The Vancouver Canucks are entering an exciting era with a plethora of young talent. Let’s focus on one of the more promising blue liners in the pipeline, Jett Woo.
The Vancouver Canucks have plenty of young talent in their system, but up until the 2018 draft, you could not say that about their blue line. Olli Juolevi was the only player touted as a potential top four solution. In just two rounds of the draft, the Canucks would solve this problem. Enter Quinn Hughes and Jett Woo.
Drafted seventh and 37th overall, respectively, the Canucks would add top four skill and strength to a blue line severely lacking in both. Hughes has already made his NHL debut and impressed with his skating, zone exits and maturity beyond his years. Now we wait on his potential partner, Jett Woo.
Playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL, Woo accumulated 25 points in 44 games in his draft year. Solid, but not eye popping numbers. He would later show us that he was just getting started. Just like his name sake, Jet Li, he is getting better and more lethal with age. In a year where he got passed over by Team Canada for the World Juniors, he put up career numbers with 12 goals and 54 assists.
Looking more and more like a first round pick and potential steal from the draft, Woo has displayed character, physicality and an offensive game not touted by scouts before the 2018 draft. This is what Ben Kerr from lastwordonhockey.com said before the draft,
"Woo projects as a potential shut down defenseman, who can also provide a little offence. He will likely never be the biggest offensive threat on his team’s blueline, but he can be a support piece."
I believe that after the season he had, he can be a major offensive contributor on an NHL blue line. In fact, I see a lot of Shea Weber in him, who was also not a first round pick. Comparing point totals in their draft plus one years, Woo had more points then Weber (18 in 2002-03 with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL). It’s not a surprise that Woo models his game after Weber, because he definitely plays a lot like him.
If that is any indication, the Canucks may have a top pair rearguard on their hands.
Imagining a blue line anchored by a top pair of Quinn Hughes and Jett Woo should make any Canucks fan giddy. It definitely does for me. Woo can definitely be the yin to Hughes’ yang, protecting the defenzie zone while he swiftly moves the puck into enemy territory. What’s exciting is that Woo also has the ability and hockey IQ to jump into the play and provide offence as well as solid defence.
Combined with the character and physicality he can also provide, I have no doubt that Woo can become a fixture on the Canucks blue line for years to come. Don’t just take it from me, take it from fans of the Moose Jaw Warriors and his coach Tim Hunter, who watch him every day.
The physicality is what has me the most excited, as he can deter teams from taking runs at Hughes and Elias Pettersson. With him on the ice, they will definitely think twice.
So what can we expect from Woo this coming season? I see him making a strong run at the opening lineup, but ultimately be sent to the Calgary Hitmen who recently acquired him. He will then dominate the WHL and make Team Canada where he will be a major piece in their pursuit of a gold medal.
We will have to be patient, but when he enters the league, the Canucks will have one of the most dynamic top pairs in the NHL. Keep your head up Pacific Division, Woo is coming.