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CHL prospects primer

by Tyson Giuriato / Vancouver Canucks

The Canadian Hockey League season has kicked off and the NCAA season is right around the corner.

The Vancouver Canucks will have six prospects playing in the Ontario Hockey League, five in the NCAA and two in the Western Hockey League.

Want to follow along with our prospects playing in the college in junior ranks? Don’t worry; we got you covered with our prospects preview:

Ontario Hockey League

Brendan Gaunce, Belleville Bulls

Gaunce returns for his fourth season and second as team captain with the Bulls. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound forward needs to get off to a fast start as he looks to earn a spot on Team Canada for the World Juniors. Through four games so far this season, the Markham, Ontario native has five assists.

Jordan Subban, Belleville Bulls

Subban was a point-producing defenseman with the Bulls last season (51 points in 68 games) and now that he’s in his third season of junior we should see even more out of the 2013 fourth-round pick. The Toronto, Ontario native has gotten off to a hot start posting six points in six games so far this season.

Bo Horvat, London Knights

Except big things out of Horvat this season on a potent London Knights team that ranks among the best in all of junior hockey. Horvat will once again be a key player on a Knights team that will be heading to their third straight Memorial Cup in May. The 6-foot, 205-pound centre has three points in two games since returning to the Knights line-up. Look for Horvat come Christmas time as a potential forward on Team Canada at the World Juniors.

Miles Liberati, London Knights

Entering his second season in the OHL, Liberati should see an increased role on a very deep London Knights team this year. So far this season, the Cheswick, Pennsylvania native has seen just that, as he has played big minutes in the absence of teammates Olli Maatta and Nikita Zadorov, picking up two points in five games to go along with a plus-1 rating.

Cole Cassels, Oshawa Generals

Cassels posted 43 points last season as a third-line centre but has started this season as one of the Generals main offensive weapons. With the return of Scott Laughton to the team, Cassels will play second-line center and also play the point on the top power-play unit. The 6-foot, 180-pounder has six points through six games already this season. Expect Cassels to be around the point-per-game mark this year.

Evan McEneny, Kitchener Rangers

McEneny is entering his fourth season in the OHL and with Frank Corrado and Ryan Murphy gone from the Rangers blue-line, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound defenseman will see top-pairing minutes this season. McEneny has picked up one assist through three games thus far, as he looks to build on his 34-point campaign from last season.

Western Hockey League

Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat Tigers

He may have missed a handful of games to start the season while at Canucks camp, but look for Shinkaruk to be around the top of the WHL scoring leaders when it’s all said and done. The crafty winger has posted 86 goals and 177 points in 130 games over the past two seasons. Shinkaruk scored twice in his Tigers debut on Friday night and should be a lock to represent Canada at the World Juniors in December.

Anton Cederholm, Portland Winterhawks

Cederholm’s style of play is perfect for the WHL, a league that has produced a ton of NHL defensemen over the years, and he joins a Winterhawks team that will be among the WHL’s best, yet again. If the first five games are any indication, this will be a big year for the big Swede as he had points in the first five games he played and already picked up his first fighting major of the season (against Liam Stewart, son of Rod Stewart).


Joseph Labate, University of Wisconsin

Big things are expected out of the third-year Badgers forward this season. Labate was a solid top-six forward posting 23 points in 41 games, 21 of those points in the last 29 games, on a Badgers team that went on a remarkable run the second half of last season. Labate and the Badgers get going on October 11th against Northern Michigan.

Patrick McNally, Harvard University

McNally returns to Harvard as a junior after missing most of his sophomore season due to a disciplinary action. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenseman will have to sit out the first seven games of the season before he is eligible to get back on the ice and look to build on his freshman season where he picked up 22 points in 34 games. McNally should make his return on November 16th against Princeton.

Ben Hutton, University of Maine

Hutton had a good freshman campaign with Maine last season, leading all blue-liners on the team in scoring with 15 points in 34 games. With a new coach at the helm, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder should build on his numbers from last season and once again lead the defensive corps in scoring. Hutton and the Black Bears get going on October 6th against Dalhousie.

Matt Beattie, Yale University

It was an interesting freshman year for Beattie last season. He only saw action in 15 games and didn’t register a point, but did get a front-row seat to Yale’s National Championship run. With some top forwards graduating from the squad, the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder will get an increased role this season with the defending champions. Yale starts their title defense on October 25 when they head to New Jersey for the Ivy Shootout.

Mike Williamson, Penn State University

The newest Canucks prospect to make the jump to the NCAA, Williamson joins a Penn State team that is only in their second year of Division I play. The Leduc, Alberta native should see top-four minutes on the blue-line in a newly-formed, yet tough Big Ten Conference. Williamson kicks-off his NCAA career on October 11th when the Nittany Lions host Army at the brand new Pegula Ice arena.

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