Vancouver Canucks Prospect Tate Olson Could Be a ‘Diamond in the Rough’


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The Vancouver Canucks’ 2015 210th overall pick, Tate Olson could be a “diamond in the rough.”

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Selected second-to-last in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the expectations for Vancouver Canucks prospect Tate Olson should not be too high. Seventh-round picks seldom make it to the NHL — and if they do, that is a big plus rather than the expectation. However, Olson is showing a lot of promise early in his “draft+1” season.

Olson, a member of the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars, is a 6-foot-2, 174-pound defenceman known for his two-way game. A decent skater with excellent defensive positioning and a long reach, he knows how to knock the puck off of his opponents’ stick. Olson relies on that long reach and stick work a little too much at times, and goes for the puck rather than the body. He could add some muscle weight to his frame and add that extra physicality to his game.

Furthermore, Olson plays crisp, accurate outlet passes, and moves the puck around well behind the net or in the offensive zone. He possesses an accurate shot, making him an offensive weapon on the power play.

So why did it take so long for him to be drafted?

Two words: decision making. Olson likes to play a very aggressive defensive style, but over-commits at times. He occasionally makes questionable decisions when it comes down to throwing a hit or playing the puck. The same thing goes for the offence as well. Olson is a decent passer and stick-handler, but occasionally makes odd decisions with the puck, resulting in unnecessary turnovers.

Still, the Vancouver Canucks landed a player with a lot of potential late in the draft. If he gets his decision making under control and his hockey sense proves to be good enough for the world’s best hockey league, we should definitely see him in Vancouver one day.

Prince George resident Jesse Phillips gave us some insight on how the 2015-16 season has been going for Olson:

"Tate, as of recently, has really started to find his stride. He is consistently paired with 17-year-old, Shane Collins, but finds himself filling in all over the place, wherever needed. Coach Mark Hollik relies on Tate to be the type of utility defenceman that every coach wishes he had. Tate excels at separating the puck from the opposing team and pushing the play up ice quickly, before the other team can re-group. Unfortunately, this can sometimes result in him trying to do a little too much. While Tate is a rock during 5-on-5 play, he is no slouch on special teams either. He uses his keen offensive skills to quarterback the Cougars’ first powerplay unit, sifting soft passes through to create scoring chances. Not only have Tate’s technical abilities improved this year, but his defensive positioning is top notch. This is always evident as Olson is one of the first players over the boards on the penalty kill.Tate’s current play continues to track upwards we could see him as a NHL third-pairing puck moving defenceman who can step into special teams whenever called upon. As for now, he is going to continue to be a key weapon in the Prince George Cougars’ arsenal."

So far this season, Olson has scored two goals and added 21 assists for 23 points in 28 games. He is the Cougars’ sixth-best scorer despite having missed six games.

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Prince George made the WHL playoffs for the first time in what feels like forever last season. This year, they are third in the B.C. Division, in a head-to-head race with the Victoria Royals.

Tate Olson is one of the team’s big leaders — let’s hope he can be just that for the Canucks one day as well!

For more updates on Olson and the Cougars, check out Jesse’s blog Phil’s Cougar Cave and follow him on Twitter @jessephil.