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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (09/18)

September 18, 2013
Top 10 Prospects 2013
Vancouver Canucks

by Corey Pronman

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Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

Vancouver Canucks Top 10 Prospects

1. Hunter Shinkaruk, Center
2. Bo Horvat, Center
3. Frankie Corrado, Defense
4. Nicklas Jensen, Left Wing
5. Brendan Gaunce, Center
6. Jordan Subban, Defense
7. Henrik Tommernes, Defense
8. Eddie Lack, Goaltender
9. Joseph LaBate, Center
10. Patrick McNally, Defense

Organizational Ranking: 20th

System Overview

The Canucks system is a top heavy one; their top two are strong, and overall, their top four or five make up a pretty good core. However, the lower end of their system really lacks depth. That is not to say that there are not potential NHL players among Vancouverís top 15-17 prospects, but most in that range either have notable question marks or low upsides.

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1. Hunter Shinkaruk, Center
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 10/13/1994
Age: 18
Height: 5'10''
Weight: 181
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 64 GP, 37 G, 86 P (Medicine Hat, WHL)
Acquired: First round, 24th overall in 2013 by Vancouver

Year in Review: Shinkaruk was a top offensive player in the WHL again, and he was a second team All Star in his conference.

The Good: Shinkaruk has unique offensive talent, and he can make a lot of plays. He is a very agile and shifty skater with a powerful stride. Shinkaruk's puck skills are high end, as he displays great coordination and creativity. His hands and his agility make him quite a tough player to check, even in tight spaces. Shinkaruk thinks the game well on offense, as he flashes good vision and makes quick plays. He also has an above-average shot.

The Bad: Shinkaruk's physical game is a notable concern, as he is a small player who needs bulk and does not really have an aggressive element to his game. His defensive game also is a concern.

Projection: He could be a top line forward.

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2. Bo Horvat, Center
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 04/05/1995
Age: 18
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 206
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 67 GP, 33 G, 61 P (London, OHL)
Acquired: First round, ninth overall in 2013 by Vancouver

Year in Review: Horvat trended up all season. He looked very good in the second half of the OHL season, and he was the OHL Playoffs MVP.

The Good: Horvat is one of the more well-rounded prospects outside the NHL. He is a strong, tough, skilled center with defensive ability. Horvat displays impressive hand-eye coordination, and he got more comfortable with his puck creativity as the season went on, helping him to emerge as a playmaker. Horvat skates well, works hard, and drives the net, all of which make him difficult for defensemen to deal with. He plays against good players, takes important faceoffs, and generally can be used in any situation.

The Bad: There is not really much to put here. Horvat is not a dynamic player, and he could ideally put up more points, but aside from gaining more experience and strength, it is hard to nitpick him.

Projection: He could be a below-average top line center with good defensive value.

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3. Frankie Corrado, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 3rd
Date of birth: 03/26/1993
Age: 20
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 191
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 69 GP, 7 G, 45 P (Sudbury/Kitchener, OHL)
Acquired: Fifth round, 150th overall in 2011 by Vancouver

Year in Review: Corrado continued to progress, as he was a good two-way defenseman in his last OHL season. He was a final cut from Canada's World Junior team.

The Good: Corrado is a really good skater. He is mobile and agile in every direction, and he has the first step to pinch or activate from the back end. He can also rush the puck well. He thinks the game at a high-end level, as he rarely makes mistakes, and he does not panic with the puck. Corrado makes a lot of stops, is great with his gap control, and makes a good outlet.

The Bad: Corrado's pure offensive upside is his question mark. While he has progressed in that area, he remains just about average. He also could get gain more strength.

Projection: He could be an good second pairing defenseman.

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4. Nicklas Jensen, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: 1st
Date of birth: 03/16/1993
Age: 20
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 203
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 50 GP, 17 G, 23 P (AIK, SHL) / 20 GP, 2 G, 4 P (Chicago, AHL)
Acquired: First round, 29th overall in 2011 by Vancouver

Year in Review: Jensen was a quality offensive player in the SHL, especially for a U20. He was one of AIK's top offensive options, although his minutes were not too high. He was below average in the AHL.

The Good: Jensen is a very gifted offensive player. He has great puck skills and can, at times, make really difficult plays due to his combination of size and skill. Jensen has a good frame, protects the puck well, and gets to the net well when he drives. Jensen also has a high-end shot, with great technique on his release.

The Bad: Jensen's skating is roughly average. While he has a clean stride, he could generate more power. His defensive game notably needs improvement. His consistency remains an issue as well.

Projection: He could be a quality second line winger.

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5. Brendan Gaunce, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 2nd
Date of birth: 03/25/1994
Age: 19
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 215
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 60 GP, 33 G, 60 P (Belleville, OHL)
Acquired: First round, 26th overall in 2012 by Vancouver

Year in Review: Gaunce had a solid season; he was one Belleville's best forwards at both ends of the ice.

The Good: Gaunce is a big, strong forward who plays a pretty impressive power game. He hits well, wins battles, and attacks the high percentage areas. Gaunce works hard at both ends, displaying impressive defensive IQ. He has a solid skill level with good hands in tight. Gaunce also displays above-average vision and offensive instincts.

The Bad: Gaunce's skating still is not the best. His top speed is average, but he is not a blazer or a very elusive player. Exactly how high his offensive upside can go is also a minor question mark on his game.

Projection: He could be an above-average regular, although it is unclear if he will do so as a checker or scorer.

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6. Jordan Subban, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 03/03/1995
Age: 18
Height: 5'9''
Weight: 175
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 68 GP, 15 G, 51 P (Belleville, OHL)
Acquired: Fourth round, 115th overall in 2013 by Vancouver

Year in Review: Subban was one of the OHL's top offensive defensemen. He ranked third on his team in scoring.

The Good: Subban is a top-end skater with the ability to push the pace up the ice and get back quickly even when he is deep in the offensive zone. He is a very gifted player with the puck. He has the hands, flashiness, and pace to his game to make players miss, as well as create offense quickly. Subban has good vision and overall quality offensive hockey sense. He works hard, and he will battle well for a little guy.

The Bad: As mentioned, Subban is pretty small, especially for a defenseman. He can be overly risky with his rushes and offensive attempts. He also needs work on his defensive reads, and he needs to bulk up a lot.

Projection: He could be a second pairing defenseman who is great on the power play, but also somewhat sheltered.

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7. Henrik Tommernes, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 08/28/1990
Age: 22
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 185
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 54 GP, 5 G, 16 P (Frolunda, SHL)
Acquired: Seventh round, 210th overall in 2011 by Vancouver

Year in Review: Tommernes had a good last season in the SHL, where he played a ton of minutes for Frolunda.

The Good: Tommernes is a gifted offensive defenseman. "He's just so quick," said one NHL source who praised his above-average to plus skating skills. Tommernes' agility, mobility, and speed make him a nuisance to check. He is able to stay with faster forwards. He is also a skilled puck mover with good offensive hockey sense, and he excels on the man advantage. Tommernes can make difficult plays with the puck.

The Bad: Tommernesís most notable weaknesses have historically been in his own end. While he has improved in that area, especially with his reads, he could use a little more work. He is slightly undersized, and not the toughest guy on his checks, either.

Projection: He could be a fringe second pairing or good third pairing defenseman who slots in on a power play.

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8. Eddie Lack, Goaltender
2011-12 Ranking: 8th
Date of birth: 01/05/1988
Age: 25
Height: 6'4''
Weight: 200
Catches: Left
Statistics: 13 GP, .899 SV% (Chicago, AHL)
Acquired: Free agent

Year in Review: Lack's season did not go as planned due to a hip injury that affected his performance and made him miss most of the campaign.

The Good: Lack is a calm goalie in the net who does not tend to overreact positioning-wise, but when he needs to make a second save, he shows good effort fighting through traffic or trying to scramble up loose pucks. Lack is also an athletically-gifted player who moves well for his size. He reads the play well, and squares up pucks consistently with his giant frame.

The Bad: Lack, despite his injuries, was inconsistent in his small amount of games last season, and he sometimes displayed a lack of focus. He lacks a game-breaking element, as he will not be a player who steals games at the NHL level.

Projection: He could be a league-average goaltender.

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9. Joseph LaBate, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 9th
Date of birth: 04/16/1993
Age: 20
Height: 6'4''
Weight: 200
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 41 GP, 9 G, 23 P (Wisconsin, NCAA)
Acquired: Fourth round, 101st overall in 2011 by Vancouver

Year in Review: LaBate had a solid sophomore season, although his scoring production remained roughly the same as the season before.

The Good: LaBate is a pretty toolsy player. He is a big forward who can make above-average offensive plays. He has good vision and can flash solid puck skills. Given his size and age, he is already a pretty coordinated player. He can protect the puck well with his big frame, establish position in front of the net, and win battles.

The Bad: LaBate just does not really stand out in any one area of the game. His skating is just average, he is a good (not great) offensive player, and he is not a standout defensive forward, either. He could continue to gain strength as well.

Projection: He could be a third line forward.

10. Patrick McNally, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 7th
Date of birth: 12/04/1991
Age: 21
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 7 GP, 1 G, 3 P (Harvard, NCAA)
Acquired: Fourth round, 115th overall in 2010 by Vancouver

Year in Review: McNally missed most of the season due to a suspension by Harvard.

The Good: McNally is a really gifted offensive player with a lot of tools. He is a high-end skater and puck handler who can really dazzle with his skill. He also flashes high-end vision. His top speed and acceleration are great, and while he can weave in and out of traffic, he can also slow the play down. McNally has a big shot from the point.

The Bad: McNally's main issue has always been his defense. He has good hockey sense in terms of creativity, but his reads and risk averseness are not impressive, as he frequently can be caught out of position. The suspension and significant missed time are obvious knocks as well.

Projection: He could be a third pairing defenseman, a power play specialist with an outside chance of being a top-four player.

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The Next Five

11. Anton Cederholm, Defense: He will not wow you with skill, but Cederholm is a good defender with size and mobility who thinks the game well.

12. Alexandre Grenier, Right Wing: Grenier bounced between the Austrian league, ECHL, and the AHL last season. He has good hands, finishing skill, and a big frame but needs to get a quicker first step.

13. Joacim Eriksson, Goaltender: Eriksson has a fine all-around skill set. He is calm and squares up pucks well. He lacks a dynamic element, per one Swedish scout.

14. Darren Archibald, Left Wing: Archibald skates well, and plays an above-average power forward game. He flashes decent hand-eye coordination, but he is not an overly creative player.

15. Peter Andersson, Defense: Andersson is a big defenseman who skates well for his size and makes good defensive reads, but he brings little in terms of offensive skill.

The Sleeper: Miles Liberati, Defense

Liberati skates really well with flashes of good offensive skill. He is still quite raw, but there is "puck moving defenseman" potential in his game.

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Vancouver Canucks Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2013 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1. Hunter Shinkaruk, Center
2. Bo Horvat, Center
3. Zack Kassian, Right Wing
4. Frankie Corrado, Defense
5. Nicklas Jensen, Left Wing
6. Jordan Schroeder, Center
7. Brendan Gaunce, Center
8. Jordan Subban, Defense
9. Henrik Tommernes, Defense
10. Eddie Lack, Goaltender

Kassian was below average in the NHL last season, and while he did not get a ton of ice time, he was given opportunities to succeed, including playing alongside the Sedins at one point. He is a big, skilled forward who can flash tremendous upside, but his lack of consistency, and at times, poor on-ice sense has not led to a breakout yet. He has the tools to be a top line power forward. Schroeder added better defensive elements to his game last season, but as a small, fast, skilled player, his game is on offense. He could still potentially be a top-six player, but he needs to show more at the NHL level soon.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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