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Latest Updates on Vancouver Canucks' Top Prospects

Riley KuftaContributor IIIOctober 17, 2013

Latest Updates on Vancouver Canucks' Top Prospects

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    After a disappointing preseason, Vancouver Canucks head coach John Tortorella made the decision to send all of the Canucks' top prospects back to the Juniors/AHL to start the regular season.

    Now, two weeks into the season, it's time to check back to see how they are doing and which are on pace to crack the lineup next season or maybe even this season, if needed. 

5. Nicklas Jensen

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    Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

    For quite some time, Nicklas Jensen was viewed as the top Canuck prospect and the future of the team. Now, he hardly cracks the top five. Some would argue that even ranks that high. 

    After a horrible preseason campaign, Jensen was sent to the Utica Comets of the AHL where the Comets have played a league-low two games, losing both. 

    Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Jensen, he did not contribute to the losses, as he is nursing an injured shoulder. 

    Jensen should be returning to the lineup within the next week, however, when he can start his long uphill battle to prove himself to the Canucks franchise.

4. Bo Horvat

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    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Bo Horvat, the player who essentially cost the Vancouver Canucks Cory Schneider, failed to crack the lineup to start this season. At 18 years old, however, Schneider's omission didn't exactly catch many by surprise. 

    The Canucks dealt Schneider to the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the NHL draft in June for the ninth pick overall, which Vancouver used to select Horvat.

    Horvat has nine points in six games with the London Knights of the OHL thus far for fourth on the team in scoring despite missing three games. 

    Was Horvat a fair return for Schneider? Probably not. Will he be a solid player in the NHL? Absolutely. 

    Horvat will finish the season in London, but will be a player to watch come next year's training camp. 

3. Brendan Gaunce

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Brendan Gaunce is back as captain of the Belleville Bulls in the OHL this season, his fourth season with the team and second campaign of wearing the "C". 

    Gaunce has nine points in eight games so far this season, as he's on pace for a slight improvement over his numbers from last season.

    Perhaps the only troubling stat is Gaunce's minus-4 rating, but that is more of a reflection on the team's performance than that of Gaunce. Through 10 games, the Bulls have a record of 2-6-1-1 with 42 goals against. 

    Gaunce brings natural leadership, offensive skill and a big body to the ice. His time will come with the Canucks.  

2. Hunter Shinkaruk

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    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Hunter Shinkaruk was the Canucks' most impressive prospect during the preseason, but at the end of the day, the decision to let him develop in the minors was the right one. 

    Shinkaruk has three goals and four assists in his first four games of the season captaining the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL. He had 86 points last season at Medicine Hat. I think it's safe to say that he'll surpass that mark this season. 

     

1. Frank Corrado

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    Don Smith/Getty Images

    The only bad thing I can say about Frank Corrado right now is that he's stuck on the Utica Comets, who likely won't find much success this season.

    Corrado, who has no points and a minus-2 rating through the first two games, has impressed at every corner with the Canucks thus far.

    If Vancouver's blue-liners are bitten by the injury bug this season, Corrado may get sweet relief from Utica and earn the opportunity to prove himself further in the NHL.

     

    Follow Riley Kufta on Twitter for more news from around the NHL.

     

     

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