— Oshawa Generals (@Oshawa_Generals) October 20, 2014
After 10 points in 4 games this past week, Canucks prospect Cole Cassels has been named the CHL Player of the Week, becoming the first Canucks prospect to win the award since Alex Mallet was recognized back in April 2012.
For a look at Cassels’ season to date, read past the jump.
Cassels currently sits 4th in CHL scoring with 4 goals and 16 assists, for 20 points in 11 games played. He trails only Erie’s Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome, and Barrie Colts overager Joseph Blandisi in scoring so far. Cassels’ Oshawa Generals have also been one of the OHL’s top possession teams in the early going, controlling roughly 57% of the shots on goal through the first two periods of play. They are also riding a nice shooting percentage spike however, so it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to keep up their early season scoring pace.
Here’s what Thomas Drance wrote about Cassels this past summer in our Prospect Profiles series:
This season more will be expected of Cassels, particularly if Dal Colle sticks with the Islanders (which is probably unlikely, but not impossible). Either way, Cassels is going to be the number one center in Oshawa with Laughton poised to turn pro. If his development continues to tick up the way it has over the past 12 months, he’ll be expected to dominate the OHL’s Eastern Conference and push for a spot on Team USA’s U20 world junior championship team. After the success he had in 2013-14, anything less would surely be disappointing.
In terms of Cassels’ tool kit, the comparison I’d make is to Mario from the Nintendo family of party games (Mario Tennis, Mario Party, Mario Kart etc.). Basically Cassels can do a little bit of everything, but none of his tools really stands out as “plus.”
Cassels is a solid skater, but he’ll need to get faster. He’s got roughly NHL size, but will need to add heft (without losing foot-speed). He’s got a very good, hard, accurate shot, but he’ll need to uncork it more often if he’s going to produce offense at the professional level. If he has one plus tool it’s probably his passing and general offensive awareness, which isn’t to say that he’s a flashy player – quite the opposite, really – but his skill level is pretty high.
As the Alex Mallet sample shows, this award really means nothing long-term as it pertains to Cassels’ development. He’s a 19-year old now, and as that is the case, he should be expected to be one of the premier players in the OHL. Still, it’s nice to have a guy drafted after the second round making an impact in his league and looking like a potential future NHL player, especially since the Canucks are the only team in the NHL to find zero legitimate NHLers in the 3rd round or later since 2005.
Cassels jumped from 18th in our prospect rankings last year to 9th this year, and if he continues scoring at the pace he has been this season, he’s sure to rank even higher next summer.