The Canucks continue to scratch and claw for points with hopes of securing a playoff spot in the Pacific Division. At times, it can be frustrating to watch, but the play of the Canucks young talent like Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, and Jared McCann has been great to watch.
Those players are just the first wave, as the Canucks also have some prospects making noise around the world and they deserve some of the spotlight. This month we will take a look at Canucks top goaltending prospect Thatcher Demko, a long forgotten second round pick in Anton Rodin, and a slightly unknown prospect who is making noise in the NCAA lately.
We’re back with another world famous Vancity Buzz prospect report!
15-4-3 – 1.71 GAA, 0.936 SV%, 7 S/O (Boston College – NCAA)
Canucks goaltending, provided by Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom, has been a revelation this season. Without the great play of both of them, the Canucks likely would be in the basement of the NHL. This won’t continue forever, so luckily, the Canucks have one of the best goaltending prospects in the hockey world in Thatcher Demko to hopefully take the crease after them.
Earlier this year, Thatcher Demko put up two separate three game shutout streaks and although he hasn’t been able to sustain that level of dominance, he continues to put together a fantastic junior season at Boston College. Unfortunately, Demko suffered an injury in a game against the University of Ohio on December 28th but played through it the next day. He had to take the two next games off before returning the following weekend to take on rivals Boston University.
This past weekend against Massachusetts he posted his 7th shutout of the season, which puts him within five of the NCAA record. It is unlikely that he will match the record of 12 shutouts set by Greg Gardner, but it doesn’t put a damper on how well Demko has done this season. Although it still unknown when he will turn pro, it will be interesting to see how Demko will do at the next level with an increased workload and a higher opposition talent level. The former 2nd round pick is a very athletic and technically-sound goalie, who will only get better with professional coaches.
Demko is one of 66 players who are up for the fan vote of the Hobey Baker award, which is awarded to the best player in the NCAA. You can vote once per day HERE.
You will be able to catch Demko on TSN on Monday, February 1st at 2:00 pm, with his Boston College Eagles taking on Harvard.
33 GP – 16 G, 21 A, 37 Pts (Brynas IF Gavle – SHL)
Earlier this season, we profiled 2009 2nd round pick Anton Rodin, as a prospect that the Canucks may want to bring back from Europe. Since then, Rodin continued his dominance of the Swedish Hockey League and helping to add credence to the thought process of giving him another shot here in North America. U
nfortunately, that came to an abrupt halt last week as Anton Rodin suffered a skate cut near his knee and is out of action for the next 8-10 weeks.
The former second round pick suffered the injury when he collided with a teammate at practice. It’s a huge blow to his current team, Brynas, and puts some doubt around him taking a shot at the NHL, as there is no telling how he will respond after returning from such an injury.
However it does appear that Canucks management have seen enough of Rodin this season, to feel that he may be worth a ‘roll of the dice’ for next season. President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden confirmed their interest in offering Rodin a contract for next season on TSN 1040 last week:
#Canucks have interest in offering Rodin an NHL contract this summer after fine Swedish League campaign. "One of top player in Europe" TL
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) January 19, 2016
I do feel that Rodin has shown enough skill this year to make it in the NHL, however there is valid concern that he may not have the strength to handle the physical play in North America. Given the Canucks’ recent youth movement, Rodin would fit in perfectly age-wise and hopefully provides the Canucks with some more offensive depth. It’s just a question if his skill level will be able to overcome the possible strength issues.
25GP – 6 G, 11 A, 17 Pts (Northeastern University – NCAA)
An unknown prospect to most Canucks fans, Adam Gaudette has quietly put together a nice second half of the season at Northeastern University.
But first, we can’t talk about Gaudette without starting with his grandmother’s reaction to him being drafted by Vancouver this past June:
Selected in the 5th round of the 2015 NHL draft, Gaudette is regarded as a hard working player who will help in defensive zone and penalty kill while still chipping in offensively. The Braintree, Massachusetts native will need to improve his finish, his skating and strength with the puck to make it in the AHL, let alone the NHL. However, he is currently on a 6-game point streak and has been steadily improving in his freshman year in the NCAA.
Although, the former 5th round pick will likely never be a top-6 contributor in the NHL, he could become a serviceable bottom-6 forward. It is easy to see why GM Jim Benning was interested in Gaudette, as he battles, competes, and never wants to give up anything on the ice. Those types of players can be the difference in close games, and Benning thinks that Gaudette could possibly reach that potential. I wouldn’t expect Gaudette to leave the NCAA early, he is a long-term project, which is perfect for him. He will be able to take the necessary time to round out his game.
You will be able to see Gaudette in action yourself on TSN 2 on Friday, February 12th at 5:30 pm, when Northeastern visits Massachusetts.
With the trade deadline and a possible playoff berth on the horizon, the Canucks may look to make some moves, but I would suggest that they don’t trade any prospects for short term fixes. Only time will tell, but this season has shown that GM Jim Benning has a great eye for talent on the draft floor and we all hope he can continue to build on that.
They are slowly amassing a prospect pool that has high-end prospects like Thatcher Demko, Brock Boeser, and Hunter Shinkaruk, but most importantly they finally have prospect depth.