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2017 Canucks Young Stars preview: Offence

by Ryan Biech @ryanbiech / Canucks freelance writer

The Young Stars Classic kicks off this Friday with the Canucks prospects taking on prospects from the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Winnipeg Jets.

This is the 7th year that the South Okanagan Events Centres has hosted this tournament and it is an absolutely fantastic event that allows fans to see players who could make up their favourite team's core in a few years.

We'll take a look at some of the forwards that will be wearing Canucks colours this weekend. The team listed after their name is the team that the player suited up for the majority of last season and may change heading into this campaign.

Brock Boeser - RW (University of North Dakota - NCAA)

After appearing in nine games with the Canucks to close out last season, Brock Boeser makes his Young Stars Classic debut. The Burnsville, Minnesota, native will have his eyes on cracking the Canucks opening night roster after potting four goals and one assist in those nine games. This followed an impressive 16 goals and 18 assists in 32 games for North Dakota.

The 23rd overall pick from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft is a player to keep an eye on in Penticton this week. His offensive instincts and shot should make him a handful for the opposition.

Michael Carcone - RW (Utica Comets - AHL)

Signed as a free agent following the Canucks development camp last summer, Michael Carcone had a respectable rookie season in the AHL. Used in a variety of roles and deployments, the Ajax, Ontario native ended the year with five goals and 13 assists in 61 games for the Comets.

Those point totals don't fully reflect the type of game Carcone plays. He is relentless in his puck pursuit, has a knack for the net and was defensiveably responsible. Being one of the few forwards at this year's Young Stars Classic for the Canucks, look for Carcone to be relied upon quite a bit.

Johnny Corneil - C (Niagara IceDogs - OHL)

The first free agent invite amongst the forward group is Niagara IceDogs centre Johnny Corneil. The young pivot ended last year with 31 goals and 31 assists in 67 games. Both of those totals led his team.

The Lindsay, Ontario native is expected to return to Niagara this fall and captain the upward trending IceDogs. Corneil hopes to make enough of an impression to earn a longer look at main camp or be a player for the Canucks to keep an eye for the rest of the season.

Alexis D'Aoust - RW (Shawnigan Catraractes - QMJHL)

Alexis D'Aoust was in a similar position to Corneil last season, invited to Canucks development camps and hoping to make a name for himself. He wasn't able to earn a contract, but made a good enough impression that the Canucks kept tabs on him and he returns to Penticton this year after signing a one year AHL contract with the Utica Comets.

The 5'11" and 205 lbs winger is quick and has shown some offensive upside putting up 29 goals and 31 assist in 50 games last year in the QMJHL. He should get a chance to take on an offensive role with the Comets this season. If he can round out his 200-foot game, he could provide some great depth for Utica.

Jonah Gadjovich - LW (Owen Sound Attack - OHL)

Taken with the 55th overall pick this past June in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Jonah Gadjovich is a gritty and feisty two-way forward. That isn't to say that he doesn't know how to score, because he does. He ended last year with 46 goals and 28 assists in 60 games for Owen Sound.

The 6'2" and 210 winger knows where to go, parking himself in front of the net and creating havoc. He isn't afraid to do the dirty work, get into the corners, make hits and get into the fray.

Gadjovich attended Team Canada's World Juniors development camp this summer where all of those talents were on display.

Yan-Pavel Laplante - LW/C (Alaska Aces - ECHL)

Signed as a free agent near the end of the 2015-16 season, Yan Pavel Laplante spent the majority of last season with the Alaska Aces in the ECHL. He did appear in 13 games for the Comets. He is a gritty forward who gets in on the forecheck and pressures his opponents defencemen.

The 6'0" and 185 lbs winger had a good season for the Aces putting up 9 goals and 11 assists in 38 games and will look to build off that this season.

Kole Lind - RW (Kelowna Rockets - WHL)

Kole Lind is a smart winger who played last season with the Kelowna Rockets in the Western Hockey League. Selected with the 33rd overall pick, Lind has a knack for find gaps in coverage and making the most of it.

Measuring in at 6'1" and 185 lbs, Lind started the season off a little slow last year before taking off and ending the campaign with 30 goals and 57 assists in 70 games for the Rockets. He will return to Kelowna and will be leaned on to be a large part of their offence this season.

Aaron Luchuk - C (Windsor Spitfires - OHL)

The teammate of Canucks prospects Jalen Chatfield and Michael DiPietro, invitee Aaron Luchuk looks to make an impression on Canucks management this week. The 5'10" and 180 lbs pivot had a very impressive Memorial Cup performance with two goals and two assists en route to capturing the cup.

He is expected to return to the Spitfires this upcoming season and build upon the momentum he created in his third season in the OHL.

Zack MacEwen - C (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles - QMJHL)

Signed to an entry level contract by the Canucks in March lasy year, MacEwen is a feisty player who has a knack for scoring highlight reel goals. That isn't to say that he is consistently productive, as he scored 21 points in 13 games following his signing but when some of those were really nice ones.

Known for his hard nosed play, the 6'3" and 205 lbs center has some underrated puck skills and skating abilities. Those are usually shown during those highlight reel goals.

MacEwen will turn pro this year and hopes to secure a spot with the Utica Comets and go from there.

Brett McKenzie - C (North Bay Battalion - OHL)

Taken in the 7th round of the 2016 NHL Entry draft, centre Brett McKenzie was a leader for the North Bay Battalion in the OHL. Coming in at 6'2" and 192 lbs, McKenzie led the Battalion in scoring with 29 goals and 38 assists in 67 games.

He is also defensively responsible and was an assistant captain for North Bay. He does everything for his team and does them well.

Griffen Molino - C/LW (Western Michigan State- NCAA)

Signed as an undrafted free agent out of the NCAA, Griffen Molino appeared in five games for the Canucks to close out last season. With speed to burn, the 6'0" and 185 lbs forward will look to make his mark on the professional ranks this season.

He has good offensive instincts, sees the ice well and skates like the wind. Molino also has that versatility to move up and down the lineup.

Danny Moynihan - C/LW (Alaska Aces- ECHL)

Closing out the invites amongst the forwards this year is Alaska Aces forward Danny Moynihan. The 6'1" and 190 lbs centre was an invite to Young Stars last year and made his way to the Aces for the duration of the 2016-17. He was very productive and noticeable ending the year with 22 goals and 30 assists in 71 games.

The Boston, MA native will look to make an impression and earn an invite to Canucks training camp or the Utica Comets training camp.

Jakob Stukel - LW (Calgary Hitmen- WHL)

Another player with serious wheels is 2016 6th round pick Jakob Stukel. Last year with the Calgary Hitmen, Stukel put up 23 goals and 30 assists in 70 games. The 6'0" and 190 lbs left winger is able to beat defencemen with his acceleration and puck protection.

He'll be an interesting player to follow in the WHL this season as he enters his final year in the Western Hockey League

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