Canucks "in the mix" for signing NCAA free agent defenceman Hirose: report

Mar 26 2023, 6:10 pm

The Vancouver Canucks could be adding a new player to their roster this week.

Based on reports from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal, the Canucks have been linked to potentially signing NCAA free agent defenceman Akito Hirose, who just wrapped up his season at Minnesota State with a loss in the first round of the NCAA playoffs this past Thursday.

“Hirose is talking to teams and the Canucks are in the mix,” Dhaliwal reported, with Friedman confirming the news and adding that he could join the Canucks this week.

A 23-year-old left shot defenceman from Calgary, Alberta, Hirose put up four goals and 23 assists to total 27 points in his third NCAA season. He went undrafted in the NHL draft, playing a four-year career in the BCHL with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

The news followed earlier reports from Dhaliwal about the Canucks talking to Hirose.

Hirose has been billed as a “strong skater” by one of the industry’s top prospect writers.

“Hirose has been an important player for [Minnesota State] over the last few years. He’s a talented offensive player,” The Athletic’s Corey Pronman wrote in an article earlier this season. “He’s a strong skater, unusually strong for a college free-agent target and has strong playmaking abilities to go with that. Hirose has a chance to make it on what he can do with the puck, but whether he can defend men will be a question. His skating will help him, but I wouldn’t call him the hardest to play against defenseman.”

After an afternoon contest against the Blackhawks today, the Canucks have two more games this week on Tuesday and Friday, meaning we could conceivably see Hirose make his NHL debut in the next few days, should he sign with Vancouver.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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