Signing undrafted free-agents has long been a hallmark of Mike Gillis’ tenure as Canucks General Manager. In the past Gillis has added young players like Chris Tanev and Eddie Lack in this manner, and usually the team signs at least one undrafted free agent per season.
So far this summer, they’d yet to dip their toe into the pool, that is until today when the Canucks announced the signing of puck-moving defenseman Evan McEneny to an entry level contract. Here’s the official press release from Canucks.nhl.com. Click past the jump for more.
Evan McEneny played in only two OHL games in 2010-11, before he blew out his ACL. Needless to say, I know next to nothing about him other than that he was invited to Vancouver’s Prospect Camp this summer.
When Evan "his own worst" McEneny first signed with the Kitchener Rangers, he was described by Rangers scouting as a "strong young man" with "great natural offensive instincts." Those sentiments are echoed by Brock Otten of OHLprospects who raved about McEneny’s skill set in late May:
I remain steadfast in my opinion that had he played this year, McEneny would be in consideration for the top two rounds of the draft. He was impressive defensively as a 16 year old rookie, and it was clear through the preseason games and the first two games of the OHL season, that McEneny had added an offensive punch to his game. He’s got size, mobility, physicality, and offensive potential from the back end. But he also suffered a season ending knee injury limiting his exposure to two games this year. If I was an NHL team, I’d take a flyer on him with a 7th round pick and hope he recovers well.
So he’s a highly regarded puck moving defenseman with upside, who only went undrafted because of an injury? If he wasn’t so young I’d describe him as a typical Mike Gillis "buy-low" prospect asset.