NHL training camps are coming soon. We will preview every team’s important prospect information, going today with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Vancouver Canucks have remained remarkably consistent in a strong western conference. While young teams like Winnipeg, Calgary, and Nashville have emerged, the Canucks have stayed a contender.
Part of this is due to the young players on their roster and their developing farm system. Their American Hockey League affiliate, the Utica Comets, made an appearance in the Calder Cup this past year where they represented the western conference. They fell to the Manchester Monarchs, the then Los Angeles Kings affiliate.
The top prospect for the Canucks is Cole Cassels, who will compete for a sport on the Canucks roster. More than likely the now 20 year old will begin the season with Utica, but there is a good chance he sees at least a little bit of NHL time. The skills that Cassels apply are the reason he is being considered for an NHL role. The center is a star offensively but he also plays a solid two way game, drawing comparisons to Patrice Bergeron.
Jake Virtanen is another elite prospect who played in the Comets playoff run after his WHL team, the Calgary Hitmen, were eliminated from the playoffs. Virtanen is 19 years old so he can’t be sent to the AHL once the season begins. It’s NHL or bust for him this season, so it should be expected that he makes the roster out of camp to get his chance.
Jared McCann is another top center prospect with the Canucks but it should be expected that he will be returned to the OHL to start the 2015-2016 season.
Jordan Subban is the Canucks top blueline prospect. He set a record with the most goals by a defenseman in Belleville Bulls history last season. He’s offensively skilled and projected to be better than his older brother, PK, a Norris trophy winning defenseman with the Montreal Canadiens.
In net the Canucks are set long term with Thatcher Demko, who is currently playing in the NCAA with the Boston College Eagles. He is coming off of hip surgery but will be ready for the start of the NCAA season and the Canucks will be keeping a sharp eye on their netminder.
The Canucks have a strong system and a bright future. Going into the 2015-2016 NHL season, Cole Cassels and Jake Virtanen are the ones with a shot at having an impact right away.