The Vancouver Canucks have a promising young core, led by Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. We take a look at where their U-24 “core four” ranked on TSN’s list.
Long gone are the days where the Vancouver Canucks core four consisted of the Sedin twins, Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo. In just a few short years, general manager Jim Benning has transitioned this team’s core into Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser, with more promising young players on the way.
Considering how the Canucks have tried “rebuilding on the fly” instead of tearing it all down, the front office has done an excellent job in replenishing this team’s future with a handful of rising, young stars.
Frank Seravalli of TSN listed every NHL team’s “core four” of players under the age of 24, and placed the Canucks 10th. He listed them as “the wild card”, and moved them up 11 spots from last year. Seravalli listed Horvat, Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Thatcher Demko as Vancouver’s core four.
Here’s what he said about the Canucks U-24 core:
"The Canucks are the true wild card of the Core Four, because unlike the other teams in the Top 10, half of their entry is based on projection. But with Peterson lighting up the Swedish Hockey League and a potential No. 1 netminder in Demko, we’ll take that bet. They’d join Boeser, who is already a point-per-game player and a natural born leader at centre in Horvat ready to take over for the Sedins."
For what it’s worth, the Toronto Maple Leafs unsurprisingly took the top spot, with the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets following. How nice it must be to get lucky in the draft lottery and win the likes of Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid and Patrik Laine.
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Horvat has undoubtedly emerged as the face of the Canucks franchise. In what was a miserable 2016-17 season for the team, Horvat still posted 20 goals and 52 points — leading the team in scoring. He has seven goals and 14 points in 18 games thus far.
Boeser — one of the top-ranked prospects over the last two years — currently leads the team in scoring with 15 points in as many games. The ‘Killer B’s’ have fronted the Canucks offence, alongside Sven Baertschi.
Pettersson was drafted fifth-overall by the Canucks in the 2017 Entry Draft. He has 18 points in 16 games with Växjö Lakers HC of the SHL thus far, though he’s likely at least two years away from the NHL.
Demko was selected with the 36th pick in 2014, and is currently 4-3-1 with the AHL Utica Comets. He’s widely been regarded as the goalie of the future, and should see the NHL at some point in 2017-18 or 2018-19.
So taking into account what we’ve seen so far, the 10th spot looks safe and sound for the Canucks. The main concern is that none of their players or prospects project to be on the level of Matthews, McDavid or even other talents like Mark Scheifele, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
But Vancouver has a number of quality young players and prospects that should transition this team into a perennial playoff squad in the near future. Horvat has already proven himself, Boeser is an early Calder Trophy favorite, while Petterson and Demko are showing the signs of being future NHL stars.
It’s hard not to agree with Seravalli’s rankings of the Canucks, and he only adds more optimism to this team’s bright looking future.
*Stats courtesy of Hockey Reference, Elite Prospects and Hockey DB*