JamesB Posted December 29, 2014 Share Posted December 29, 2014 It is great having individual threads on all the prospects, and it is nice to have a thread that updates the stats on each prospect. But there have not been many threads dealing with the development of the overall prospect pool (although there are lots of individual comments). This is how I see things for the forwards, including guys currently on the team. For each player I rate his development progress so far relative to expectations. Players are ordered by age. Fowards generally improve a lot between 18 and 22 or 23 and only slowly after that, typically reaching their peak about age 26 and holding that peak for about 5 years. These are averages. I know there is individual variation, but very few fowards who are less than solid NHL players at age 24 ever become significant NHL contributors Kassian: Grade C.Turns 24 in January Kassian turns 24 in January. We all know Kassian has size, strength and skill, which makes for great potential. But this is his make or break year and so far he has not been good enough. The common complaint is lack of "consistency" but I think the real problem is the mental game. Consistency requires a strong mental game and Kassian has not shown enough so far. Right now I project him as a career bottom 6 player who is not reliable enough to play shutdown. I hope he proves me wrong but he has not lived up to expectations so far. Vey: Grade C+ Age 23 Vey is a smart high skill player. He could easily have more points that he does so far if he played with linemates who were better at converting his passes. He does not have the physical game or the defensive game to be a really good bottom 6 player and probably needs just a bit more development to be a genuine 2nd liner. He is close but needs a bit more. I put the odds at 50-50. He probably has not quite lived up to expectations. When acquired he was pencilled in at 3C but was not able to hold that position and has bounced around the line-up. Jensen: Grade B- Age 21. At 21 Jensen is still young enough to expect some improvement. Considering that Utica plays a defensive style his scoring record is decent and his defensive play has improved. And he has the size and speed to contribute to both the physical game and the speed game. Probably has not quite lived up to expectations. Next year will be a big year for him. If he cannot make the team next year he would be a disappointment. Gaunce: Grade B+ Age 20. At age 20 Gaunce still has room to improve and there is no harm in spending next year in the AHL. Playing in the bottom 6 on a defensive Utica team his scoring has been pretty good and he can play shutdown. He has the size and mental game to be very good defensively in the NHL and enough skill to provide some secondary scoring. I think he has exceeded expectations relative to the beginning of the year. I would say he has moved past Shinkaruk on the prospect depth chart. Shinkaruk: Grade B, Age 20 Expected to challenge for a position on the Canucks last year (before his surgery) and again this year, he was not really that close. He has been decent in Utica, playing in the top 6 there, but anyone expecting him to light up the AHL has been badly disappointed. On the small side, he clearly does not have the strength yet to play effectively in the NHL. He still has time, but I expect him to be in Utica again next year. I think his performance this year is slightly below expectations. Horvat: Grade A, Age 19. Most people thought Horvat would get a 9-game tryout and be sent back to Junior this year. But he earned a spot on the Canucks. He has the strength, skill, and mental game to be a solid 4C -- probably the best 4C the Canucks have had in years and is improving rapidly. Not sure how high his ceiling is. At a minimum he will become a top 3C who can play shutdown, kill penalities, take key faceoffs and provide secondary scoring. More likely he tops out as a good 2C and the best two-way forward on the team. Has exceeded expectations so far. Cassels: Grade A-, Age 19 As a third round pick, expectations were not high. But he is having a great year in the OHL this year (at least until he was suspended). Almost made the US world junior team and probably would have made it if he had been in the US development program. As it was he was kind of an outsider but still almost made it -- probably the bubble forward. Will be in Utica next year, but has exceeded expecations this year by a significant margin. Not a lock to make it to the NHL but a good prospect at this stage. McCann: Grade B, Age 18 Not much to say so far. It was disappointing that he was not even invited to selection camp for the Canadian juniors, but he has been having a solid year in the OHL despite a setback from mono. Should make the Canadian world juniors next year. I would say his progress is pretty close to reasonable expectations for a low first round draft pick. Virtanen: Grade A+, Age 18 Coming off surgery this year, Virtanen has done very well. Earned a spot on the Canadian world juniors, which was far from obvious. (Only CDC thought he was a lock.) Despite being one of the youngest guys on the Canadian world juniors he appears to be the best skater, has a great shot, and already has NHL size and strength. If he is made available for the world juniors next year I see him as a lock for the first line. And, although it is early, I think he has the highest NHL ceiling of all the Canuck prospects. I see him as a potential NHL first liner. Expectations were high but I think he has exceeded reasonable expectations so far. Bottom line: Things looks much better than they did last year and vastly better than the year before, but it is still not clear where the successors to the Sedins are coming from. I think the Canucks need at least one more high draft pick of the quality of Virtanen and Horvat in order to build a contender down the road. I am not in favour of tanking for draft picks, but if the Canucks do miss the playoffs (and i put the odds at 50-50) I am hoping for McDavid in the draft lottery! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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