Corey Pronman from the Athletic ranked every team’s farm system in the NHL. The Canucks are nearly at the top, with the second best in the league.
The Vancouver Canucks may not be a good team, but fans have something to celebrate. Depending on who you talk to, Corey Pronman is one of the go-to analysts out there for prospects. Maybe you don’t like some of his takes. He doesn’t always go with what’s popular and his own tendencies, as most scouts do. Whether you like him or not, he works tirelessly like many scouts around the world.
If you’re not a fan of Pronman, you may have a new reason to like him. He just finished a series for the Athletic, ranking every single farm system in the NHL. The Canucks had the second best system in the league.
I will let you know, right now, it is behind a paywall. This means I can’t cut out quotes and I feel I can only touch on the Canucks’ rank and Pronman’s methodology.
So, second best in the league. Not too shabby, Vancouver. Granted, losing for this long contributes to the rebuild, so bask in the sun, Canucks fans. While it’s still here. The Buffalo Sabres finished first (funny how it’s just like the 1970 Expansion Draft).
Their fans were, not as enthusiastic as Canucks fans, for good reason too. Their rebuild is still going on after being terrible for a very long time. Perhaps that’s a future for the Canucks, but the excitement of shiny prospects brushes that fear aside.
Like I said, I can’t go into too much detail. It’s up to you if you want to pay to see one of the more positive Canucks articles out there. Pronman had his own tiers of prospects and all I can say is that having top-end prospects definitely helped vault the team to the top (nearly).
While on Sportsnet 650, Pronman referred to Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes as elite prospects which helped the Canucks’ ranking. However, he was honest in saying that every team has a Kole Lind or Jonah Gadjovich. This is why I advocate not putting the cart before the horse. Lind is a good player, but is not even close to a Hughes or Pettersson. Yet, Canucks fans think they are all similar. Not all, of course, but you know who you are.
Eligible players haven’t graduated to the NHL, hence the farm system. This is where other people noticed something very important. Here’s what Jason Hamilton from CanucksArmy had to say.
This is absolutely true. Look at the current roster. The only players on the roster drafted by Jim Benning are Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen (I will get to Pettersson in a bit). Fortunately, Bo Horvat was already in the system before Benning took over.
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How about New Jersey? Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt all made the NHL. Toronto has William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and more on the way, yet the Leafs are ranked 20th with all that young talent on the roster. I could keep going as the stronger teams already have their talent graduated to the big leagues.
Having Olli Juolevi‘s slow progression helps boost the list ranking for the Canucks. Yet, several players in that first round from 2016 play in the NHL as regulars. However, if Vancouver picked someone else who made the NHL earlier, they wouldn’t be part of the prospect pool. So, the Canucks would drop down the list.
Prospect lists are not always good predictors
As you see, there is a major way to devalue a prospect pool. When Elias Pettersson joins the team, the Canucks lose one of their elite prospects. Therefore, the pool takes a hit. The same thing happens when Hughes and Juolevi eventually make their debuts.
I agree with Jason that players under 23, in and out of the NHL should be a factor. Wouldn’t Canucks fans love to include Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat in this group? Although, those two would have to go with all the elite young players in the NHL. Maybe you wouldn’t want that and possibly lose the bragging rights to Connor McDavid.
Look, the Canucks have a great prospect pool, but that’s where it ends right now. They have a slow translation to the NHL and the shine on the most recent draft class distracts us. Remember, we don’t want to rebuild for a decade. A good team needs to form around these future stars.
And let Buffalo and Edmonton teach you a good lesson. Having the best prospects does not guarantee you success. It certainly helps, but the job does not end there. The team is trying to go for quality over quantity and it’s a slow trickle instead of a flood of talent. They are in a position to not just bring in high end talent, but a lot of it and won’t pounce on the opportunity.
There is nothing wrong with having a good prospect pool. Potential is a good thing. The sky’s the limit until they come crashing down. Some will fall and some will excel, while others may become average players that leave little impact. Enjoy these prospects while you can. Hopefully, these prospects hit the NHL soon. Unless we are in the same place three years from now. Then, we will have a problem.