Photo Credit: Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register
Over the weekend Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman caused quite the stir by attending a Washington Capitals home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Super Bowl Sunday. The ensuing speculation led Gillis to ultimately apologize to to Washington Capital’s General Manager McPhee (or if you prefer: GMMG apologized to GMGM), and McPhee ultimately complimented Gillis’ class. I find all of that exceptionally boring.
More interesting, is the report from TSN’s Bob McKenzie who appeared on the Team 1040 on Monday afternoon and said that the Canucks management team spent some of their time on the East Coast scouting Yale Bulldogs forward Antoine Laganière.
Read on past the jump.
Obviously I don’t watch much College Hockey (I’ve manage to stream a small handful of Wisconsin Badger games this season) so I’m completely unfamiliar with Antoine Laganière’s game. But his name isn’t entirely unfamiliar to me, since he attended Vancouver’s Development camp way back in the summer of 2011. Now, he also attended development camps hosted by both the Penguins and Oilers organizations, so it’s not like his participation in a Canucks hosted camp indicates that the Canucks have some sort of "inside track" on signing him or anything, but he’s obviously been on Vancouver’s radar for a while.
Following Laganière’s busy summer in 2011, he took off as an NCAA skater and has morphed into a point-per game threat for the Yale Bulldogs. He’s also six foot four and weighs two-hundred and change, attributes which have appealed to the Canucks (and every other NHL team for that matter) during recent entry drafts.
It’s not a perfect tool by any means, but I mocked up Laganière’s NHL and NHLE production over the past couple of seasons just to give us a guideline of where he’s at production wise. (Read more about NHLE here).
|Antoine Laganière NHLE||GP||G||A||Pts||NHLE G||NHLE A||NHLE Pts|
As Keith Law says, you "can’t scout a boxscore," but based on his size and production, the twenty-two year old Laganière looks like he could project as a top-nine NHL forward if he continues along on his recent development track. He’s also thought to be among the most highly sought after NCAA free agents this Spring, with Hockey Future figuring that as many as twenty NHL clubs could try to bid for his services.
In talking about his East Coast soujourn on the Team 1040 today, Mike Gillis said that he was, "out here looking at some college players," (note the plural "some") and that the organization wanted to "have a chance [to speak with and scout] a couple of players we’re interested in."
So who else might the Canucks be interested in beyond Laganière? I have no actual idea obviously, but that’s no fun so let’s use our common sense here. Yale played two games this weekend, one against Quinnipac and another against Princeton. By quickly cross-referencing those rosters with players the Canucks have invited to their prospect development camp over the past two seasons, we can produce an interesting name: Jeremy Langlois.
Langlois is a goal scoring winger and a productive Tempe Arizona product. Between Langlois and Laganière, Langlois has had the more productive NCAA career though, at six foot nothing and a 172 pounds, he doesn’t possess the "NHL size" that Laganière does.
Anyway, who knows who the Canucks will go after, but the club didn’t sign any undrafted or college free-agents last Spring (though they did sign Evan McEneny in the late summer). The lack of any undrafted free agent signings in the Spring does, however, represent a pretty significant departure from the way Mike Gillis has previously done business (think Darren Archibald, Chris Tanev, Eddie Lack, Sebastian Erixon, Evan Oberg etc.). Sounds like the Canucks will probably be back to their usual "diamond in the rough" hunting ways this Spring though, doesn’t it?