As the Canucks crawl and grind towards a playoff spot, their prospects are exceeding expectations across North America.
Watching the Canucks can be infuriating as they lose the basement dwellers of the NHL, and then beat some of the best in the league. Canucks fans will look for solace, and that can come from their ‘future’. Lets all feel a little better and look at some Canucks prospects in the March edition of the Vancity Buzz Prospects Report.
3 GP – 1 G, 3 A, 4 Pts (Utica – AHL)
On trade deadline day, the Canucks made a last minute deal to acquire former 1st round pick Sven Baertschi from the Calgary Flames. Baertschi immediately becomes the Canucks most NHL-ready prospect, and is also a serious contender for the best prospect within the organization.
Drafted 13th overall in 2011 by Calgary, Baertschi seems to have fallen off the tracks a bit. But if his first few games in Utica are an indication, it may have been more the Flames mismanagement then Baertschi’s fault.
Baertschi goal gif, because I'm the blogger who can get you whatever you want. pic.twitter.com/JBhAJZvgwU
— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) March 9, 2015
I saw Baertschi a few times when he played for the Abbotsford Heat and he was always one of the most noticeable players on the ice.
GM Jim Benning held a press conference after acquiring Baertschi, and it seems he agrees that Baertschi needed a change of scenery to get back on track:
Yeah I was surprised, but for whatever reason sometimes players need a change of scenery, I think Sven is sort of at that point. A couple years ago scouting all through North America, I thought Sven was the best junior in the country. He was a dynamic player and he played on some real good teams, he played for Mike Johnston who likes to play a fast style of game, and he was excellent. I can’t comment on his development the last couple of years, but we’re very excited to have him, we think he fits our profile of being a fast, talented, skilled player so I think he’s going to fit in good with our young players going forward.
It looks like Jim Benning knows what he’s getting in Baertschi. Although the price of a 2nd round pick to acquire Baertschi is a tough pill to swallow, I have a feeling that the Canucks just stole a gem from their division rivals.
55GP – 33G, 44A, 77 Pts (Sault Ste. Marie – OHL)
#Canucks prospect Jared McCann extends his point streak to 12 games – he has 23 PTS (11-12-23) during this streak.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) March 7, 2015
During last month’s prospect report, I mentioned that Jared McCann was on fire. Somehow he has turned it up a notch because since that report he hasn’t had a pointless game. He is currently 14th in OHL scoring and continues to rise. With the OHL season ending soon, McCann and the Sault St Marie Greyhounds now turn their focus towards the Memorial Cup.
In order to get to the Memorial Cup, McCann will likely need to get through the Erie Otters, who are led by phenom Connor McDavid. If they get past them, the Greyhounds will then likely face the Oshawa Generals, who feature fellow Canucks prospect Cole Cassels. So it won’t be an easy road for the Greyhounds but they do have the depth to make it.
McCann suffered a broken finger last week, but is expected to return within a couple of weeks.
Jared McCann will be expected to lead the Greyhounds attack and also lead their defensive play. I hope they make the Memorial Cup, so that Canucks fans can get a good look at McCann as he is turned into quite the player. The Canucks are lucky to have him in their prospect pool.
44 GP – 20 G, 29 A, 49 Pts (Calgary – WHL)
It seems we can’t go a month without Jake Virtanen making it to the highlight reels in one way or another. This month Jake showed why he is a physical force all over the ice as he puts defenceman 6’5″ Jared Hauf into the bench:
Although Virtanen will not match the 45 goals he scored last year, he has been raking up the assists, and has already surpassed his total from last season (in far fewer games). Always labeled as a ‘shoot first’ sniper, his assist totals are very encouraging. It shows that he is seeing the ice better and using his teammates to create offence.
A few weeks ago the Calgary Hitmen were struggling to string wins together, but recently they have turned it around. They are currently ranked 10th in the CHL, and are a serious contender for the WHL championship.
Canucks fans should be salivating at the thought of McCann and Virtanen meeting at the Memorial Cup.
Feaure Image: media.columbian.com