far in the 2015-16 season.
Drafting and developing have not been strong suits for the Vancouver Canucks over the last few years. With Jim Benning and Trevor Linden in charge there seems to be efforts being made to rectify years of poor drafting and developing of their own players, though certain moves have not come without controversy.
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.