The Canucks season is winding down with the hope of making the playoffs slipping away. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be any players within the organization getting ready for the ‘second’ season.
The Utica Comets look poised to make the playoffs for the second year in a row, and the NCAA is in full swing with their playoff tournaments. Last but not least, the CHL seasons are coming to a close with Canucks prospects across the country looking to make a charge for the Memorial Cup.
This month, we’ll look at three picks from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft – Brock Boeser, Tate Olson and Guillaume Brisebois.
So without further ado, we’re back with another world renowned Vancity Buzz prospect report!
36 GP – 25 G, 23 A, 48 Pts (University of North Dakota – NCAA – NCHC)
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) March 5, 2016
The 2015 first round pick has been downright dominant during his freshman year at the University of North Dakota.
Currently ranked second in goals by freshman with 25, Boeser just needs one more goal to match Zach Parise’s total of 26 from the 2002-03 season. By matching that number, Boeser would join Parise as the only UND freshman to reach that total in the last thirty years.
This past week, Boeser was named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Offensive Player of the Week. He has also been named the NCHC Rookie of the Week on four separate occasions. To top it off, he was named to the First All-Conference Team and is a finalist for the NCHC Rookie of the Year.
All those accolades are great news for the Burnsville, Minnesota native, but two other stats really stand out.
Boeser is currently +34 on the season, which is fantastic as Boeser and the Canucks have said that he was looking to improve his 200-foot game in the NCAA. The other stat that is particularly noteworthy is he is averaging 3.14 shots per game. Boeser is a goal scorer by nature, and you want goal scorers to shoot as much as possible.
Boeser is currently on a seven-game point streak and has points in 23 of his last 26 games.
It’s expected that Boeser will return to North Dakota next season to further round out his game. This isn’t a bad thing as it is one of the most well-regarded NCAA programs available and Boeser will be able to take on a even bigger leadership role next season.
North Dakota will face the University of Minnesota-Duluth this Friday in the NCHC semi-finals. Should UND gets knocked out in this round or in the NCHC finals, they will still advance to the NCAA regionals because they are the #1 ranked team in the NCAA.
64 GP – 9 G, 38 A, 47 Pts (Prince George Cougars – WHL)
An unheralded seventh round pick from the 2015 NHL Entry draft, Tate Olson is turning some heads with his great play this season.
Last month, Craig Button from TSN named Olson as the Canucks’ fourth best prospect and it immediately raised some eyebrows. But if you look past where Olson was selected, you can understand why Button is high on him.
If I had to summarize the Saskatoon native’s game, it would be calm, cool, and collected.
Olson is extremely patient with the puck, which he uses to either unload his decent shot or to distribute to his teammates. Measuring in at 6’2″ and 185 pounds, Olson is already very close to having an NHL body, so he is able to use that to his advantage in the WHL. He doesn’t play overly physical, but he is able to win board battles.
Olson has used all of these skills to almost double his point total from 24 last season, to 47 this year. In hindsight, it is amazing that Olson was available with the second to last pick in the draft. Time will only tell but the Canucks may have struck gold with this young defenceman.
51GP – 10 G, 16 A, 26 Pts (Acadie-Bathurst Titans – QMJHL)
Selected in the third round with the pick acquired from the Eddie Lack trade, there were high hopes for Guillaume Brisebois this year but unfortunately he has had a bit of a turbulent third season in the QMJHL.
Brisebois is currently out with an undisclosed injury and previously missed some time with a concussion.
Brisebois has increased his points per game from 0.44 PPG last year to 0.51 PPG this season. He has scored 10 goals this season, which is over double his previous career high of 4. Last season, he was an abysmal -40 but has brought that up to a more reasonable -12 this season, although both of those numbers can be attributed to his QMJHL team not being very good. The Acadie-Bathurst Titans have scored just 163 goals this season, which ranks them 17th out of 18 teams.
The Titans are ranked 4th in goals against however, and that is in large part due to the play of the Canucks draft pick. He logs big minutes and plays in all situations using his high end hockey IQ to drive the play.
You could make the argument that Brisebois would excel at higher levels of hockey, such as the AHL or NHL, because the game becomes more structured there when compared to the QMJHL.
Don’t write him off because of one frustrating season, the Canucks are very high on him, and after watching a few games it’s easy to see why.
As you can tell, the Canucks did really well on the draft floor last season.
GM Jim Benning is a scout at heart and has a very good eye for finding talent through the draft. He’ll look to continue that trend this June at the NHL Draft in Buffalo.