Vancouver Canucks: Young Stars Classic Prospects Primer 1


Putting behind a rather polarizing off-season, the Vancouver Canucks will begin their 2015-16 play with the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, from September 11th to 14th. Though all the spotlight is on the great #97 Connor McDavid, Canucks prospects will look to impress nonetheless. This tournament has yielded a couple pleasant surprises for the Canucks, most notably the likes of center Dane Fox (an undrafted FA signing in 2013 playing with the ECHL Kalamazoo Wings) and Curtis Valk (also an undrafted FA signing in 2014 playing with the ECHL K-Wings).

In this year’s roster, the Canucks have 8 defensemen, 14 forwards, and 2 goalies. We will be taking a look at each and every one of them, as we wait for the puck to drop on the 11th.

G – Clay Witt: NCAA Northeastern, 24 years old, 6’2″, 200lbs

Clay Witt is one of the newest Canucks, signed just a month ago. He spent last season in the NCAA, where he finishes his junior career posting up-and-down numbers. He is the #5 goaltender in the depth chart behind the Comets’ R. Bachman and J. Cannata, likely slotted for the ECHL. However, he is the only Canuck-signed goaltender in the tournament and would only do himself good by posting numbers similar to his better NCAA years (like the .932 Sv% in his fullest season) and challenging for the AHL.

G – Jackson Whistle: WHL Kelowna Rockets, 20 years old, 6’1″, 182lbs

To some, that name might sound familiar. The WHL Rocket net minder has stuck around the organization for a few years now, but doesn’t seem to have much magic in him. Posting a .909 Sv% last year with the Rockets squad that made the Memorial Cup, he is likely bound for an overage season with his hometown WHL team.

D – Guillaume Brisebois: QMJHL, 18 years old, 6’2″, 175lbs

Brisebois, right now, is the return from the Carolina Hurricanes for Eddie Lack. The 66th overall pick from the most recent NHL Entry Draft is described as a very smart two-way player that lacks a physical edge to his game. I imagine him as a Tanev-type of defenseman, as he is also credited with a good shot that should get used more often. You should look for him to make a splash in the tournament, as he tries to shrug off the Lack-lovers’ criticism. He will return to the GMJHL for one more season with the Titans, where his production should thrive with some of the new players they got.

D – Anton Cederholm: WHL Portland Winterhawks, 20 years old, 6’2″, 209lbs

Cederholm will be one of the most physical players in the Canuck blueline. 84PIM in 68 games played is the most on the roster’s blueline, and look to him to be a stay-at-home personality this tournament.

D – Ben Hutton: AHL Utica Comets, 22 years old, 6’3″, 200lbs

Ben Hutton was drafted by GM Mike Gillis in the 5th round of the 2012 draft. His play has been nothing short of stellar. He scored his first professional goal in the second period of his AHL career, and whenever he was on the ice, he controlled the flow of the game with his positioning, mobility, and offensive smartness. He is a key part of the Canucks organization in the coming years, I would not be surprised to see him as an injury call-up to the NHL.

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D – Evan McEneny: OHL Kingston Frontenacs, 21 years old, 6’3″ 214lbs

McEneny’s future with the Canucks does not seem to bright. This tournament and the upcoming season are going to be “make it or break it” times for Evan, who already spent his overage season in the OHL. With the abundance of left-handed defensemen in the AHL, McEneny’s season seems to be bound for the ECHL, which is never a good sign. He will have to show the Canucks that he is of some value with a good performance in Penticton.

D – Carl Neill: QMJHL Sherbrooke, 19 years old, 6’3″ 206lbs

Neill was drafted in the 5th round of the latest draft, after posting 40 points in 63 games. He is regarded as a typical early-5th round pick, with strong 2-way game and a good point shot presence. He will be an exciting offensive player in the tournament. He will play as the captain for his QMJHL team this upcoming season.

D – Tate Olson: WHL Prince George Cougars, 18 years old, 6’3″ 174lbs

The Canuck Way already looked into the 7th round pick of the 2015 draft, and was noted for his two-way play, puck handling, and skating abilities. Although he is a good pick as the second-last pick of the entire draft, I am sure there are facets to his game that led him to fall this far. I don’t imagine that he will be too noticeable in the Young Stars Classic, but I like his big frame that could possibly transpire to be an NHL player in due time. He is one of the youngest guys in the camp alongside Brisebois and forward Dmitri Zhukenov, so he has a plenty of time to develop.

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  • D – Ashton Sautner: WHL Edmonton Oil Kings, 21 years old, 6’0″, 192lbs

    Ashton was signed by Jim Benning as a free agent during his play as an overage captain for the Oil Kings. There is not much to note about his game, nor are there noticeable deficiencies in his game. He is one of the less noticeable guys out there, and I would be pleasantly surprised if he makes the AHL this season.

    D – Jordan Subban: OHL Belleville Bulls, 20 years old, 5’9″, 178lbs

    Do not be fooled by his frame. Regarded by Montreal Canadians star P.K Subban as the best of the Subban brothers, the Belleville alternate captain is a force that should not be overlooked. His skating, puckhandling, and shooting will surely be noticeable, and when he plays, he plays a few inches above his actual class. When he was on the ice in the prospects camp this summer, he did not look small in any way. Look for him to make a big splash to push for a solid spot in Utica. He will be an exciting player to watch.

    That is it on the blueline. They will play an exciting brand of hockey, as well as face star Connor McDavid in the last two games of the tournament. The Canucks have done a decent job picking up undrafted talent, and though the NHL-ready prospects are short on the Canucks prospect pool, this roster is nothing short of stellar. Look out for Subban, Hutton, and Brisebois from September 11th to the 14th, at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton.

    Next: Tate Olsen - A Hidden Gem For Vancouver

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