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 scout-turned 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 defenseman Jalen Chatfield yesterday, here is No. 17, Jack Rathbone!
No. 17 D Jack Rathbone
Weight: 177 lbs
DOB: 1999-05-20 (Age 18)
Drafted: 95th Overall, 2017
2016-17 Stats: 22GP – 16G – 35PTS (USHS, Dexter School)
Ranked 57th overall among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, Jack Rathbone is an intriguing draft pick from the US High School program that spent time in the US Hockey League and even in Midget league.
Because of the volatility of these leagues, it is difficult to gauge Rathbone’s talent as a defenceman with just point totals. Plus, there is not much video footage available of Rathbone, so this profile is heavily dependent on sources such as EliteProspects and Future Considerations.
Strengths: Skating, Hockey IQ & Maturity
Skating is Rathbone’s biggest asset by far. He is fast, agile, sleek and powerful with his strides. Scouts say that he can skate well enough to make up for the occasional blunders that he makes with the puck. As an offensive defenseman, Rathbone uses his skating both offensively and defensively.
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As suggested by his acceptance to Harvard University, Rathbone is a smart player. His on-ice mental game is strong and he sees the ice well with the mindset of moving the puck forward.
That, coupled with a strong shot from the point, makes Rathbone an ideal powerplay defenseman who can exploit the opposition with superior passing and keep the opposing netminder honest with his shot.
Finally, Rathbone seems to have a great intangible to add to his offensive assets. Rathbone is delaying his Harvard agenda for a year in order to stay home with his eight-year-old brother who is autistic. This is a great storyline that shows the heart and character of this young defenceman.
Though Rathbone is not a pushover physically, his small stature does limit what he can do offensively and makes Rathbone a less effective defender in his own end. He does battle hard for the puck and never gives it up without a fight, but at the NHL level, Rathbone will struggle in that department.
Here are the highlights from the Prospects Showdown from earlier this month. It begins with Rathbone (#80) being an offensive threat down low, anticipating a pass from Brock Boeser and getting into the soft area in the slot to get a shot off.
Projection: Top-6 Defenceman, 2nd Unit PP Quarterback
My initial reaction to Rathbone was that the Canucks were getting a second Troy Stecher. Undersized but not physically dominated easily, a blueliner who is mobile and smart on the ice to be an offensive catalyst and a potential powerplay quarterback.
Add on to that the maturity Rathbone is displaying off the ice, you can see that there is much to like about him being similar to Stecher. These are types of players who are needed at the NHL nowadays.
For those reasons, we see Rathbone’s ceiling as a top-four defender in the NHL. Should he find his size too much of a disadvantage in the pro game, he could end up being what Jordan Subban is like now as a top AHL offensive defenceman.
Assuming that his heart and maturity continue to push him to higher levels, Rathbone would make a fine top-six defencdeman with the potential to work some magic on the powerplay.
– 2017 TheCanuckWay Prospects Ranking Top 20 –
Though Rathbone is committed to playing for the Harvard Crimson, his NCAA tenure is going to wait for one more year. His decision to stay home for his brother’s sake will mean Rathbone will play in the USHS for another year. Whether this unusual path will help him to be a better hockey player or not, only time will tell.