Canucks are ranked third in The Athletic’s 2020-21 organizational rankings

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 03: Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks is congratulated by his teammates, Christopher Tanev and J.T. Miller after scoring a goal against the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 03, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 03: Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks is congratulated by his teammates, Christopher Tanev and J.T. Miller after scoring a goal against the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 03, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Corey Pronman of The Athletic placed the Vancouver Canucks third in his 2020-21 NHL organizational rankings.

The Vancouver Canucks‘ slow and often frustrating rebuild is finally over, and their Stanley Cup window is just starting to open.

After getting past the Minnesota Wild in the qualifying round to officially end a five-year playoff drought, the Canucks met the St. Louis Blues in round one. Bo Horvat and company absolutely dominated the defending Stanley Cup champions, dispatching them in six games to win their first postseason series in nine years.

Vancouver met the powerhouse Vegas Golden Knights in the second round, and despite being thoroughly dominated in every aspect, this young team found a way to push it to a seventh game (thanks to the heroics of Thatcher Demko).

The Canucks ran out of magic in the decisive game, however, losing by a final score of 3-0. The Cinderella season came to an abrupt and heartbreaking end. But this organization and fanbase know that the brighter days are ahead.

Few NHL teams are better built to win now and in the next five years than the Canucks. The bulk of their core players are 25 and under. Veterans J.T. Miller and Tanner Pearson have plenty of productive years left, too.

In his 2020-21 NHL organizational rankings, Corey Pronman of The Athletic (subscription required) placed the Canucks third. The rankings were based on players who are 22 years of age or younger as well as the team prospects.

Because his articles are behind a paywall, I won’t quote nor summarize what he said, and I won’t share the player rankings.

Obviously, not much of an explanation is needed here.

The 25-year-old Horvat is getting better every year. Top centre Elias Pettersson turns 22 in November, and he’s only entering his prime years. Sniper Brock Boeser is only 23, and rising superstar defenceman Quinn Hughes will be 21 next month.

General manager Jim Benning added more star power to this team’s prospect pool at the 2019 draft with the selections of Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander. The blue line is loaded with quality prospects, too. This includes Olli Juolevi, Jett Woo, Jack Rathbone and Jalen Chatfield.

Most of the top teams in the Western Conference — the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, Golden Knights and Blues — consist of several ageing core players, and their prospect pools aren’t as deep as Vancouver’s.

Other than maybe the Colorado Avalanche, one can argue that among all Western Conference teams, Vancouver is best built to win a Stanley Cup in 2021 and in 2026.

Next. Canucks likeliest to end Canada's Cup drought?. dark

Needless to say, the future has never looked brighter for the Canucks.