The Vancouver Canucks have been struggling since their loss to the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup final. That’s due in part to the fact that General Manager Jim Benning has chosen to focus on rebuilding the team for years to come. Now, with all the young talent and prospects set to join the team in the coming years, it won’t be a shock if the Canucks place in the top 10 teams of the NHL and can compete for the Stanley Cup.
During the rebuild stage,Benning has done an exceptional job drafting and making moves for the team. The draft success is going to be a big part of this team for many years. Picks like Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson, who have shown they can perform at the NHL level and light up the league prove that Benning and the Canucks’ scouting team are some of the best. After the Sedin twins retired at the end of the 2017-18 season, you could tell that the next chapter was already unfolding for the Canucks. The young players and prospects in the Canucks system are going to be key to the Canucks’ success, providing them with players to fit every position.
Bo Horvat, selected 9th overall in the 2013 NHL draft, is likely to be the Canucks future captain. Horvat is a top 2 centre and has shown leadership on this team. The Vancouver Canucks traded Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils back in 2013 to acquire the 9th overall pick to select Horvat. Canucks fans were questionable and angry at this trade seeing how they thought Schneider was going to be their future all-star goaltender. Although Schneider is a great goalie the trade turned out good because the Canucks weren’t reaching success anytime soon and Horvat is a two-way centre who will find the back of the net around 20 times per season.
Brock Boeser, selected 23rd in the 2015 NHL draft is a high-scoring winger who has a lethal shot and has proven that he is a dynamic player in the NHL. He will be a top goal scorer every year. In Boeser’s first year in the NHL he had 29 goals and 26 assists in 62 games. The coveted rookie went to the All-Star game last year and won the fan-voted MVP which is hard for a rookie to do, surrounded by the best players in the league. Boeser was also a Calder Cup finalist last year but lost to Barzal due to having an injury and missing a good chunk of the season. Without that injury, he could’ve been thriving.
Jake Virtanen, selected 6th overall in the 2014 draft is a speedy winger who can score and use his body to his advantage. Although Virtanen has shown the signs of an NHL bust early in his career, this season he has stepped up his game and has shown he can be a top 6 forward if he keeps improving.
Elias Pettersson, selected 5th overall in the 2017 NHL draft is a rookie sensation this year and has shown he will be a top 2 centre for the Canucks for many years to come. Pettersson has 17 goals and 19 assists in 33 games this year for the Canucks and last year was named best young player in all of Europe.
Thatcher Demko, selected 34th overall in the 2014 NHL draft is the Vancouver Canucks’ future goalie and is currently developing in the AHL until he is NHL ready. Demko had a save percentage of 0.922 and a goals against average of 2.44 last year for the Utica Comets.
Quinn Hughes, selected 7th overall in the 2018 NHL draft is a small, elite-skating offensive defenseman who will be a top 4 defenseman for the Canucks when he is NHL ready. Quinn played for team USA in the World Juniors this year, and by watching him play you can tell his skating is so smooth, and can read and make plays at a high speed and success rate. Quinn helped team USA to get the silver medal at the World Juniors.
Jonathan Dahlen, selected 42nd overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2016 was acquired in the Alex Burrows trade. Dahlen is Elias Petterssons former linemate and is a good young prospect. Having Dahlen and Pettersson on the same team could bring back chemistry and you may see some Sedin-like plays by these two players in the future.
Adam Gaudette, selected 149th overall in the 2015 NHL draft, is a scoring centremen who had 30 goals and 30 assists in 38 games last year for Northeastern University and on April 6th was named the Hobey Baker award winner.
Michael DiPietro, selected 64th overall in the 2017 NHL draft is a elite goalie prospect who plays for the Ottawa 67’s. “He’s a big-game player who thrives under pressure,” said the 67’s general manager James Boyd. DiPietro was the starting goalie for team Canada this year in the world juniors and in his first game he recorded a shutout in a 14-0 win against Denmark.
These players are big reasons why the Vancouver Canucks will have a lot of success along with other notable mentions include Olli Juolevi, Jonah Gadjovich. The Vancouver Canucks could possibly have the best prospects in the NHL. Having a good group of players in every position is key to winning championships and having two of the best goalie prospects just makes them that much more threatening. The Canucks have a great shot at winning the Stanley Cup 3-5 years from now and will be a dangerous threat in the NHL for years to come.