Since defencemen Michael Del Zotto and Patrick Wiercioch were added on July 1st, there has been plenty of talk about whether there will be any room for the some of the defensive prospects who are on the cusp of being ready for the NHL. Typically the names heard in conjunction with this have been Jordan Subban and Andrey Pedan, though Jalen Chatfield has been getting some love of late as well because of his style pro-style game (I’d pump the breaks on that one and give the kid some time, for what it’s worth).
Much as he has been for most of the last several seasons, Evan McEneny tends to be the forgotten man. Today, the Canucks showed that they’re still interested in having McEneny around by re-signing him to a two-year, two-way contract.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) July 12, 2017
McEneny has been one of my dark horse prospects for a while now, and since the Florida Panthers
stole Curtis Valk from me signed Curtis Valk as a free agent, he’s now at the top of my list in that regard. Not being on twitter for most of last season made pumping McEneny’s tires a bit of a challenge, but I gave him plenty of due in the Comets Weekly articles that I was publishing.
I also penned this 2300 word article on him that was scheduled to run on the morning of February 25th, but had to be bumped up after we learned late on February 24th that he’d received his first NHL call up during Mumpageddon or #MumpGate or whatever you want to call it.
I’d written this on him just a few days before the call up:
Evan McEneny led all Canucks prospects in points over the past 4 games, with a goal and four assists. He also had a whopping 19 shots, which is just downright ridiculous. This, after putting 14 shots on net last week. McEneny has 15 points in his last 20 games – combined with his shot generation and deployment, this is beyond just a hot streak. McEneny, still just 22 years old, is now officially my darkhorse prospect to actually become something. Keep an eye on him.
If you ask me, McEneny might be just as NHL-ready, if not more so, than Pedan and Subban. He has more offensive upside than Pedan, and has a far superior 200-foot game than Subban, and at 6-f0ot-2 and 215 pounds, he’s got NHL size. By the end of last season, he’d usurped Subban on the top power play unit, and was heading out to kill penalties before Pedan – on top of getting top pairing minutes down the stretch. All this happened under the watch of Travis Green and Nolan Baumgartner, who will now be presiding over Vancouver’s bench – which could bode well for McEneny in the coming season.
Here’s what Barmgartner had to say to Jeff Paterson about McEneny after being hired as the Canucks new assistant coach:
Evan opened our eyes big time this year. He was very, very good for us. By the end of the year, he was a guy that when we sat down to put a line-up up on the board, he was a guy we couldn’t take out. That’s what you want in guys. And when you do that, that’s why he got the call (he made his NHL debut on February 25th versus San Jose). He earned it. He works extremely hard on and off the ice and he wants to be an NHL player. He put a lot of work in last year. He was a little bit overweight and he knew it. He had to get into shape and he did it. He did it off the ice. It may have hurt his game a little bit when he did that. But he put the work in and it showed in the end.
With McEneny signed, the Canucks have just four remaining RFA’s to lock up, including Bo Horvat and Brendan Gaunce who are coming off of their ELC’s, as well as Reid Boucher and Michael Chaput, who have recently filed for arbitration.