How well do you know your Vancouver Canucks prospects? Want to learn more about the up and coming players within the organization? Well look no further then the Vancity Buzz Canucks Prospect Report.
I will update you about the players making waves in the Canucks organization, as they hope to one day suit up for the NHL team. This edition will feature Joacim Eriksson, Alexandre Grenier, Henrik Tommernes and Bo Horvat. For this edition, I made the trip down Highway 1 and saw the Vancouver Canucks affiliate, Utica Comets, take on the Abbotsford Heat.
25 GP – 11-11-2 2 S/O .912 Save %, 2.60 GAA
Unfortunately, and unfairly, Joacim Eriksson is being remembered for his appearance in the 9-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks last month, where he came in relief for Eddie Lack and let in 6 goals. A poor start to his NHL career isn’t holding him back, as he was named AHL player of the week last week after going 3-0-0 with a 1.41 GAA and .953 S%.
Eriksson struggled at the beginning of the season as he was adjusting to the North American game after years in the Swedish Hockey League. But since mid-December, he has been fantastic, and has led the Utica Comets in a charge to try and make the playoffs in the AHL. When seeing him live, he looked positionally sound, with good lateral movement and rebound control. He made two fantastic saves during the first game that allowed the Comets to win the game in overtime.
The Vancouver Canucks have started to slowly turn their old reputation of a ‘Goalie Graveyard’ around as Cory Schneider and Eddie Lack have both been groomed into very good goalies, and I expect Eriksson to continue that trend upwards within the next two years as he continues to get more comfortable in North American rinks.
41GP – 15 G, 12 A, 27 P
When seeing Alexandre Grenier on the ice, the first thing that is apparent, is that he is big and can skate very well. Being measured at 6’5″ and 200 pounds, Grenier is the exact type of player the Canucks need in their bottom 6. At the moment, Grenier is tied for goals on the Utica Comets with 15, and has started to take a bigger role in Utica.
When in Abbotsford, I specifically watched Grenier, as there has been criticism about the defensive parts of his game, but I found that he was able to get in on the forecheck, finish his checks, while still creating offense for him and his line-mates. As most Canucks fans are aware with Zack Kassian, the power-forward type of player can take longer to develop, but if this year is any indication, the Canucks have found a gem in Alexandre Grenier, as he seems to be able to adapt to any role and still make an impact.
34 GP – 4 G, 7 A, 11 P
Henrik Tommernes was a 7th round pick in 2011 for the Vancouver Canucks, and like Joacim Eriksson, had played all of his career in the Swedish Hockey League before making the leap over to Utica this year. With that being said, in the early parts of the season Henrik also struggled to adjust to the North American style of game, but over the last 6-8 weeks, Tommernes has turned into the power-play quarterback that the Vancouver Canucks hoped he would develop into.
During the first game in Abbotsford, the Comets had Tommernes and Schroeder manning the points and Tommernes ended the game with 7 shots, and I counted at least another 4 shots that were blocked. Tommernes has a good blend of puck movement and a booming shot that should translate well to the NHL.
36 GP – 21 G, 33 A, 54P
I just couldn’t do the first prospect report without including the Canucks top prospect. Bo Horvat represented Canada at the World Junior championships this past December. Although he didn’t have a strong offensive showing in the tournament, he still made an impact every shift with his strong two way play. Unfortunately for Bo, and for Canada, they finished 4th in the tournament for the second straight year.
Horvat returned to London in the Ontario Hockey League has continued to be a leader on a team, as host will be headed for the Memorial Cup. Although he has only put up 6 points in 7 games since returning from Sweden, he has been regarded as being a controlling and pushing the play.
Unfairly for Bo Horvat, he will always be compared to Cory Schneider as he was the only piece that the Canucks received in the well documented trade. But as long as the Canucks, and their fans, are patient with Bo, I really feel that the Canucks will have a very good centre in Bo that will help the Canucks in both ends of the ice.