After a disappointing first-round playoff exit at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, the Vancouver Canucks have emptied quite a few roster spots without filling them through acquisitions or free agency, leading us only to believe that the door is open for some prospects to become regulars.
The following explores the forwards in the Canucks system who may make it through that door.
If you clicked this link hoping for a long list of players waiting to break onto the scene in Vancouver, I hate to disappoint you.
The truth is, the Canucks are no longer viewed as contenders in the NHL, and they don't currently have the young players in their system that will turn that around instantly.
The following list contains five players who will get a shot with the Canucks this season. One might earn his stripes and stay the season, while we will see the other three bounce between the Canucks and their farm team.
Since being drafted 26th overall by the Canucks in the 2012 entry draft, Brendan Gaunce has been a consistent member of the Belleville Bulls of the OHL with back-to-back point-per-game seasons, and currently serves as the team's captain.
At 6'2", 215 lbs, Gaunce's size will make him an attractive option for the NHL as he earns his first start with the Canucks; but Gaunce still has a ways to go before he reaches his potential, and the best opportunity for progression is in the minors.
Gaunce will play in fewer than five games this season.
Bo Horvat was a part of one of the biggest offseason deals in the NHL, which saw Cory Schneider get traded to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for the ninth overall pick (Bo Horvat).
Despite the steep price paid for Horvat, it is still unclear whether or not he'll be ready to join his new NHL team this season.
Many fans are unhappy with the Schneider trade, and because of that, he'll get his shot.
After playing 33 games with the Canucks last season, some would argue that Jordan Schroeder is no longer a prospect, and they might have an argument.
That said, I don't think it's a sure thing that he makes the lineup this season. There's no doubt that Schroeder has talent, but his size and struggles in the faceoff circle could hold him back.
It's also worth mentioning that newly acquired centers Brad Richardson and Mike Santorelli will be looking to prove themselves as well.
Nicklas Jensen is the real deal, and has paid his dues in both the minors and other leagues. His time for the step up to the Canucks is now.
Jensen will play at least half the season (if not the whole thing) in a Canucks uniform.
He won't be an offensive star or a big hitter, but Jensen's consistency and solid play will make him a quick fan favorite in Vancouver.
Follow Riley Kufta on Twitter for more work & news around the NHL.