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Canucks Prospects Update: 2018 Draft Class

...a look at how last year's picks have done this season

by Ryan Biech @ryanbiech / Freelance writer

It's a busy time of the year in the hockey world with the NHL Trading Deadline on the horizon.

It also means that the 2019 NHL Entry Draft here in Vancouver is only a few short months away and fans will get a first-hand look at one of the most exciting events of the hockey season right at Rogers Arena.

Last season, the Canucks made six selections at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and almost every one of them has taken noticeable steps forward in their first year as a part of the organization.

This week, we'll take a quick look at how each of 2018 draft picks has done this season.

D Quinn Hughes (7th overall selection)

26 GP - 4G - 25A - 29 PT

The Canucks top selection from this past draft continues to razzle and dazzle with his skating and puck moving abilities. Hughes currently leads the University of Michigan in scoring and has a 12 point lead on the second scoring defenceman on the roster.

Hughes is tied for sixth in NCAA defencemen scoring and is second in junior defencemen scoring, trailing only Cale Makar.

The left-handed defender has points in 19 of 26 games this season and has never gone more than one game with getting on the scoresheet. Although he hasn't put up a lot of goals this season, his shot totals have been increasing with each passing week including a combined 12 shots on goal in the last three games.

Reminder: Last month the NCAA released its initial list of Hobey Baker Award nominees for the 2018-19 season, with more than 80 players eligible to finish in the top 10. From there, a final three will be chosen. You can help Hughes get into the top 10: vote early and often at, until March 10th.

D Jett Woo (37th overall selection)

50 GP - 11G - 39A - 50 PT

Early in the second round, the organization selected WHL defenceman Jett Woo from the Moose Jaw Warriors.

The rugged and smooth-skating defenceman was known for his defensive game and physical play, but there was reason to believe he had more to give offensively and has proven that belief to be correct in huge ways this season.

Woo has set new WHL career highs in goals, assists, points, and penalty minutes already this season. He is getting huge minutes for the Warriors as they look to solidify a playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference.

Woo sits sixth in scoring and fourth in points per game among WHL defencemen.

There is a lot to be excited about Woo's game this year and the potential as a physical defender who can play a good two-way game on the right side of the ice.

C Tyler Madden (68th overall selection)

26 GP - 9G - 14A - 23 PT

There is just something about Northeastern University and the Vancouver Canucks.

With Huskies alumni Adam Gaudette carving out an NHL role with the Canucks this season, 2018 3rd round pick Tyler Madden has surprised a lot of people and parachuted into the first line centre spot vacated by Gaudette.

Madden was a part of the Team USA roster for the World Juniors this past December and was displaying some confidence with his stick handling and tenacity. He had shown flashes of his skill in the first half of the season with Northeastern, but the World Juniors appear to have been his coming out party. Since his return to the NCAA, Madden has been all over the place for the Huskies and is clearly a player that opposing teams are focusing in on.

The right-handed centre is currently tied for 6th in NCAA freshman scoring and sits in third among that same peer group in shots per game with an average of 3.23.

D Toni Utunen (130th overall selection)

34 GP - 1G - 2A - 3 PT

The Canucks didn't have a 4th round selection, but took Finnish defenceman Toni Utunen in the 5th round.

Many fans will know him as the player that ended Team Canada's medal hopes at the World Juniors after scoring the overtime winner on fellow Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro.

Like Madden, Utunen headed back to his regular club and has clearly taken a step forward in the second half of the season. Although the three points won't jump off the page, Utunen has seen his ice-time creep up with each passing week as he moved from the 7th defencemen to a regular role on the third pairing for Tappara.

It's expected that his role will grow even more next season.

F Artem Manukyan (186th overall selection)

61 GP - 3G - 11A - 14 PT

The diminutive winger has slowed down considerably in the second half of the KHL season, but continues to be a regular in their lineup.

His hot start to the season, which saw him post close to a point per game in the first month, likely resulted in heightened expectations on the whole year. But the fact that the 5'7" player has remained in the lineup on a regular basis and is still using his skating abilities and relentless work ethic to be effective in all three zones should be an encouraging sign.

G Matthew Thiessen (192nd overall selection)

34 GP - 14-13-4, 0.893 SV%, & 2.90 GAA

With their final selection of the 2018 draft class, the Canucks had selected goaltender Matthew Thiessen.

He was committed to head to the USHL this season before heading to the University of Maine in 2019-20.

Thiessen has had some good stretches throughout the season, but then also falls victim to some breakdowns in front of him. He has won four of his last five starts and shows improvement in his technique and consistency on a game to game basis.

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