February 24 2017 03:34PM
Photo Credit: Lindsay A. Mogle / Utica Comets
NOTE: This was written before Jim Benning revealed today that Evan McEneny would be called up to the Vancouver Canucks in response to several players being diagnosed or tested for the mumps. I was going to advocate for McEneny being a late season call up, but now that that's already happened, you can consider this a primer on him instead.
Once a forgotten member of the Canucks prospect pool, Evan McEneny is suddenly putting up numbers in his first full season with the Utica Comets. Struggling to remain in the lineup just a few months ago, McEneny is now an all-situations player for Comets coach Travis Green, and is seemingly resistant to the rotating healthy scratches.
Is this simply a blip of the radar, or do the Canucks still have something in McEneny?
February 02 2017 03:00PM
Any of you that followed me during my most recent stint on Twitter will know that a have a particularly strong affinity for Nico Hischier, one that I was particularly vocal about during the World Junior Championships, when he basically single-handedly scared the pants off the Americans in the quarter finals. Hischier, who started the year outside the top ten by many (and in 10th by my early top ten), was already a consensus top five pick at this point and was only heading up (he's now provided a reasonable challenge for first overall).
Meanwhile, the Canucks heading into the Christmas break (and thus the start of the World Junior tournament) were undoubtedly one of the league's worst teams, and their position in the standings showed it. They sat in 27th place at Christmas, and even with a couple of early wins out of the Christmas break, hope was allowed to creep in and create draw a line between the Canucks' terrible record, their eventual draft position, and this shiny young Swiss centre that was setting the WJC on fire.
As a rule, the Canucks aren't usually allowed to have nice things, with a few exceptions. In nearly 50 years, they have never captured the first overall pick - a trend that started with a spinning wheel back in 1970. So rather than hoping for number one, hoping for a top two or three selection seemed like a safer bet for a Vancouver fan, right? This could really happen!
It was then that my bubble was burst by the mention of one name: Michael Rasmussen.
February 01 2017 01:33PM
Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY SPORTS
The emergence of several players after Mike Gillis was fired, including Bo Horvat, Ben Hutton, and Brendan Gaunce, and even strong AHL showings from Jordan Subban, Alex Grenier, and Joe LaBate have served to dull the pain from a decade of poor results during the Ron Delorme era, the pinnacle of which coincided with Gillis’ reign as GM.
A short time ago, Anton Rodin made his debut with the Vancouver Canucks, and in doing so he was the eighth Mike Gillis-drafted player to make his NHL debut after Gillis was fired. The addition of Rodin and core players like Horvat and Hutton to the Canucks lineup make Gillis’ draft record look vastly better than it was, and some have speculated recently that his drafting might be better than we thought.
Well, that’s not really the case. Vancouver’s draft history over the last fifteen years has been so abysmal that anything looks good. Even with these new young players brightening the ranks, Gillis’ draft record is still not good. And I have evidence.
January 17 2017 11:00AM
It's been a little less than a month since our last Consolidated Rankings were published, but six of the eight list makers have put out new rankings, and there has been plenty of movement already. The World Junior Championships also took place in that time frame, and as that's one of the most important events of the season for draft eligible prospects, it factors heavily in the perception of many of the players.
Let's take a look at the potential first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, as it looks in mid-January.
December 22 2016 01:00PM
The 2017 NHL Entry draft is still a little over six months away, but for some teams' fanbases (including that of the Vancouver Canucks), the draft can't come soon enough.
In the interest of being overprepared, I've put together a consolidated draft rankings, in the vein of what Tom Hunter and Jon Steitzer did for The Leafs Nation last year (and Tom is continuing to do this year at the Bloggers Tribune). Now we can get a nice early glimpse at who's projected to go at the top of the draft and throughout the first round, and by continuing to follow the ranks each month, we can get a good idea of whose stock is rising and falling.