Photo Credit: Marissa Baecker - Kelowna Rockets

Canucks Prospects Kole Lind and Michael DiPietro Named WHL and OHL Players of the Week

If you’re the type of Canucks fan that feeds on positivity, then today is a good day for you! Two Canucks prospects have been named the Player of the Week for their respective CHL league, another feather in the cap of those in charge of Vancouver’s draft and development program which has been doing nothing but smooth sailing since the trade deadline.

First up, we have Kole Lind, who has blown the doors off the WHL in the opening weekend, racking up three goals and eight points in just two games, which is frankly ridiculous. Being that it was the league’s opening weekend, Lind is the WHL’s first 2017-18 recipient of the honour, setting an awfully high standard for his peers to match in the weeks going forward.

Lind, the 33rd overall selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, impressed the local fans at the Penticton Young Stars tournament, where he posted three points in the opening game and looked both skillful and responsible all weekend. He also managed to get into an NHL exhibition game last week, before being reassigned to his WHL squad.

Meanwhile in Ontario, Canucks goaltending prospect Michael DiPietro is off to a hot start as well. His opening week includes three games, three wins, 86 saves, a .966 save percentage and a shut out. His team, the defending Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires, have shot out of the gate and look to be gunning for a repeat.

You can see highlights of against the Saginaw Spirit and London Knights by following these links. Below I’ve posted highlights from his shutout against the Guelph Storm. His sprawling save against Alexey Toropchenko at about the 1:10 mark of the video is particularly spectacular.

DiPietro, taken 64th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, is also coming off of his first NHL training camp, though he didn’t see any NHL action. The athletic, if average sized netminder has a boatload of confidence to go with his highly impressive numbers. Canucks goalie coaches Dan Cloutier and Curtis Sanford have surely given him plenty of homework to take back to Windsor this year. Technique is still a work in progress for him, and his aggressiveness can occasionally leave him vulnerable against forward of a higher skill level; but he clearly has no issues against OHL competition.

Both DiPietro and Lind will be looking to crack Canada’s World Junior squad this season, and a pair of early accolades will surely keep them on the nation’s radar.

Between the performances of these two players and the fine starts for the likes of Elias Pettersson, Petrus Palmu, and Jonah Gadjovich, it’s been a pretty good run of late for Canucks prospects. While it’s unlikely that Lind’s four points per game and DiPietro’s sky high save percentage will persist much longer, they certainly have made it an enjoyable first week of major-junior hockey for us on the West Coast.

  • Steamer

    Thanks Jeremy. Here it is late September & we can look forward to – hopefully! – great seasons for our prospects. Especially excited to see Palmu off to a strong start for Turko – expect Juolevi may soon join him. Lind, Gadjovich, DiP all appear ready to take another step – plus Petterson:) Hope springs eternal…

  • Bert Diesel

    Lind looked solid for his age in the pre-season. Hopefully, he can have a Taylor Raddysh type season and end up looking like an extra 1st round pick from the past draft, maybe make team Canada. Forward prospect depth is now solid but next draft the club needs to grab at least 2 D prospects of consequence.

  • Killer Marmot

    The quality of the Canucks prospect pool is a good reason to move ready prospects into the lineup as quickly as they can; Boeser and Virtanen at the start of the season, and perhaps one or two others later in the season. The Canucks do not want to plug up the development pipeline, for that would might mean having to bring up half a dozen prospects in a single season, and that would not be good.

    • Break The Canuck's Curse

      No, but another thing they could do is combine a couple or a few and trade for higher quality, established NHLers who can step into the team immediately. So more prospects create more options all around

      • Chris the Curmudgeon

        I don’t think the team should be trading prospects for established players at this point. The next core of this team needs to be grown and they’re doing a good job of putting together a good looking group of talented forwards that can mature together. With Horvat, Baertschi and Granlund the future elder statesmen of that group, you now how Boeser, Goldobin, Dahlen, Pettersson, Lind, Gadjovich and Gaudette (and Virtanen, I guess, if he can rescue his trajectory) all pushing each other and trying to show that they will be key contributors in 1-3 years. I strongly hope the team doesn’t cut the top off that group just for an incremental improvement now, when the existing veteran group isn’t strong enough to seriously contend regardless of any bolstering.

        • Killer Marmot

          I agree.

          The Canucks have done an admirable job of signing decent free agents this summer. It’s not clear that they would have gotten better players by trading away prospects, so why would they?

    • canuckfan

      I agree that the Canucks prospect pool is looking better and that it would not help the team or the young players if they put too many in the lineup at once. Travelling and with the number of games hard to get that important practice time in for them to work on mistakes. So I like the notion of bring a couple in at the start of the season and rewarding Jake for his work to get back to the big club will show the others that with hard work they too can make the team. Once February rolls around can look at bringing another one or two up.
      Yes it sucks for them that management signed an awful lot of players over the summer, but now I can see the rational play these newly signed players while developing the young talent down in Utica where they will get plenty of practice time to learn the systems. This year I just want the team to compete as winning the cup is not in the cards. Next year will see a few more of these prospects in the NHL making a difference and in two years pushing for a playoff spot and then learning what it takes to win in the playoffs and start pushing further towards the cup.
      Canucks had only a few prospects before Benning he has now stocked the system and now they will learn the game at the next level and push for a spot on the NHL club.

  • Doodly Doot

    It will be very handy for the organization if Lind can find a way onto Team Canada and get some experience deep into the tournament. Possibly having DiPietro, Gadjovich and Lind all at Worlds will be fun to watch. Anyone know if Brisbois can go as well?