2018 TCW Vancouver Canucks prospect report cards

Sweden Patric Hornqvist (R) vies with United States' Quinn Hughes during the semifinal match Sweden vs USA of the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 19, 2018. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Sweden Patric Hornqvist (R) vies with United States' Quinn Hughes during the semifinal match Sweden vs USA of the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 19, 2018. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images) /
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Jonathan Dahlén (LW), Utica Comets (AHL)

Jonathan Dahlén. A hero in Timrå. Best friend of Elias Pettersson. Maybe his future linemate. Well, things didn’t start off hot for Dahlén. His lacklustre preseason sent him to the Utica Comets, where he struggled to put up points. It was a wake up call on the difference between the Allsvenskan and the AHL.

Putting up less than 0.5 points per game early on, he wasn’t playing poorly, but wasn’t excelling like people hoped. That changed in mid-November when he caught fire and took advantage of an injured lineup. Dahlén has seven goals and 17 points in 28 games. He doesn’t lead Canucks rookies, but he made the most of his limited time and earned much more from Trent Cull. It was a little slow to start, but he’s on the right track now.

Grade: B+

Jonah Gadjovich (LW), Utica Comets (AHL)

Jonah Gadjovich was part of the “Golden” draft class from 2017. Well, we’re in the second year removed from that draft and Gadjovich is one player who has not adjusted well to the pros. The Man Child was big enough for the physical side of the AHL, but his skating would ultimately hold him back.

And that’s what is happening. In the same minutes given to Dahlén early on, Gadjovich has struggled mightily. You can’t make it in the AHL without a minimum level of mobility and he does not have that right now.

It was going to be an issue from the moment we took him in the draft and so far he has yet to make progress in that department. He will likely carve out a nice defensive role, but for him to do that in the NHL, he has to be able to move well enough. I do think he could use time in the ECHL, but the Comets are decimated with injuries (again). He will get his opportunity now, so he should make the most of it. With four points in 19 games, he absolutely could.

Grade: C-

Lukas Jasek (RW), Utica Comets (AHL)

Lukas Jasek quietly excelled at the end of last season. On a six-game stint with the Comets to end the season, he picked up seven points in six games. Although he hasn’t kept that pace, Jasek has been very good this year, collecting 16 points in 26 games.

Jasek has no excuses. He is older than many of the Canucks prospects (21 years old) and has done well with limited time as well. It’s almost like the Comets reward good play and hard work. The sixth round pick from the 2015 draft is doing well, meeting expectations and not complaining about ice time.

Grade: B

Kole Lind (RW), Utica Comets (AHL)

Why isn’t anybody taking Kole Lind? Perhaps this season is showing why. Well, that’s mean. However, Lind has played incredibly poorly. The kid was a dominant force last year in the WHL and it really shows the gap in talent between major junior and the minors.

That’s the difference between playing kids and playing against grown adults. Lind has 2 points in 15 games. Even Gadjovich is doing better and Lind had the better chance of making it to the NHL after the draft.

He is slow, lost and just seems unsure of himself. I don’t think he needs to be sent back to junior. There’s nothing left for him there. But he could use a bunch of games in the ECHL. He and Gadjovich are not out of time. They are 20 years old, but this is a rude awakening that should show them how much left they have to learn before they look towards the NHL.

It’s a lesson for them and frankly a lesson for all of us. Pro hockey separates the wheat from the chaff and that’s just to make it in the minors. It’s a long and road to the NHL from here.

Grade: C-

Will Lockwood (LW), Michigan Wolverines (NCAA)

I’ll be honest. After he hurt his shoulder for the second year in a row, I was concerned that Will Lockwood would end his career before it began. He has taken off like a rocket this season, putting up five goals and 15 points in 17 games.

It helps to have Quinn Hughes feeding you passes, but Lockwood has looked dangerous for the Wolverines. Keep in mind, this is Lockwood’s junior year in college, so if he has any chance at the NHL, he has to be productive. Maybe he will live up to that Jannik Hansen projection. I do miss the Honey Badger at his peak and Lockwood can be feisty on the ice.

Grade: A-

Zack MacEwen (C/RW), Utica Comets (AHL)

We get to one of my favourite prospects on the Comets. Zack MacEwen or Big Z has come an incredible way. His development curve is atypical. Now, not Alex Burrows atypical, but still very interesting.

Instead of playing 3-4 years of major junior like most NHL hopefuls, MacEwen only played two. He got to the QMJHL late, but the Canucks still saw something in him. When they signed the undrafted forward, critics panned the move. However, with his surging success, his biggest critic at CanucksArmy admitted the mistake, something most people aren’t willing to do.

MacEwen has made me a fan quickly. He is fast, full of energy and can be a wrecking ball out there. Leading all Canucks prospects with 25 points in 31 games, he is one of my top choices to get a call up with the Canucks later this season.

Grade: A+

Tyler Madden (C), Northeastern Huskies (NCAA)

Tyler Madden has been nothing short of incredible so far. The 2018 third rounder is far and away exceeding my expectations. It’s still too early to declare the pick a home run, but his start has been fantastic. Madden has 15 points in 14 games, taking full advantage of the prime opportunities in Northeastern provided by Adam Gaudette and his graduated teammates.

Madden is on a very good Northeastern team, becoming a significant part of the team’s success. The Canucks organization can seem thin at centre, so it is nice to have someone like Madden. Judd Brackett looks like he found another nice player from the US region and I can’t wait to see what Madden can do in 2019.

Grade: A+

Artyom Manukyan (RW), Avangard Omsk (KHL)

Artyom Manukyan was like the Petrus Palmu pick. A small, highly skilled forward taken in the sixth round. It was something Canucks fans begged for. To go for skill and not throw the pick away with low upside players.

Now is the time to remember that these players have a very small chance of making the NHL. Both were taken in their draft+2 seasons, shrinking their window to prove something. Manukyan had a very good start to his season, but has cooled off for the last two months. He has 13 points in 41 KHL games, so we will see what happens. The Canucks have four years to decide on him.

Grade: B-

Petrus Palmu (RW/LW), Utica Comets (AHL)/TPS Turku (Liiga)

I’m a lot harsher on Palmu for a couple of reasons. First, you can’t use the North American ice excuse. He played in Owen Sound for three years; he’s seen and gotten used to the ice. Second, he may have been rookie of the year in Liiga, but he wasn’t destroying the league.

A good example of a small player excelling there is Aleksi Heponiemi. At 148 lbs, Heponiemi is putting up 0.9 points per game in Liiga. He’s doing that as a 19-year-old while Palmu put up 0.61 points per game as a 20-year-old.

It also shows the gap between Liiga and the AHL. Palmu needs to produce offence to offset doubts about his size. He didn’t take advantage of his minutes like Jasek. He is older than other prospects in Utica, so there is less of an excuse. Returning to Liiga is fine and the Canucks have him under contract for two years after this season. But with one point in 12 games, I’m not exactly confident in Palmu going forward.

Grade: C-

Next. What I want for Christmas: A healthy Elias Pettersson. dark

Dmitry Zhukenov (C), Yugra (VHL)/LHK (Czech2)/AZ Havirov (Czech2)

Dmitry Zhukenov has been incredibly frustrating to track. It seems like he hardly plays any games and with his rights expiring next June, I am ready to declare him a bust, but I promised no failures today. Although, he is basically done as a prospect for me and likely the Canucks as well.

Grade: C-

Well, if you made through these 3800 words, I am grateful for your attention. Hopefully, that gets you caught up with all things related to Canucks prospects. I can’t wait for the World Juniors and here’s to a strong finish in the new year!