Canucks prospects of week 22: Rathbone, Focht and McDonough

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 4: Harvard Crimson defenseman Jack Rathbone (3) fires a rocket of a pass up ice. During the Harvard Crimson game against the Boston College Eagles on February 4, 2019 at TD Garden in Boston, MA.(Photo by Michael Tureski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 4: Harvard Crimson defenseman Jack Rathbone (3) fires a rocket of a pass up ice. During the Harvard Crimson game against the Boston College Eagles on February 4, 2019 at TD Garden in Boston, MA.(Photo by Michael Tureski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Each week, I will be featuring the Vancouver Canucks’ top three prospects. Here’s a look at who stood out in week 22.

This week featured a bevy of late-round selections by the Vancouver Canucks who are rising above expectations. These draft gems continue to elevate their games and heighten expectations.

1. Jack Rathbone

Defenceman Jack Rathbone has been one of my favourite Canucks’ prospects to watch since he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL draft. His zone exits are incredible, with his ability to both skate the puck out or deliver tape-to-tape passes. Rathbone is an elite skater, and he possesses a deadly shot.

This past week those attributes translated to production. Rathbone managed to hit the scoresheet in all three games the Harvard Crimson played and was particularly noticeable in a pair of weekend encounters.

The first game of the week saw the Crimson destroyed by the Boston College Eagles 7-2 at the Beanpot tournament. Rathbone delivered the primary assist on the game’s opening goal.

Harvard rebounded with a pair of weekend ties, beginning with a 4-4 effort versus Yale University. Harvard trailed 2-0 in the first period when Rathbone earned a secondary assist with only ten seconds remaining in the period to draw within a goal. Yale scored twice to take a 4-1 lead before Rathbone set up teammate Nick Abruzzese midway through the second period. Late in the third period, Rathbone delivered the game-tying goal when his blast from the point found the back of the net.

One night later, Rathbone wasted little time scoring just 36 seconds into the game with another tremendous slapshot. It proved to be the only goal Harvard could muster on the night as they settled for a 1-1 tie with Brown University.

Rathbone leads the Crimson in points by a defenceman with 23 points in 22 games played.

2. Carson Focht

With the 133rd overall selection in the 2019 NHL draft, the Canucks selected Carson Focht. The fifth-round pick appears to be another hidden gem as he continues to put up points in the Western Hockey League.

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The Calgary Hitmen centre has 46 points in 50 games this season while leading the team with eight powerplay markers. In three games this week Focht produced six points.

In a 6-4 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Focht tallied one goal, his 25th of the season on the power play. He followed that effort with a two-goal and one assist performance in an 8-1 drubbing of the Regina Pats.

The first of his two goals came on the power play when he found himself alone in the right circle and made quick work of a cross-ice pass beating the goaltender short side. His second tally of the night came on a deflection to close out the scoring.

The Hitmen traveled to Prince George for their final match of the week and came away with a 4-2 victory over the Cougars. Focht opened the scoring in this game when he grabbed his own rebound and went around the net to wrap it in for his 28th goal of the season. He later added an assist on the fourth Hitmen goal earning the first star of the game recognition.

3. Aidan McDonough

The Northeastern Huskies won their third consecutive Beanpot championship with a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory over the Boston University Terriers. Freshman forward Aidan McDonough played a large role in the win. McDonough, a seventh-round steal for the Canucks at the 2019 NHL draft, is enjoying a remarkable season for the Huskies and is currently among the top first year players in several categories.

In the Beanpot final the Huskies fell behind early and trailed the Terriers 2-0 after the opening twenty minutes. The Huskies came out of the dressing room with guns-a-blazing scoring four times in the first 11:23 of the period to grab a 4-2 lead.

McDonough cycled the puck down low and then set up teammate and fellow Canucks’ prospect Tyler Madden to get the party started. Three minutes later, McDonough rifled a shot from the faceoff circle knotting the game 2-2. However, he wasn’t done there and while on the power play McDonough set up Zach Solow for the go-ahead goal.

The Huskies struck again and led 4-2 at the second intermission. The Terriers pressed hard in the third period and frantically tied the game with 1.2 seconds left on the clock. Northeastern prevailed on the power play in overtime, when McDonough dished the puck back to the point for Jordan Harris to deliver the game-winning blow.

Honourable mentions

Arvid Costmar, the other seventh-round selection from the 2019 draft, had three points in his lone game in the SuperElit playoffs, earning him a call up to the Swedish Hockey League club. In his return to the big club, Costmar scored his first SHL goal, sniping a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle.

Michael DiPietro continues to earn the trust of Utica Comets head coach Trent Kull. DiPietro posted a .931 save percentage in two games this past week, stopping 67 of the 72 shots he faced. The Comets were 1-1 in those two matches.

Next. Canucks: 3 things need to be fixed before playoffs. dark

Please check back next week to see which of these Vancouver Canucks talents will be featured.