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Jordan Schroeder hopes to show he's ready for prime time.
As usual over these past few years, the Canucks are not exactly deep with young prospects ready to step in and play a major role in the big leagues.
Nicklas Jensen is doing all right as a 19-year-old in the Swedish Elite League, although his team AIK is not very good at all. He'll likely stay in Sweden for the rest of the year.
19-year-old defenseman Frank Corrado is having a good year. The fifth-round draft choice in 2011 had a strong Subway Super Series and was invited to Team Canada's World Junior Selection Camp, where he was a late cut among much more highly touted players. The 6'1", 190-pound blueliner has 27 points in 41 games for the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL's tough Central Division. Corrado will likely finish out the season in junior and get a good long look at the 2013-14 training camp.
Among the Chicago Wolves, the Canucks know what they're getting with dependable Chris Tanev, who's been working to add a bit of offensive spark to his game. Big Kevin Connauton is enjoying a decent season and will also get a look before the season starts—more likely as a potential injury replacement if one the Canucks' core blueliners goes down. At forward, Zack Kassian will almost certainly make the lineup, while Ebbett and Schroeder fight it out for the open spot at center.
The Wolves have had an up-and-down year so it's hard to know how any of the farmhands would fit into a role with Vancouver. Compared to the veterans, they may benefit from the fact that they've been seeing regular game action and will be in midseason form.
Goaltender Eddie Lack will likely stay in Chicago unless Mike Gillis pulls the trigger abruptly on a Roberto Luongo trade and doesn't get a backup goaltender back in return.
After the months of uncertainty, it's exciting to think that we'll finally start to get some answers about just what lies ahead with Vancouver's prospects. Let the games begin!
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