Canucks sign college free agent defenceman Cole McWard

Apr 5 2023, 3:34 am

The Vancouver Canucks have dipped into the college free agent pool once again, this time signing 21-year-old defenceman Cole McWard to a two-year, entry-level contract.

A 6-foot-1, 192-pound right-shot blueliner, McWard just completed his second season with the University of Ohio, scoring 21 points (9-12-21) in 39 games.

McWard, who is a native of Fenton, Missouri, scored 16 points (4-12-16) in 36 games during his freshman season in 2021-22. He spent the 2020-21 and 2019-20 seasons with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL.

“Our group has worked extremely hard this college free agent season and this signing is another important step in building out our prospect pool,” said Canucks GM Patrik Allvin. “Cole has produced well offensively in each of his two seasons at Ohio State and excelled in a leadership role during his final USHL season with Tri-City. We look forward to having him work with Adam Foote, Sergei Gonchar and the rest of our development staff to round out his game as he transitions to the professional level.”


“Cole McWard was really, really good for Ohio State in the NCAA tournament. Projectable frame, reasonably mobile, and an able albeit unremarkable puck-mover. Also has a lot of runway being relatively young,” says prospect expert and EP Rinkside Editor-in-Chief J.D. Burke.

McWard is the third NCAA free agent signing the Canucks have made in the last nine days, as they also added forward Max Sasson and defenceman Akito Hirose. The Canucks also convinced their own draft pick Aidan McDonough to avoid free agency this summer, as he opted to sign with Vancouver.

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