The Vancouver Canucks have secured an important piece of their future, signing defenceman Jack Rathbone to a three-year entry level contract.
Rathbone, has seen his stock rise considerably since the Canucks drafted him in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Scouts are now touting him as the best defence prospect in the organization.
The 21-year-old scored 31 points in 28 games with Harvard University last season, his second year of NCAA hockey.
“Jack is a dynamic player,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning. “He has the ability to transition the puck from the defensive zone, brings good offensive instincts and plays with an edge to his game. We are pleased to have Jack join our roster.”
Rathbone took an unconventional route to the NCAA, deciding to spend an extra year at Dexter Academy to be close to his younger brother, who has autism.
There was some uncertainty as to whether Rathbone would sign with the Canucks at all, given he could become an unrestricted free agent after next season. He had until tomorrow to decide to sign a contract to burn a year off his entry-level deal.
“Extremely excited for the opportunity to join the #canucks organization! Can’t thank my family, friends, teammates and coaches enough for all of the support.” (IG: jack.rathbone) pic.twitter.com/ezyRXvgJKx
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) July 14, 2020
Rathbone’s decision to leave school was likely helped by the uncertainty facing Harvard next season. Ivy League schools have announced the postponement of all sports this fall, due to the pandemic.
In his first year at Harvard, Rathbone scored 22 points in 33 games, but that was helped by playing with Adam Fox, who graduated to the NHL this past season. It was in 2019-20 that Rathbone cemented his status as an elite offensive defenceman, finishing seventh in scoring among all NCAA blueliners.