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. 10 on our list is gigantic defenseman Andrey Pedan.
#10 – Andrey Pedan
Team: Utica Comets (AHL)
NHL Experience: 13 Games
How He Got Here
Pedan, a 6-foot-5 native of Kaunas, Lithuania, began his career playing on a youth team in Russia. He was drafted in the third-round, 63rd overall by the New York Islanders in the 2011 NHL Draft. While in the Islanders’ system, Pedan bounced around several minor league teams, including the Guelph Storm of the OHL, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL, and the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL.
More from Editorials
- Which team won the Bo Horvat trade?
- What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty
- Back to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature night
- Canucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders
- 2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg
With the Storm, Pedan put up some big numbers: 10 goals, 30 assists and 152 penalty minutes in his second season, 14 goals, 30 assists, and 145 penalty minutes his third and final season. Pedan was named to the Russia U18 team at the World Juniors, where the Russians won bronze in 2010-11. In that same season, Pedan also played for the Russia Selects in the Junior Super Series and then again in 2011-12.
Pedan again played for the Russia, lacing up with the U20 team in 2012-13 for the Canada-Russia Challenge. That same season, Pedan moved to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where the offensive production he flashed in the OHL didn’t translate. Pedan played parts of three seasons with the Tigers before moving on to the Stockton Thunder.
The Canucks acquired Pedan from the Islanders in 2014 for Alexandre Mallet and a third-round pick in 2016. Pedan was sent to Utica for more seasoning and in his two seasons with the Comets he has put up 35 points in 87 games.
Last season, Pedan skated with the Canucks for 13 games but didn’t record a point.
Where He Is Today
Pedan will likely begin the upcoming season in Utica again. The Canucks’ defense corps is fairly set, with Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Erik Gudbranson and Ben Hutton rounding out the top four, and Philip Larsen, Luca Sbisa, Nikita Tryamkin, Alex Biega and Pedan battling for the last two spots. Pedan might find his way to an extra spot in the press box but he’s better served playing big minutes for Utica. If the Canucks are unfortunate and see some injuries on their blue line, Pedan will be one of the first to be called up.
This offseason, GM Jim Benning signed Pedan and fellow Utica workhorse Alexandre Grenier to one year, two-way contract extensions.
Pedan scored 21 points in 45 games with the Comets last year, to go along with 87 penalty minutes and a healthy plus-minus of 17. In his brief stint with the Canucks, he led the team with 3.1 hits per game, while showing a solid, stay-at-home defensive style. He’ll continue to build on his success with Utica, priming himself for a potential roster spot in the coming seasons.
Where He’s Headed
Even in the small sample size provided to Canucks fans last season, Pedan looked like a solid third-pairing defenseman. Whether he can become more than that remains to be seen but his size, strength, and hockey I.Q. will take him a long way. With other offensive defenseman waiting in the wings, Pedan must focus on fine-tuning a shutdown type of game. Although, that being said, the Canucks need scoring from the blue line and if Pedan provides anything with his big shot, the Canucks will be thrilled.
After signing a one-year contract extension this offseason, Pedan will have to show Canucks’ management why they should keep him around. If Pedan is called up to fill in for an injured player, then he’ll need to make the most of his time with the big squad.