RW Alexandre Grenier (12.0)
It was tough to even find 10 prospects worth putting on a top-10 list, but in the end, there were two players who just missed — one of them is Alexandre Grenier. The 24-year-old was selected 90th overall by the Canucks in the 2011 NHL Draft and finally looks like someone who can make an impact at the NHL level.
Grenier is a late bloomer who did not break into major junior — the QMJHL to be exact — until he was 19. After that, he spent the lockout season 2012-13 in Austria playing for Red Bull Salzburg and with the Canucks’ ECHL affiliate, the Kalamazoo Wings.
At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Grenier has the perfect frame for a bottom-six winger — but he will likely never become more than that. Grenier is big, physical, and possesses a big shot. Through 51 games for the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets this season, Grenier has 10 goals and 30 points. As said, those numbers are nothing outstanding and do not indicate that Grenier can be more than a bottom-six winger, but he is exactly what the Canucks need — big, physical, skilled.
Management knows that, so Grenier got to make his NHL debut this season. Where will he go from here? We shall see.
Floor: AHL top-six winger
Ceiling: NHL third-line winger
LW Ronalds Kenins (11.8)
Unlike Grenier, 25-year-old forward Ronalds Kenins is in no way a late bloomer. In fact, Kenins played his first professional season aged 16. After leaving his home country Latvia to pursue a professional career, it did not take long for Kenins to make an impact in Switzerland’s second-highest division, the National Liga B.
However, playing mostly professional hockey for five years, including two seasons with the ZSC Lions of the National Liga A, was neither enough for Kenins to be drafted nor to garner attention after his draft eligibility. Until the Canucks came.
Vancouver signed Kenins as an unrestricted free agent in 2013, loaned him to Zurich for another year, and added him to the Utica Comets for the 2014-15 season. But Kenins had bigger plans. Instead of being a depth player at the AHL level, Kenins ended up playing 30 games for the Vancouver Canucks, recording four goals and eight assists.
The 2015-16 campaign has not been as successful for the Latvian who only spent just six games with the Canucks so far, going scoreless. Nevertheless, Kenins upside is slightly higher of that of Grenier. Kenins is a quick player who works hard to create scoring chances. If everything goes right, he could end up being a middle-six forward
Floor: AHL middle-six winger
Ceiling: NHL middle-six winger
Next: Canucks Prospect #10