Vancouver Canucks: A Look Inside Some of Top Prospects
The Vancouver Canucks have not made it to the postseason since 2015, but they have some bright spots in the near future. Right winger Brock Boeser and centerman Elias Pettersson are two of the players on Vancouver that they have nailed in the draft over the past couple of years.
Boeser was a first-round pick in 2015 and Pettersson was a first-round pick in 2017. Another player that the Canucks potentially has nailed in the NHL Draft was defenseman Quinn Hughes. He was the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Hughes appeared in five games at the end of the year for Vancouver and he recorded three assists. His plus/minus rating was even. Quinn Hughes is the brother of Jack Hughes and Jack could potentially be the number one pick in this Friday night’s NHL Draft and he would head to the New Jersey Devils.
Last season, Vancouver finished in fifth place in the Pacific Division standings with a 35-36-11 record with 81 points. Travis Green is going to be entering his third season as head coach with the Vancouver Canucks and the expectations next season might be the postseason. If they don’t reach the postseason, he will most likely be the coach for a fourth season in this rebuild process as long as Vancouver continues to improve every day.
Who are some of the other top prospects in the Canucks system?
Defenseman Jett Woo was the 37th overall pick (second-round choice) in the 2018 NHL Draft. This was a smart move by Vancouver because it is possible that Hughes and Woo could be a potential defensive pairing one day in the NHL. Jett Woo played in the WHL last season with the Moose Jaw Warriors. He scored 12 goals and recorded 54 assists. His plus/minus was 16. Woo is only 18 years old. He was signed to an entry-level deal, but Jett Woo will play most of next season in the WHL before reporting to the AHL with the Utica Comets. Woo was traded in the WHL to the Calgary Hitmen. Jett Woo is a very good skater and two-way defenseman. In four postseason games, he recorded one assist and his plus/minus was -5.
Defenseman Mitch Eliot was not drafted. In 66 games last season in the OHL with the Sarnia Sting, he scored 17 goals and recorded 38 assists. His plus/minus was -11. In four postseason games, Eliot didn’t score a goal or record an assist. His plus/minus was -5. Mitch Eliot is a physical specimen, but he has to improve his defensive game. Eliot isn’t bad on offense, but he has the potential to be better. Mitch Eliot is 21 years old. He could very well be on the top defensive pairing unit or the second defensive pairing unit in the near future.
Centerman Zack MacEwen cracked the NHL roster at the end of the year and he has the potential to get more games with Vancouver next season. MacEwen was not drafted either and he is 22 years old. He played in 69 games with the Utica Comets in the AHL last season. Zack MacEwen scored 22 goals and recorded 30 assists. His plus/minus was -21. MacEwen played in four games with Vancouver last season and he scored no goals and he recorded one assist. His plus/minus was -4. Zack MacEwen will probably a third or fourth liner for a couple of years, but he has the potential to move up the rankings at center.
Right winger William Lockwood has the potential to be a sniper at the NHL level. He is 20 years old and was a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Lockwood played last season at the University of Michigan (NCAA). In 36 games with them last season, he scored 16 goals and recorded 15 assists. His plus/minus was 8. William Lockwood will play next season at Michigan once again and it is possible after next season he signs an entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Lockwood is also a very good two-way player.
Defenseman Evan McEneny is another defensive prospect in Vancouver’s system that is ready to make a name for himself. He is 25 years old and McEneny could potentially crack the roster next season after getting the necessary time down in the minor leagues. He scored eight goals and recorded 23 assists in 58 games. His plus/minus was -17.
Winger Lukas Jasek is 21 years old and he was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. Jasek hasn’t shown signs yet of potential offensive firepower, but it could be there in a year or two. If it is not, then he will most likely not be a part of the future plans with Vancouver. In 63 games played in the AHL last season, Lukas Jasek scored nine goals and recorded 20 assists. His plus/minus was -2. Jasek plays a very fast game, but he needs to get stronger. Lukas Jasek will start the year next year in the AHL.
Centerman Tyler Madden is 19 years old and he was a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. It seems as if Vancouver did a tremendous job in the 2018 NHL Draft and time will only tell. Madden has the potential to be a first or second line centerman. In 36 games with Northeastern University last season, Tyler Madden scored 12 goals and recorded 16 assists. His plus/minus was 5. He played in seven games with team U.S.A. in the WJC-20. Madden scored three goals and recorded one assist. His plus/minus was -1. Tyler Madden will play another season in college and he has the potential to pop. Madden has solid offensive instincts.
Right winger Kole Lind is 20 years old and he was a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Lind played in 51 games last season with the Utica Comets and he scored five goals and recorded 12 assists. His plus/minus was -10. Kole Lind has time to polish his game in the AHL once again next season. He has solid offensive instincts.
Defenseman Brogan Rafferty played in two games for the Vancouver Cancuks last season. His plus/minus was -2. Rafferty has the potential to play in more games next season. He played in 38 games with Quinnipiac University last season. Brogan Rafferty scored four goals and recorded 20 assists. His plus/minus was even. He is 24 years old and he was not drafted.
Defenseman Jack Rathbone is a part of a plethora of defensive talent in Vancouver’s system. He played for Harvard University last season. In 33 games, Rathbone scored seven goals and recorded 15 assists. His plus/minus was 13. Jack Rathbone is 20 years old and he was a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. He will spend another season in college and then Rathbone will most likely head over to the AHL.
Goaltender Thatcher Demko has the potential to be the goalie of the future for Vancouver. He is 23 years old and Demko has tasted some NHL games. Thatcher Demko played in nine games last season for them. His record was 4-3-1 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.81 GAA. He was a second-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Demko could very well be the 2020-2021 starting goalie considering the fact that Jakob Markstrom will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. Thatcher Demko will be the backup next season and he also has a calm demeanor between the pipes.
Goaltender Michael DiPietro was a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Anytime I think of the name DiPietro, I think of goaltender Rick DiPietro who used to play for the New York Islanders until his career was cut short due to knee problems. Michael DiPietro played in one game last season with the Vancouver Canucks. He lost that game. DiPietro had a .708 save percentage and a 7.00 GAA. He also played for the Windsor Spitfires and the Ottawa 67’s in the OHL last season. In 21 games with Windsor, his record was 11-8-1 with a .920 save percentage and a 2.32 GAA, along with one shutout. In 17 games with Ottawa, his record was 12-4 with a .897 save percentage and a 2.51 GAA, along with three shutouts. Michael DiPietro is only 20 years old and he still has time to develop in the AHL starting next season. DiPietro will probably start a lot of games next season. He could also lose some starts to Jake Kielly.
This team has a bright future ahead of them because of all of the young prospects they have in either juniors or in the AHL. The Vancouver Canucks have not won a Stanley Cup title before. The last time they were in the Stanley Cup Finals was in 2011 against the Boston Bruins and Vancouver lost in seven games to them.
The NHL Draft is on Friday night in Vancouver and the Canucks will look to find some more promising prospects that could potentially help them out in the near future. They will have nine picks in the 2019 NHL Draft.
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