The Vancouver Canucks’ NCAA prospects who are close to turning pro

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 31: Will Lockwood #10 of the Michigan Wolverines controls the puck against the Michigan State Spartans during the consolation game of the Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament at Little Caesars Arena on December 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Wolverines and the Spartans ended in a 2-2 tie. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 31: Will Lockwood #10 of the Michigan Wolverines controls the puck against the Michigan State Spartans during the consolation game of the Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament at Little Caesars Arena on December 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Wolverines and the Spartans ended in a 2-2 tie. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Vancouver Canucks have another big-name prospect arriving this year out of the NCAA, and because of that, it’s easy to forget that some other Canucks’ collegiate prospects may make the jump to pro this season as well.

We all know Quinn Hughes is coming very, very shortly. We’ve known it for quite some time. The day is quickly approaching, and Vancouver Canucks fans are beyond excited for his arrival. While a lot of fans’ attention has been on Hughes this year, there are a few Canucks’ prospects in the NCAA who may also make the jump to pro this season.

Will Lockwood

A teammate of Hughes on the University of Michigan men’s team, William Lockwood was selected by the Canucks in the third round of the 2016 draft at 64th overall. The scouting report on Lockwood is that he is a strong two-way player who utilizes his high-end foot speed to gain position on the opposition and inherently knows how to create time and space for himself and teammates.

Lockwood, at 20 years of age, is in his third year with the University of Michigan and is wrapping up a solid season, where he has picked up 15 goals and 15 assists in 34 games thus far. He also serves as an assistant captain for Michigan’s leadership group.

Lockwood is also a key part of Michigan’s power play, take a gander at this one-timer Lockwood scored on the man-advantage on March 1st. What a shot it was — a quick release, and as the announcer said, that’s an NHL goal right there. Guess who got the secondary assist on that goal? You guessed it, Quinn Hughes.

Do not be surprised if Lockwood makes the jump to pro alongside Hughes at the end of Michigan’s season this year. Whether or not Lockwood jumps right into the NHL or spends the final bit of this year with the Utica Comets is still unknown — but Lockwood will likely sign an entry-level contract with the Canucks this month.

Tyler Madden

Ah, yes Tyler Madden. The delightful surprise of last year’s draft. Selected in the third round at 68th overall by the Canucks, Madden is a highly skilled offensive player that many Canucks fans didn’t pay much attention to until after this year’s World Juniors’ tournament hosted in Vancouver and Victoria.

More from The Canuck Way

At the World Junior Championship, Madden had a very impressive showing in the USA vs. Finland game. In that game, Madden was flying up and down the ice, and potted two goals, including the game-winner.

After an all-around solid showing at the tournament where Madden finished with three goals and one assist, he returned back to his team at Adam Gaudette‘s alma mater, Northeastern University.

Madden picked up right where he left off from the world juniors and continued to perform at a high level for Northeastern. Madden is currently tied for second in goals on the team at ten. He is also tied for fourth on the team in points with 25, and tied for the team lead in power play goals.

Keep in mind, he’s doing all of this as a freshman. It’s no wonder that Judd Brackett and co. were so high on Madden when they selected him. The knock on Madden going into the draft seemed to be his size. On both the Northeastern University website and Elite Prospects, Madden is listed at 5’11 and just 150 pounds.

However, Madden’s abilities are simply undeniable. He has a great release on his shot, quick hands and feet, and exhibits good timing and habits when tasked with protecting the puck.

Because he is a freshman, it is likely that Madden returns for at least one more year at Northeastern, but as Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal reports, all options are on the table and nothing is being ruled out when it comes to signing Madden this year.

Before you ask, I didn’t include Jack Rathbone in this article because despite having a wonderful freshman year himself with Harvard University, Rathbone seems to still need some more time to develop and will be a major key to Harvard’s blue line next year — and I haven’t seen any reports saying that Rathbone plans to sign with the Canucks at the end of this season.

Next. Things to look forward to in month of March. dark

Hughes will almost definitely sign this year, Lockwood likely will do the same, and there’s a chance that a young Madden also puts pen to paper on an entry-level contract this year as well. Who are you most excited to see in a Canucks’ uniform (besides Hughes) out of the NCAA? Let me know in the comments.