Canucks Prospects Update: In the USA
...a look at Canucks prospects excelling south of the borderby Ryan Biech @ryanbiech / Freelance writer
The Canucks prospects in the United States continue to make waves on a weekly basis.
It's something that fans have become accustomed to with Brock Boeser, Adam Gaudette, and Thatcher Demko showing up on the NCAA highlight reels for the past few seasons.
This season the organization is led south of the border by Quinn Hughes and Tyler Madden, but have a supporting cast that provides some interesting storylines.
It's clear that the organization has done extremely well with their American prospects over the past few seasons and it appears that pipeline will continue for another couple years.
C Tyler Madden
22 GP - 9 G - 12A - 21 PT
The 2018 3rd round pick continues to take strides with each passing week.
He was on the centre stage this week with the annual Beanpot tournament kicking off at TD Garden in Boston. Last season, Northeastern ended a 30-year drought at the event with a 5-2 win over Boston University to capture the title. Last year's win was led by Adam Gaudette, who posted a hat trick in the finals, and it appears that Madden is ready to lead the Huskies this season.
Madden was noticeable the moment the puck dropped displaying confidence and tenacity any time the puck was near him. He was trying to dangle through the Boston University defence with regularity and came close to scoring a couple of highlight reel goals.
He couldn't bury one in regulation, but came up the hero in overtime. Taking a long pass to send him in on a breakaway, Madden deked Jake Oettinger and tucked it home to send Northeastern to the Beanpot finals with the 2-1 OT win.
Northeastern will take on Boston College next Monday for the Beanpot championship.
D Quinn Hughes
23 GP - 4 G - 21 A - 25 PT
The Canucks top defensive prospect continues to dazzle this month with his offensive abilities.
Hughes has never gone more than one game without a point this season and currently sits seventh in NCAA defensive scoring.
What has stood about Hughes recently is that he puts the last game behind him and makes his presence noticeable felt in a positive way the next time he suits up. The 5-foot-10 defender had a tough outing against Penn State on January 26th, but made up for it with a good showing in the two games against Minnesota this past weekend.
In the second game of their two-game set, Hughes had a fantastic one-timer goal and an even more noteworthy assist. He looped back to gain control of the puck, attacked, danced through the defensive structure before losing control of the puck and Michael Pastujov buried it.
Hughes is still working on rounding out his two-way game, but there is little doubt that he has taken strides forward this season.
D Jack Rathbone
21 GP - 4 G - 7 A - 11 PT
The Canucks 4th round pick from 2017 also participated in the Beanpot tournament, but unfortunately didn't get the same positive result as Northeastern.
Rathbone and the Harvard Crimson fell 2-1 to Boston College in a tight-checking game that could've gone either way. Rathbone continues to play on Harvard's first pairing with Adam Fox and sees regular time on their second power play unit.
Although he hasn't been able to keep up the torrid pace that he saw to start the season, where he posted seven points in his first six NCAA games, Rathbone continues to show excellent skating, impressive puck distribution, and attention to detail in all three zones.
RW William Lockwood
27 GP - 11 G - 10 A - 21 PT
The NCAA junior is quietly putting together a good season for the Michigan Wolverines.
From January 11th until February 1st, Lockwood scored in five straight games for Michigan and has been generating shots with regularity. The Wolverines lost Josh Norris to a season-ending injury in early January, and since Lockwood played regularly with him, there was an expectation of some drop-off, but Lockwood hasn't let that slow him down.
He has been using his speed and relentless pursuit of the puck to keep his opponents on the heels.
One aspect that has really jumped out during that goal streak was his ability to elusively find the loose puck. If there is a contested puck, Lockwood has been able to jump on it and get another shot on goal. Combine that with the other facets of his game and Lockwood should have a good last quarter of the season in the NCAA.
G Matthew Thiessen
10-13-1-3 2.90 GAA 0.895 SV%
The Canucks selected Matt Thiessen in the 7th round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft with the understanding that he will be taking the long route of the USHL and then the NCAA.
Thiessen hit a bit of a bumpy patch in November and December, but has been playing better in the last few weeks for Dubuque (USHL). His last three starts have seen him stop 81 of 87 shots for a save percentage of 0.931 SV% during that time. He is now ranked 12th in the USHL in goals-against-average and 15th in terms of save percentage.
He has been improving his lateral movements and directing the puck out of danger on the first shot. It will be interesting to see how he does in the last part of the season and then in the NCAA next season.