Vancouver Canucks prospects ranking Top 20: #18 Jalen Chatfield

LONDON, ON - OCTOBER 14: Jalen Chatfield
LONDON, ON - OCTOBER 14: Jalen Chatfield /

The Vancouver Canucks finally have a respectable prospects pool after a couple of years of strong drafting and developing under general manager Jim Benning.

The Vancouver Canucks may have committed to a full rebuild only a few months ago but under general manager Jim Benning, their prospects pool already boasts some top-end talent and depth. The 2016-17 season resulted in a major change in the landscape for Vancouver’s prospects pool, thanks to trade deadline acquisitions as well as a strong draft.

Just from the two trades and the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Canucks were able to add ten prospects, filling up every position with at least one player.

The bottom line? The Canucks prospects pipeline is an ever-changing scenery with more new names than ever before. With the addition of so many prospects and the rise and fall of many players already in the system, it’s time for The Canuck Way Canucks Prospects Ranking.

The Canuck Way 2017 Canucks Prospects Ranking

Our TCW staff ranked all Canucks prospects. The criteria: whatever each writer thinks is important. Current position in the organisation, talent, potential, and chance of NHL success. All prospects under 24 years of age were considered as long as they did not spend significant time in the NHL.

After looking at forward Cole Cassels yesterday, here is No. 18, defenseman Jalen Chatfield!

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LONDON, ON – OCTOBER 14: Jalen Chatfield /

No. 18 D Jalen Chatfield

Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 188 lbs
DOB: 1996-05-16 (Age 21)
Drafted: Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent

2016-17 Stats: 61GP – 8G – 28PTS – 56PIM (OHL, Windsor Spitfires)

Never once has Jalen Chatfield been drafted in his hockey career. He signed as a free agent with the Windsor Spitfires and then he signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks. As a co-captain of this year’s Memorial Cup winners, Chatfield has many of the qualities that make him an ideal “new-age” NHL defenceman.

I personally had him ranked much higher than this because I thought his many strengths will overshadow his few weaknesses in today’s NHL. Here are the reasons that Chatfield is much better than your average OHL signee.

 Strengths: Mobility & Work ethic

Chatfield is a two-way defenceman who has great skating ability. He uses it effectively to apply offensive pressure along the boards in the opponent’s zone. Chatfield also uses it to skate his way out of trouble. The urgency in his steps and the ability to skate to join the rush make him the ideal offensive two-way defender in today’s NHL.

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He also plays bigger than his size. Though not quite strong enough to dominate the pro ranks, he knows when to step up with a bit of gritty play in his own end. He knows his limits physically, meaning he won’t be trying to rush the puck foolishly up the ice and creating an odd-man rush the other way against his team.

On top of that, Chatfield ended up being the co-captain of the Windsor Spitfires team this past season.

The fact that Chatfield worked his way into the OHL as a free agent as opposed to being drafted into the team shows hard work that does not go unnoticed by the hockey ops department. That same hard work earned his teammates’ trust and captaincy, it seems.

At the Prospects Showdown earlier this month, Chatfield played on the top pairing with Olli Juolevi and looked very good. I would go as far as to say that Chatfield was the top performer from the blueline that game. With Juolevi providing defensive coverage, Chatfield (#63) displayed his up-ice mobility with ease, even creating this goal off of the opposing defender.

Weaknesses: Low offensive upside

Despite the mobility and great work ethic, there are reasons that Chatfield didn’t draw a more significant interest in the NHL. For a two-way defender with that much skating ability, Chatfield does not have the points to show for.

In fact, his point production decreased this season compared to last season. His 8 goals and 22 assists in 68 OHL regular season + playoff games this year is shy of the 12 goals and 27 assists he had in 73 games the year before.

Watching these highlights, however, suggests that Chatfield has many qualities that make him a likeable prospect. His agility on the ice is quite the offensive asset and he works hard to battle defensively.

Projection: Top-6 Defenseman

The road that Chatfield will have to take to get to the NHL will not be a conventional one. Undrafted and signed as a free agent coming off of a Memorial Cup winning team as its co-captain, Chatfield certainly has many assets and only a few shortcomings.

He skates well, he works hard, he isn’t physically overwhelmed, and he is smart with the puck. To me, that certainly sounds very much like Ben Hutton.

If all things go well for Chatfield, he may have top-four upside in the NHL but likely will settle for a top-six role or a depth one. I am confident that he will be at least a bonafide AHL defenseman no matter what happens.

Next: Prospects Ranking Top 20 - #19 Cole Cassels

– 2017 TheCanuckWay Prospects Ranking Top 20 –

#19 – F Cole Cassels
#20 – D Kristoffer Gunnarsson
The Honourable Mentions

When Chatfield reports to camp and starts playing with the Utica Comets next year, we will get to see if he has what it takes to continue being the high-quality two-way defenseman playing against pro men.