The Canucks kicked off their 2017 Young Stars tournament on Friday night with a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. With players like Elias Pettersson, Jonathan Dahlen, and Adam Gaudette not attending, there was room in the spotlight alongside Brock Boeser, and Kole Lind grabbed some of that space.
Canucks Army Post-Game: Canucks Kick-Off YoungStars with 4-2 Win Over the Jets https://t.co/ScCnndLm4V
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With one goal and two assists to kick off the tournament, Lind made everyone notice him and help bring some more credence to the thought that he was a first round talent that slipped to the early second round this past June.
He showcased what sets him apart as a prospect. Using his hockey sense and awareness to create opportunities. Lind also showcased some of those underrated puck skills to cause the Jets defence to lose coverage
Following the game on Friday night, Utica Comets head coach Trent Cull spoke highly of Lind’s game:
“I thought he had a real good night, showed some composure for a younger kid. On some of the other plays, not just when he’s with the puck, his positional play is real good. He’s a pretty smart player.”
Lind had a penchant for just appearing and forcing pressure on his opponent. He read the play and timed his attack well. His play over the course of the Young Stars Classic will be something to watch for Canucks fans.
Given the slow start to Lind’s last season, it feels like the young winger is just starting to scratch the surface on what kind of player he can be. Lind will find his way back to Kelowna this summer with hopes of rounding out his game and becoming a complete prospect. Speaking with him following the game, Lind mentioned what he intends on focusing on this year with the Rockets: “Defence is still a big part of my game that I need to work on. Your skating can always get better. I think I can be a lot quicker and stronger”.
When the Canucks left the draft floor on Day 1 of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, GM Jim Benning was excited about being able to add another prospect early in the 2nd round, mentioning that they had some specific players that they were surprised were still on the board. Given the Canucks selected second (33rd overall) on the second day of the draft, it was evident that Lind was who Benning mentioned.
That thought process was validated at the conclusion of the day when Director of Amateur Scouting Judd Brackett mentioned that Lind was someone that had their eyes on. From both sides of analysis, Lind looked a solid bet.
With 46.1% of comparable players to Lind going onto becoming successful NHL regulars, the numbers made Lind pop off the page. In further review, more underlying stats and numbers made Lind seem like a fantastic bet for any team in the late first or early second round.
Following his selection by the Canucks, Team Canada added Lind for the World Junior Summer Showcase. Although he didn’t take the camp by storm, he had a great learning experience.
“It was awesome; I had a blast out there. It was the first time wearing the maple leaf, so it was a really cool feeling even though it was just the showcase. It was awesome to get out there and get my feet wet” Lind remarked at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
With any prospect, it’s important to remember that they may never make it. Even Lind’s promising comparable success rate still suggests that it’s more likely he isn’t an NHL regular than he is an impact player.
But Lind is a highly intelligent kid, every time that I have spoken with him over the summer which includes the draft, development camp and here in Penticton, I walk away by how composed, articulate and intelligent the Shaunavon, SK native comes across.
If he continues to round out his game, and use high-end hockey IQ in the offensive zone, then it feels like Lind will be on the positive side of ‘making it’ for the Canucks in a few years.