It’s the first year in a long time that Canucks fans should be excited for the AHL team, with a lot of young talent and overall depth it makes for a worthwhile follow as the hockey season trucks along. With a lot of offensive talent in the minors I decided to break down my ideal five man power play unit that I would like to see down in Utica.
The recently-drafted players will take high priority on this list, as my goal for almost everything in the Vancouver Canucks organization is development to keep moving forward towards winning a Stanley Cup.
It starts with one defenceman and that guy is Olli Juolevi, this is the year where he needs to take a step as a North American professional and one step would be manning a power play at the AHL level. I’m well aware that Juolevi isn’t projected to be a first unit power play quarterback but I do believe that he should be given the opportunity to play on the Comets’ first power play unit.
Juolevi could be a second power play unit defenceman down the road in his career and if he shows some confidence and produces at the AHL level then Canucks fans can have a little excitement after a disappointing off/pre season for O.J.
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The easiest Comet to place on the first powerplay unit is Reid Boucher, he has been the best goal scorer on the Comets over the past couple seasons and shows no intention of slowing down in that role. Boucher has an NHL shot but we all wonder if one day he can translate that shot to a NHL career.
The Canucks needs a net front presence on that first unit. For me an intriguing one is Zack MacEwen, he is 6-foot-4, 211 pounds and has shown so far in the early parts of the season that he can put the puck in the net as well.
The big bodied MacEwen has been receiving high praise since the end of last season and I believe we will see him in a Canucks uniform before the end of this season.
If he can learn to be a good net front power play contributor, it would benefit the Canucks down the road as they also have Jonah Gadjovich,who is known to be a good net front guy as well. If one of these guys can develop into being a second unit power play player, it would bring more depth to the Canucks’ unit that is in serious need of depth.
There are a couple final spots left on this power play, and it’s where I add the two shining youngsters into the mix. Jonathan Dahlen and Adam Gaudette will round out this squad as a couple of shooters that can bring a high level of hockey IQ. Gaudette was a stud at Northeastern, where he developed one heck of a one timer from the left circle.
Dahlen is exciting for me because he plays a hard nosed game disguised as a very skilled winger. Dahlen could be a staple on the Canucks second power play unit in a few years when the team is starting to look competitive.
There’s excitement on the farm and on the power play down there too. Many young players will develop some chemistry together, and will hopefully have a chance to make jumps in their game to become better role players on a power play. There will be jobs to fill in the future, and I am excited to see the new employees on the Canucks power play down the road.
Did I miss anyone that the Comets should have on the power play? Let me know in the comments who you are most confident will be a power play contributor for the Canucks in a couple years.