As the Canucks continue to battle for a playoff spot, fans will look for positives to get excited about. Lucky for us, their prospects are giving us reason to get excited.The Canucks are having trouble scoring goals lately, but a few of their prospects have been lighting the lamp with regularity. Lets take a look at some Canucks prospects that have been on fire in the February edition of the Vancity Buzz Prospects Report.
4 GP – 2 G, 0 A, 2 Pts (Vancouver – NHL)
Signed as a free agent by Mike Gillis after the 2013 prospect camp, Kenins has started his NHL career with a bang. Scoring two goals in his first 3 NHL games, his stat-line from Tuesday night is exactly what you hope for from a 4th liner.
Ronalds Kenins with 10:23 of ice time. He had 1 goal, 4 SOG and 3 hits. #Canucks
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) February 4, 2015
Obviously we can’t expect Kenins to continue at this pace, but it has been refreshing to see a Canucks prospect make an impact in the NHL. Although he has made a few rookie mistakes in his first week, his production may allow the Canucks to live with those mistakes. It’s also nice to see a player finishing his checks and trying to win puck battles. Kassian should be taking notes in the press box for when (or if) he gets back into the lineup.
41 GP – 22 G, 32 A, 54 Pts (Sault Ste. Marie – OHL)
McCann had a slow start to the season because he was recovering from mono. However as Brendan Ross outlines, Jared McCann has been on fire since the beginning of December.
McCann’s production has exploded in part due to Sault Ste. Marie acquiring Anaheim 1st round pick Nick Ritchie and Tampa Bay 1st round pick Anthony DeAngelo last month. Currently ranked 3rd in the CHL, the Greyhounds hope that these acquisitions will propel them to the Memorial Cup.
McCann has been playing on the penalty kill and power play and quickly becoming a very important part of the team’s success. Hopefully he can continue his point production, as it appears the Canucks may have found a stud in the late first round.
39 GP – 20 G, 41 A, 61 Pts (Oshawa- OHL)
It has been quite the season for Cole Cassels. He started the season very well, helping to lead the #1 ranked CHL team in Canada. He was then suspended 10 games for a hit from behind on Damir Sharipzyanov.
In December, he was invited to the USA evaluation camp for the World Juniors, but ultimately didn’t make the team. He once again returned to the Oshawa Generals, and has picked up right where he left off.
Cole Cassels has 15 points (5-10-15) during his current 11 game point streak. #Canucks
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) February 1, 2015
The Generals are another team looking to make a run for the Memorial Cup. It will be interesting to see if Cassels can continue this domination during the postseason. Cassels is looking like a 3rd round pick steal, and I am excited to see what he can do in the AHL next year.
29 GP – 14 G, 23 A, 37 Pts (Calgary – WHL)
Since returning from the World Juniors, Jake Virtanen has had some ups and downs. Shortly after returning from the tournament, Virtanen injured his shoulder and missed a couple of games. Luckily it wasn’t the shoulder that was surgically repaired last summer and was only a minor injury.
When he did return to the Hitmen lineup, he had one pointless game. Since then, he has been on a tear with 12 points (4G-8A) in 5 games. Usually regarded to as just a shoot first player, it’s good to see Virtanen pile-up the assists.
One of his goals during his streak was this beauty:
The Hitmen aren’t expected to make a run for the WHL title, but this could be good news for Virtanen. If the Hitmen are eliminated early then the Canucks could assign Virtanen to the AHL for the rest of the season. This will allow Canucks management to see how Virtanen does against professionals before training camp next season. Perhaps more importantly, it would give Virtanen a chance to see what it takes to make it at the next level.
Although it’s unlikely that all of these players will keep up their torrid paces, it allows all of us to get excited about the future. All four of the players profiled are legitimate prospects who could make an impact in the NHL.
Feaure Image: canucks.nhl.com