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 Milan Lucics or with a dozen Jonah Gadjoviches. 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 Jake Virtanen yesterday, let’s see what Adam Gaudette has to offer at No. 8.
No. 8 C Adam Gaudette
Weight: 184 lbs
DOB: 1996-10-03 (Age 20)
Drafted: 149th overall, 2015 Entry Draft
2016-17 Stats: 37GP – 26G – 52PTS – 20PIM (NCAA, Northeastern Uni. Huskies)
Every championship team manages to find a diamond in the rough, a star from the later rounds of the entry draft. Adam Gaudette may just be that star for the Canucks. Does the future look so bright for the former late fifth round pick? Let’s find out.
Strengths: Compete level
Adam Gaudette was drafted for his two-way smarts that showed through in his high work rate on the ice. While he still works hard on the ice and always is buzzing speedily both offensively and defensively, Gaudette has added an element of grit to his checking game.
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The edge in his game was particularly evident at the Canucks Summer Prospects Showdown game. He was not afraid of finishing his checks even in a showcase game and even gave top prospect Elias Pettersson a solid check.
Gaudette’s mix of speed and hunger for the puck is quite the combination to watch. He is a man on a mission when on the ice, and that mission is to get the puck and move it up the ice.
Needless to say, the qualities of a true two-way centreman are all there already; Gaudette gets in the passing lanes, has an active stick and back checks hard.
The offensive side of his game, however, was not evident until this past season. His shooting took a massive step forward, contributing greatly to his goal totals. By the numbers, it is clear that Gaudette established himself as one of the top offensive threats in the NCAA.
- Gaudette was tied (with a senior player) for the lead for the most power play goals (16).
- Gaudette was fourth in goals (26) and goals-per-game (0.70), both best as a non-senior.
- Gaudette was ninth in points (52) and points-per-game (1.41).
- Gaudette’s 162 shots ranked the fifth highest while his 4..38 shots/game ranked fourth.
To recap, Gaudette has good skating and offence that are backed by a great two-way mindset and a hard-working approach to the game. He can check, score, and defend.
Weaknesses: One-dimensional offensive game
Personally, there is not much I dislike about Gaudette’s game. He will have to fill out his 6-foot-1 frame a bit before playing in the NHL and maintain his skating abilities despite the added weight, but otherwise, he plays a speedy checking game that would not look out of place in a Pittsburgh Penguins uniform in the playoffs.
The real question is this: though Gaudette showed that he can bloom offensively in the NCAA and enjoy using the quick shot of his, he does not have much offensive upside aside from his shot. He doesn’t have slick playmaking hands and he does not have a knack for being a net-front presence.
When top senior players like Zach Ashton-Reese and Dylan Sikura leave Northeastern and give Gaudette the chance to anchor the top-line, will Gaudette be able to continue to produce at the elite level? He will likely struggle since there isn’t a strong playmaker for him to work with.
The shot and the skating won’t be able to solve the world. Just ask Jake Virtanen.
Projection: Middle-6 Centre
Though the completeness of Gaudette’s game can totally make him a strong second-line centre, the fact that Gaudette isn’t a multi-dimensional offensive centreman limits him to a middle-six role. A great third-line pivot or a rather offensively limited second-line centre is what we project Gaudette to be.
We see a high ceiling for Gaudette, though. He most certainly will play in the NHL some day.
– 2017 TheCanuckWay Prospects Ranking Top 20 –
#9 – Jake Virtanen
#10 – Jonah Gadjovich
#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
There is a lot to like about Gaudette. He will return next year to Northeastern though many thought he would turn pro this offseason. Even though he may not have such a strong lineup to work with next year in the NCAA, Gaudette will have NHL players on his wings if he gets there.
With NHL-caliber wingers, what will Gaudette be able to do? Whatever the answer to that question is, the fifth-round selection looks like a great steal for the Canucks at this point in time.