Vancouver Canucks Prospect Profile: D Cole Candella

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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The 2016 NHL Draft has come and gone for the Vancouver Canucks, and many are unfamiliar with the new faces in the organization.

Leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft, we profiled many of the players we thought the Vancouver Canucks could or should target. Despite profiling a total of 50 players, including 31 in rounds two and beyond, Jim Benning managed to pick up four players we hadn’t looked at yet. Thankfully, we have a long offseason to do that now.

Next up is OHL Hamilton Bulldogs defenseman Cole Candella, who was selected in the fifth round, 140th overall, by the Canucks.


Name: Cole Candella

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6’1”, 190 lbs

Team/League: Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL

Stats (from eliteprospects.com): 

G

A

P

PIM

+/-

374162012-17

Rankings:
#141 by Hockeyprospect.com
#118 by ISS Hockey
#99 by Future Considerations
#107 by McKeen’s Hockey
#85 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 1.5/5, 3.5/5

NHL-potential: Bottom-Four Defenseman

Scouting report

"Candella is a second year defender who has really stepped up in [Lemcke’s] absence to take control of a young defense corps. A jack of all trades kind of defender, Candella has been showing a lot more offensively in recent weeks, and as his confidence grows, so will the production. With good size and a well-rounded skill set, he’s certainly a candidate for a top three round selection. (Brock Otten, OHL Prospects)"

Strengths/Weaknesses

Unlike Canucks third-round pick Will Lockwood, Cole Candella was picked later than most of the major scouting services predicted. A two-way defenseman with good size, Candella improved his offensive numbers by 333.33 percent compared to the previous season, in 23 fewer games played. There is some nice potential there, but he has plenty of weaknesses in his game as well.

More from The Canuck Way

Candella is a strong skater, which helps him in both ends of the ice. He can carry the puck all the way from his own zone into the attack, where he either plays a pass to his teammate or carries it in deep. However, his passes can be inaccurate when he is forechecked and put under pressure. When he has time, Candella plays accurate tape-to-tape passes. But under pressure, he can look much less promising.

Furthermore, Candella has a strong shot, though he doesn’t use it enough. Four goals in 37 games last season are better than none, but they don’t reflect his shooting ability. As a good passer and shooter who excels when he’s got time and space, he could develop into a great power-play quarterback. However, his play under pressure could prevent him from making the NHL in the first place.

In his own end, Candella shows good awareness, but his defensive play needs a lot of improvement overall. He battles hard and uses his size, especially along the boards. Occasionally, he will even throw an open-ice hit, although that doesn’t happen regularly.

Overall, Candella is a defenseman who has all the tools to be successful but needs to improve in almost every aspect of his game. A typical fifth-rounder if you will.

Final Thoughts

Cole Candella is a good pick for the fifth round, no doubt about it. However, I would have liked to see the Canucks take a chance on a forward with higher offensive upside than that of Lockwood in the third. Manuel Wiederer and Jack Walker are names that come to mind. I also would have liked Danish forward Mathias From, who was drafted three picks later by the Chicago Blackhawks, and was one of my sleeper picks for this draft.

Still, I am happy with Candella at 140. His season was shortened by injuries, which might be a little bit of concern, but he hasn’t been someone who’s frequently injured before last season. Let’s hope it’s not an issue.

Next: Will Lockwood Prospect Profile

With Candella, the Canucks need to be patient. Give him more time in the OHL, then bring him through the system slowly. He needs time to refine his game but could eventually become a second-pairing defenseman. Could.