Can the Vancouver Canucks look at their prospects pool and say “quality over quantity”?
The Vancouver Canucks have a solid number of prospects who have been either steals from the later rounds or undrafted free agent signings out of NCAA or the juniors. So far through our rankings, we have seen numerous hard-working character players who have high-ceiling projections.
But no NHL team is ever built with a dozen Jannik Hansens or a dozen William Lockwoods. No winning blueline is built with six Evan McEnenys, nor is it built with six Kristoffer Gunnarssons. At the end of the day, the true question is this:
Do the Canucks have quality prospects?
I mean, a prospects pool is only as good as the NHL players it produces, right?
As great as having ten picks in a seven-round draft is, those ten picks pale in value compared to two picks in the first ten selections. As we dive deeper into our prospects rankings and into the top ten this week, we will be able to put together a true assessment of the quality of the Canucks prospects pipeline.
No more undersized boom-or-bust prospects. No more overage juniors who have big question marks whether they will ever succeed at the pro level. It’s time for the real deal. It’s time for the real players.
We present to you Week 3 of The Canuck Way 2017 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 organization, 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 small Jordan Subban last time, let’s take a look at the big power forward at No. 10, Jonah Gadjovich!
No. 10 LW Jonah Gadjovich
Weight: 209 lbs
DOB: 1998-10-12 (Age 18)
Drafted: 55th Overall, 2017 Entry Draft
2016-17 Stats: 60GP – 46G – 74PTS – 32PIM (OHL, Owen Sound Attack)
The second-round pick by the Canucks in the latest draft is close to making the veteran-laden World Juniors Team Canada team as an 18-year-old. Why is he being favoured over the likes of Kole Lind who was picked earlier than he was? Here’s what there is to like about Gadjovich.
Strengths: Size, Scoring & Character
There are so many things to like about Gadjovich. Gadjovich is a marvellous mix of size and scoring ability, one of the best power forwards in the OHL last season. His big 6-foot-2, 209-pound frame and physical brand of hockey earned him the nickname “the Manchild”.
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Gadjovich uses his frame well, driving to the net with authority and controlling the play along the boards with his strength.
Where Gadjovich makes his living, however, is in front of the net. He is big enough to battle for position and screen the opposing netminder, jumping on rebounds with his long reach.
Gadjovich isn’t a one-dimensional scorer, either. He has a good hard-working mindset defensively and finds other ways to scores goals as well.
His shot is very accurate and hard, though not elite. He will score off the pass on the rush, off the drive to the net, off the rebound, and off the point shot tip on the powerplay.
According to DeGray, Gadjovich has never lost a fight since getting into the league as a 16-year-old. During practice when other players are shooting, Gadjovich stands by the net to tip shots and practice screening the netminder. Things like this speak volumes about his character and maturity.
Is Gadjovich just your real good Canadian kid who plays hard and works hard? I mean, all these words describing Gadjovich’s game would be in vain if the numbers weren’t there, right?
On the contrary, look at the numbers and you will begin to wonder why the Manchild was not picked in the first round of the 2017 Entry Draft.
- Gadjovich led the league in powerplay goals with 17, which is tied with Dmitry Sokolov despite Gadjovich having played four fewer games.
- Gadjovich’s 46 goals in 60 games were second in goals-per-game in the OHL, only bested by Erie’s Alex DeBrincat. 46 goals, regardless of games played, was third overall.
- Gadjovich recorded 275 shots on goal, which was the ninth-best total in the league last year.
- Gadjovich’s 1.23 points-per-game was the 21st-best in the OHL, close behind top picks Gabe Vilardi (1.24), Owen Tippett (1.25) and Michael McLeod (1.28).
The numbers are there to support the scouting reports. All in all, there is not much to dislike about Jonah Gadjovich.
Weaknesses: Skating & Inconsistency
Many point to skating as Gadjovich’s weakness and he knows it. Partly due to his big body, Gadjovich struggles to be explosive with his first few strides though, but after that, he is a smooth and sure-footed skater.
By the looks of it, Gadjovich is holding his own against the world’s top junior players at the World Juniors camp. He has a chance to make the team, though Team Canada is leaning towards an older roster.
If we were to force ourselves to point out other faults in Gadjovich’s game, it would be that he lacks top-class playmaking abilities and does not have game-changing hockey IQ. His streaky scoring can also be of concern, but I personally think that the Manchild’s character will allow him to work past slumps and emerge a more mature player.
Projection: Middle-six power forward
Should Gadjovich continue to work hard and fix his skating, the sky is his limit. He could be a top-six scoring power forward who can fill in on the top line depending on the matchup and his teammates.
But as things stand right now, he could be limited to a fourth-line role as a checking forward with use as a net-front on the power play. Personally, I like Gadjovich’s chances of being a powerful second-line winger who can complement a sniper like Nikolay Goldobin, perhaps even Jonathan Dahlen.
Gadjovich is reunited with his best friend and roommate Petrus Palmu in joining the Canucks organization. It’s a great friendship between a Goliath Gadjovich and a David Palmu. Both are character guys who could make the NHL sooner than many today expect them to.
– 2017 TheCanuckWay Prospects Ranking Top 20 –
#11 – D Jordan Subban
#12 – F William Lockwood
#13 – G Michael DiPietro
#14 – D Guillaume Brisebois
#15 – D Evan McEneny
#16 – F Petrus Palmu
#17 – D Jack Rathbone
#18 – D Jalen Chatfield
#19 – F Cole Cassels
#20 – D Kristoffer Gunnarsson
The Honourable Mentions
Now, Gadjovich has to prove that he can dominate the OHL without the help of a Petrus Palmu or a Nick Suzuki. If he can prove he is able to drive the offence by himself, let him come to the NHL the year after and form a dual power forward threat with Jake Virtanen.