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Future Watch: Canucks Prospects

...Hughes, Demko, Juolevi & Madden land in the Top 100

by Ryan Biech @ryanbiech / Freelance writer

The Hockey News has been in publication since 1947 and has a variety of issues throughout the year that are must-reads.

One of which is the 'Future Watch' issue that looks at all the prospects within NHL organizations, profiles where they stand at that moment, and then provides a top-100 ranking for all the up-and-comers in the league.

With the Canucks looking to build a new core, they have been adding skill through the draft and as a result the organization is well represented in this year's edition.

It's important to note that players that are NHL regulars are generally excluded from the rankings, thus someone like Elias Pettersson isn't included in the list.

QUINN HUGHES

With that in mind, it doesn't take long for you to find the first player from the Canucks with Quinn Hughes coming in as the 2nd ranked prospect in hockey, trailing only Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar.

The 2018 7th overall pick made his NHL debut on March 28th after finishing up his collegiate career with Michigan. The smooth-skating defencemen picked up three assists in five NHL games after posting five goals and 28 assists in 32 NCAA games with Michigan. Hughes dazzled fans with his puck movement and transition play through all three zones.

Obviously, it was only a small sample size in the big league, but everyone is excited to see what Hughes can do with the team next year and he is rightfully near the top of the league in this prospect ranking.

Video: Quinn Hughes NHL Debut - Behind the Scenes

THATCHER DEMKO

The next Canucks prospect to see their name is goaltender Thatcher Demko, coming in as the 35th ranked prospect. That is three spots higher than last year's ranking and is in part due to the American born netminder ascending to a full-time NHL role. He is the third highest ranked goaltender on this list trailing Ukko-Pekka Luukonen (21st) and Ilya Samsonov (29th).

Demko appeared in nine NHL games to close out the season posting a 4-3-1 record with a 2.81 GAA and 0.913 SV%. More impressively, Demko stopped 107 of the 110 shots he faced in his final three starts for a sparkling 0.945% in those games.

It seems clear that Demko and Jacob Markstrom are expected to be tandem in net for the Canucks next season with Demko seeing more action throughout the season as he works towards rounding out his game at the NHL level.

Video: Thatcher Demko - Canucks in Cars

OLLI JUOLEVI

Checking in as the 66th ranked prospect in The Hockey News top-100 affiliated prospects is defenceman Olli Juolevi.

The 2016 1st round pick was limited to 18 AHL games this season after suffering a knee injury earlier in the year. Juolevi had scored his first AHL goal and picked up 12 assists along the way.

The soon to be 21-year-old defenceman will look to rebound early next season and force his way onto the NHL roster at some point. His two-way play, puck movement, and skating abilities are all things that should make him an effective defenceman for the organization.

Video: YOUNG STARS | Olli Juolevi Mic'd Up vs Calgary

TYLER MADDEN

The final Canucks prospect to see his name in the top-100 list is 2018 3rd round Tyler Madden.

Landing in 70th, Madden had a fantastic rookie season with Northeastern University. In 36 games with the Huskies, Madden put up 12 goals and 16 assists and finished fourth in scoring on the team.

The tenacious forward turned heads at the World Juniors with his relentless puck pursuit and opportunistic play while representing the United States. After that event, he returned to University to help lead Northeastern to their second straight beanpot championship and the third ever Hockey East Title to close out the season.

It was hard to know what to expect from Madden this season, but it's fair to believe he exceeded expectations in all facets of his game.

Video: 10 Things to Know about Canucks Prospect Tyler Madden

Next season should be an exciting year for the organization as they look to take the next step and will be leaning on their young players to take them there.

Pettersson put the NHL on notice with his play, Brock Boeser made strides into being a more complete player, Bo Horvat was tasked with being leaned on for offence and defence and players like Adam Gaudette, Thatcher Demko, Guillaume Brisebois, Brogan Rafferty, Quinn Hughes, Zack MacEwen and Josh Teves all made their NHL debuts this season.

The top-100 list shines some positive light on the prospect pool and that's without players like Jett Woo, Michael DiPietro, and Zack MacEwen cracking the list.

Fans should be excited about what the future holds for the organization and what some of the aforementioned players can become.

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