The Vancouver Canucks are in the midst of a youth movement. So, let’s take a look at the club’s top youngsters!
If the Vancouver Canucks want to make their ‘rebuild on the fly’ work, they need a strong foundation of young roster players. We all know the Bo Horvats and Ben Huttons of the team, but what’s after that? How are things for the AHL Utica Comets and what can we expect from the Canucks’ next crop of youngsters?
To answer those questions, our staff ranked all signed Vancouver Canucks players under the age of 25. After compiling a list of the top 10 Canucks prospects recently, this is all about who can help today. And guess what, the Canucks only have a total of 26 players under 25 signed and playing in North America right now.
No. 21 on our list is Michael Carcone, a forward of the QMJHL Drummondville Voltigeurs, whom the Canucks signed as a free agent this summer.
#21 – Michael Carcone
Position: Left Wing, Center
Team: Utica Comets (AHL)
NHL Experience: 0 Games
How He Got Here
Michael Carcone was never considered NHL talent until just recently. In 2014, his first year of draft eligibility, the 5-foot-10 forward played for the Stouffville Spirit of the OJHL. While other undersized prospects playing Jr. A hockey stand out with extremely high goal and point totals, Carcone didn’t. In 49 games for the Spirit, he had just 12 goals and 37 points.
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Still, after that season, Carcone felt ready to take the next step and joined the QMJHL Voltigeurs. In his first year, he had 12 goals and 41 points in 50 games — a first sign of what was to come. In 2015-16, Carcone’s 20-year-old season, his production really took off. Carcone tied for second in league scoring with 47 goals and tied for eighth in points at 89.
Most overage players score a lot in their final years of junior, so it gets increasingly tough to convince scouts you’re the real deal. But, signing a 47-goal scorer for free is never a bad thing, so that’s exactly what the Canucks decided to do.
Where He Is Today
Being on an entry-level contract, Carcone would be eligible to be sent down to the ECHL Alaska Aces without his consent. However, he is expected to make the AHL and at least start the season with the Utica Comets. From there, anything can happen.
Looking at the Comets roster, there are plenty of two-way players and grinders like Darren Archibald, Brendan Gaunce, Mike Zalewski and Alexandre Grenier. Carcone is a pure goal scorer which is something the Comets are lacking right now, so his chances of making the club are pretty good.
Whether or not he can translate his scoring to the AHL is a whole different story, but Carcone is in a great position going into the season. Loaded with confidence after a 47-goal season, he will do everything he can to start high on the Comets’ depth chart.
Where He’s Headed
According to Canucks Army‘s J.D. Burke, there is a 16 percent chance of Carcone making the NHL one day. Comparable players then scored roughly half a point per game, which would be a terrific outcome for Carcone.
As far as I understand their system, though, it only means 16 percent of comparable players went on to play in the NHL. That number is relatively high for undrafted CHL free agents, but it still means 42 out of 50 comparable players don’t make the NHL.
Undrafted free agents are wild cards. For every Alex Burrows or Tyler Johnson, there are 50 guys who never make “the show”. All we can do now is wait and hope Carcone makes it sooner or later. It was a no-risk signing for the Vancouver Canucks, so it will be a huge win if he makes it and no big deal if he doesn’t.