Vancouver Canucks top prospects of week 27: Elias, Demko, MacEwen

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 31: Thatcher Demko
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 31: Thatcher Demko /
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No. 3 – RW Zack MacEwen (Utica Comets, AHL)

Let’s talk about the Utica Comets. Past the Canadian border, the Comets started their Calder Cup playoffs in Toronto to take on the Marlies. Utica left the weekend down two games to none and on the brink of elimination (the first round is a best of five).

Head coach Trent Cull made the call to scratch Kole Lind and Jonathan Dahlén in game one of the series. I understand the decision on Lind since he is still making the transition, but there is no excuse to keep Dahlén in the press box.

I know the AHL is a battle between development and winning, but putting in one of the most high profile Canucks prospects in the lineup can accomplish both. There is no way an ECHL enforcer should take up that spot.

Dahlén played in game two, but Lukas Jasek was pulled from the lineup. Again, the Comets have a better chance of winning with both in the lineup. Cull has done well during the season to develop prospects, considering the circumstances, but if you are up against the best team in the AHL, you need to pull out all the stops. Gooning it up has put you on the verge of being swept. We will see what happens in game three.

Now, we can talk about Zack

Zack MacEwen is not a familiar name among some of you. He wasn’t drafted, but the Canucks took a chance on the young forward when he became a free agent out of the QMJHL. Jim Benning liked him for his power game, speed and soft hands.

In his rookie season with the Comets, he did well for himself, scoring 10 goals and collecting 33 points. Keep in mind, Jake Virtanen only had 19 points last season with the Comets. Also keep in mind, that MacEwen and Virtanen are the same age and one is in the AHL while the other is in the big leagues. This should help set reasonable expectations, but we know how this market is.

I am impressed with the progress MacEwen made this season. He went from undrafted player to noticeable Canucks prospect after a single year. I’m sure nobody remembers Yan-Pavel Laplante or Danny Moynihan, so this could be a feather in Benning’s cap (he could certainly use it).

MacEwen only had one goal in the playoffs, but it happened on the power play and it was a beauty. The young man has the celebration down too.

Regardless of what happens in the third game of the series, MacEwen has caught my attention for next year’s training camp. He won’t make the Canucks, but I am intrigued by how he will build on his rookie season.