It seems that the Vancouver Canucks and their prospects’ seasons are all over, all too soon.
The Vancouver Canucks cleaned out their lockers this Monday and here I am, waiting for the next shoe to fall. NCAA free agency, world championships, the AHL playoffs — whatever it may come to be, I am already feeling that even a losing injury-riddled team is never a team too bad to cheer for, to love, and to watch.
The last shoe, though, dropped with the conclusion of the NCAA Frozen Four championship. Brock Boeser’s North Dakota Fighting Hawks pulled it back together after a troubling performance in the semi-finals against the Denver Pioneers, piecing together a 4-1 win over the top-ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats. Thatcher Demko got his revenge, too, thanks to Boeser who scored what was the game-winner for North Dakota.
Funny. Michael Garteig, the netminder who made that giveaway, was on Jim Benning‘s radar. I would not mind Garteig, the Richmond, BC native to play a role in the upcoming AHL season in September. On that note, here is the bottomline on Boeser:
Watching him play on the online stream, I saw that his play was more than just the points. Yes, 27 goals and 60 points in 42 games are for the true goal scorer, but his game was physically solid. His defensive tenaciousness is something quite nice to behold, and I saw why North Dakota has become a great breeding place for NHL prospects.
Boeser was the runner-up for the rookie of the year award, second to Michigan’s Kyle Connor. Is it just me feeling old or does that name remind me of John Connor and Kyle Reese from that Terminators movie? Anyhow.
As for Thatcher Demko, he was voted the league’s top netminder with the Mike Richter Award. The word has yet to come on his turning pro:
The Canucks are still in pursuit after Drake Cagguila and Troy Stecher, two of Boeser’s teammates, as far as I can tell. That being said, Benning has yet to sign any college free agents to a pro contract this season. My patience is running thin, but I imagine that championship players are still feeling the highs of the final match of the season.
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But for OHL Erie Otters’ Kyle Pettit, his future with the Canucks as Benning’s favourite defensive shutdown player is looking good. In the second round of the OHL playoffs, he has been defensively solid against Jared McCann‘s former junior team, the Sault Ste.Marie Greyhounds.
Though with just one goal to show for in two wins and a loss, Pettit is a plus-two player who has been unbelievably good in the faceoff circle. After going 13-for-16 in game one, he followed up with a 16-for-18 performance in game two, the latest being a 16-for-23 showing. That is a 78.9 percent win rate.
And for those of us in Vancouver who forgot what a faceoff win looks like, 78.9 percent is 2.3 times more successful than McCann’s record this past season.
After winning six straight, will the Otters be able to overcome the 3-2 loss in game three? Game four goes Wednesday, April 13th.
And lastly, the Utica Comets have clinched a playoff berth. While the lineup is not as convincing as last year’s, the way that Travis Green is resting some of his key players like Jordan Subban, the Comets are planning on going far, as far as I can tell.
And that should do for this season’s worth of prospects playoff watches. Now with Kyle Pettit the only junior player left, we will keep you posted on just him and how the Comets are doing in the playoffs, which begins in less than a week. Let the offseason begin!