Can the Vancouver Canucks look at their prospects pool and say “quality over quantity”?
The Vancouver Canucks have a solid number of prospects who have been either steals from the later rounds or undrafted free agent signings out of NCAA or the juniors. So far through our rankings, we have seen numerous hard-working character players who have high-ceiling projections.
But no NHL team is ever built with a dozen Milan Lucics or with a dozen Jonah Gadjoviches. No winning blueline is built with six Evan McEnenys, nor is it built with six Kristoffer Gunnarssons. At the end of the day, the true question is this:
Do the Canucks have quality prospects?
I mean, a prospects pool is only as good as the NHL players it produces, right?
As great as having ten picks in a seven-round draft is, those ten picks pale in value compared to two picks in the first ten selections. As we dive deeper into our prospects rankings and into the top ten this week, we will be able to put together a true assessment of the quality of the Canucks prospects pipeline.
No more undersized boom-or-bust prospects. No more overage juniors who have big question marks whether they will ever succeed at the pro level. It’s time for the real deal. It’s time for the real players.
We present to you Week 3 of The Canuck Way 2017 Canucks Prospects Ranking.
The Canuck Way 2017 Canucks Prospects Ranking
Our TCW staff ranked all Canucks prospects. The criteria: whatever each writer thinks is important. Current position in the organization, talent, potential, and chance of NHL success. All prospects under 24 years of age were considered as long as they did not spend significant time in the NHL.
After looking at the newly drafted Kole Lind yesterday, let’s wrap up the week with another right winger, Nikolay Goldobin at No. 6!
No. 6 RW Nikolay Goldobin
Weight: 185 lbs
DOB: 1995-10-07 (Age 21)
Drafted: 27th Overall, 2014 Entry Draft
2016-17 Stats: 49GP – 19G – 45PTS – 16PIM (AHL, San Jose & Utica)
Acquired from the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline via a trade involving Jannik Hansen, Nikolay Goldobin ended the year in the AHL with the Utica Comets on a real high note, scoring four goals in the last three games of the season. What will those few fantastic games under coach Travis Green do for Goldobin? Will he finally make the jump to the NHL?
Strengths: Speed & Offensive skill set
Goldobin has an impressive history of producing offensively everywhere he plays away from NHL competition. He was one of the top players in his age group when in Finland three years ago. He left the OHL with a career 1.20 points-per-game and boasted a near point-per-game production in the AHL last year.
His production is mainly due to his offensive smarts. He reads plays very well and has the skilled hands that enable him to shoot, pass and dangle. Though his smarts primarily make him a passer and a playmaker, his top-notch skating and his quick hands allow him to score when the option is there.
Goldobin is a very fast skater and is quite shifty as well.
All in all, Goldobin is a complete offensive package with the speed that is suitable for today’s NHL. There is not much more to say because he has the skill to do everything offensively.
Weaknesses: Physical play & Work ethic
Though the offensive upside is undeniably high for Goldobin, there are a lot of “if”s that accompany that upside. His size is not the most ideal and therefore he must withstand the physical rigour of the NHL if he wants to make all the plays that he wants to make.
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That means Goldobin must get stronger and heavier without losing the agility of his steps.
One area of concern with Goldobin was in his work ethic on and off the ice. He isn’t a troublemaker in any way like Evander Kane is, but in the first years in San Jose, there were question marks surrounding his lack of professionalism, especially off the ice.
Now the off-ice things seem to have gone away but the 21-year-old’s on-ice product seems to still lack the kind of defensive effort that Travis Green and Jim Benning are looking for.
Goldobin did impress Green in three AHL games, scoring four goals. Will that be enough to prove himself ready for the NHL? Regardless of if it impressed Green enough or not, Goldobin should add a more defensive element to his play. A few extra pounds on his frame would also help to be defensively assertive.
Projection: Top-6 Scoring winger
Goldobin has great offensive capabilities that cannot be contained in a bottom-six role. Goldobin doesn’t have the physical frame or the dominating two-way play to make him a first-line guy, however. Though some players with immense offensive talent can get away with a little less defence, Goldobin isn’t that elite of an offensive guy, either.
For those reasons, we project Nikolay Goldobin to be a second-line scoring winger who will see a good amount of time on the powerplay.
– 2017 TheCanuckWay Prospects Ranking Top 20 –
#7 – RW Kole Lind
#8 – C Adam Gaudette
#9 – RW Jake Virtanen
#10 – LW Jonah Gadjovich
#11 – D Jordan Subban
#12 – F William Lockwood
#13 – G Michael DiPietro
#14 – D Guillaume Brisebois
#15 – D Evan McEneny
#16 – F Petrus Palmu
#17 – D Jack Rathbone
#18 – D Jalen Chatfield
#19 – F Cole Cassels
#20 – D Kristoffer Gunnarsson
The Honourable Mentions
Coming to a new team and adjusting to the systems is difficult. Goldobin did it admirably and flashed skill and potential in a short stint. There is a lot to like about his development and should he put together a fine summer’s workout and come to camp ready physically, he should be a top contributor on a thin Canucks right-wing depth.