Each week I will be featuring the Vancouver Canucks top three prospects of the week. Along with any other notable performances, should there be any that deserve mentioning?
1. Quinn Hughes
The Vancouver Canucks home opener was memorable for a bevy of reasons. However, for Quinn Hughes, it will be a night he will never forget. While on the powerplay, Hughes let go of a blast that beat Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick for his first National Hockey League goal. Not only was it the first power play play marker for the Canucks this season, but it sparked the Canucks to an 8-2 decision.
The play of Hughes thus far this season has surpassed all expectations. He has logged more ice-time and been far more trusted by coach Travis Green than anticipated. Later in the game, Hughes sets up defensive partner Chris Tanev for an easy tap-in goal.
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Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, Hughes gave the fans more to be excited about with his numerous rushes, particularly in the overtime session.
The rookie defenceman was solid in the defensive zone as well. The Canucks came away with a 3-2 shootout victory, while the fans came away with heightened anticipation for what the young core players may achieve.
2. Jett Woo
It has taken Jett Woo a few games this season to get his game up to speed with his new team. However, this past week, he gave Calgary Hitmen fans a glimpse of how solid his game can be.
In a game versus the Portland Winterhawks, Woo helped set up the game’s opening goal on the power play. Then a few minutes later, he scored his first goal of the season when he walked in from the point and took the puck to the net. The Hitmen went on to win the game 5-2 and Woo earned the second star of the game honours.
Woo and Hughes were both selected by the Canucks in the 2018 NHL draft.
3. Dmitri Zhukenov
Since being selected by the Canucks in the 2015 NHL draft, Russian forward Dmitri Zhukenov has bounced from team to team. His development has suffered as a result. Now starting his fourth season since being drafted, Zhukenov has played for eight different teams in five separate leagues.
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He is currently playing in the VHL for Gornyak Uchaly and seems to have found his stride. In two games this past week, Zhukenov registered four points. He scored the lone goal for his team in a 3-1 loss to Beijing and followed that up with a two-goal one assist performance in a 4-2 victory versus Tseng Tou. One of his tallies in that game came while short-handed. Meanwhile, his assist came on the powe rplay, showing that he can be counted on in all situations.
The likelihood of Zhukenov ever returning to North America, where he played as a junior for the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, is virtually non-existent. However, the Canucks still hold his playing rights, although he remains unsigned.
The Utica Comets are 2-0 to start the season, with both victories coming on the road. Lukas Jasek provided the overtime game-winner and played a solid two-way game throughout the contest. The Comets will play their home opener on Wednesday versus the Syracuse Crunch.
Carson Focht had a goal and an assist for the Hitmen in Saturday nights loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings. Focht now has nine points in five games this season.
Be sure to check back next week to see which prospects are featured.