Coming in at sixth on our Midterm Prospect Rankings is Andrey Pedan. Pedan, 23, is in his third year in the Vancouver Canucks system after coming over via a trade with the New York Islanders that saw Alexandre Mallet and a third round pick head the other way. After two solid seasons in Utica, Pedan looked to be on a positive track toward cracking the Canucks roster but has been unfortunately buried behind a fair number of blue liners above him in the organization.
This year, the 6’5″ blueliner has struggled to produce in Utica, only putting up 3 points in 22 games. After spending 30 days with the big club, Pedan was recently sent down due to him needing waivers if he stayed in the NHL another day.
Let’s dive into what makes Andrey Pedan our sixth-ranked prospect.
For those of you that are joining us partway through, here’s a quick review the criteria for a qualifying prospect:
- The player must be 25 years or younger, and
- The player must be eligible for the Calder Trophy next season.
As a result, players that are considered to be “graduated” to the NHL (Brendan Gaunce, Nikita Tryamkin, Jake Virtanen, Anton Rodin) are not eligible.
pGPS & Cohort Breakdowns
Andrey Pedan’s pGPS does not bode well for him. While the drop in Pedan’s pGPS from 63% to 9% is concerning and he saw a huge drop largely due to his age and his lack of games played at the NHL level. Pedan’s AHL cohorts are nothing that stands out but they reflect that he can be a serviceable third pairing defender.
With that being said, Pedan does have something very few people on this list have: NHL experience. Not only did Pedan play in the NHL, he actually looked like he could hold his own as a third-pairing blueliner. Statistically and visually, Pedan looked to be a solid option for the Canucks this season and would serve as a quality depth piece should the team run into injury problems.
The one caveat to Pedan’s NHL experience is that it is extremely limited and he received very minimal playing time in his actual position. In his brief 13 game stint with the Canucks last year, Pedan was seemingly experimented with more than the Canucks have done this year with the entire lineup. It is tough for a player to truly show their value if they are not put in a reasonable position to succeed. Given that Pedan was mainly utilized in garbage time as a forward last season, it’s reasonable to believe that Pedan was not put in a reasonable position to succeed and the Canucks could not get an accurate read on what the defender brings to the table.
Based on everything we have available, both statistically and visually, Pedan is actually a decent defender. He has unfortunately never got the chance to prove it for a lengthy period of time. Because he never got the chance and is nearing his peak, his chances of getting being a regular NHLer dropped significantly.
Pedan started off this season in Utica, where he has struggled to find the scoresheet. However, Pedan sits second amongst Comets defenders with a 53.57% Goals For percentage and an impressive 15.48% Goals For percentage relative to his teammates which leads all Comets defenders. He is by far the Canucks most NHL-ready blueliner and was fully deserving of being called up to the big club.
Unfortunately for Pedan, he was unable to crack a lineup even when it was ravaged by injuries and the flu bug recently. It would have been as good of time as ever to give Pedan a shot on the blue line and feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. The Canucks ultimately made the right call in sending him back down to the AHL to avoid him requiring to be placed on waivers seeing as how was not going to receive playing time.
It might be for the best for him to finally get back into game action should the Canucks run into more injury issues and need to call him up.
As of right now, Pedan is the most NHL-ready blueline prospect the Canucks have. He may not have the top end offensive abilities of Jordan Subban, but Pedan brings with him the ability to shut down the opposition with his defensive abilities.
You can talk about how likely a player is to succeed at the NHL level based off of their career progression. You can talk about how they looked solid in their limited playing time in their natural position in the NHL. At the end of the day, it does not matter if the player will not be put in the lineup over a player who’s so sick that they’re almost throwing up whenever they get hit.
Barring a coaching change or another slew of injuries and illnesses, it looks like Pedan’s chances on breaking into the NHL with the Canucks are slim. For a team that values size, grit, and tenacity as much as the Canucks do it is quite peculiar that one of the players that fits that bill has yet to be given a shot. Pedan likely will not be a game changing player. His small sample size in the NHL and his career progression in the AHL, however, points towards him being a valuable option for any team needing a quality third pairing defender.
I sincerely hope this is not the last we see of Pedan in a Canucks uniform, as the Canucks seem to have a solid defensive prospect on their hands. Let’s hope the Defensive Datsyuk gets his opportunity to shine in the NHL again.