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Blackfish: CanucksArmy Prospect Report – Year End

As many have mentioned in the comment section, there has been a bit of a hiatus on the prospect report.

Before I explain why – I wanted to apologize for missing the last few weeks. The frustrations have been understandable and are warranted.

With that being said, with the idea of being open and honest, the reason for the few weeks disappearance was because my wife and I welcomed our second child into the world and needless to say, life has been busy. The goal was to miss one or two weeks and then jump back in. Then a month has passed.

I completely understand why people gravitate towards the report and are disappointed when it’s not there.

With that being said, I wanted to close out the year on a high note – wrapping up any storylines on the prospects that were regularly covered here and throw in any gifs that happened since the last report.

So, let’s dive in and talk about the Canucks prospects!

CANADIAN HOCKEY LEAGUE

Western Hockey League

  • Kole Lind has already made his way to Utica and will be there next year. He had a good season for the Rockets and really has nothing left to prove at that level. Ideally, he would be playing the playoffs but any experience that is being gained now should be considered a win.
  • Jakub Stukel was informed he would not be signed to an entry level by the Canucks, which was the right decision, and appears to not have found a home in professional hockey to close out this year

Ontario Hockey League

  • Matt Brassard had a fairly good season overall and exceeded expectations based on his draft position. He did not head to Utica and at this moment, he hasn’t been signed to an entry-level contract. The Canucks retain his rights until June 1, 2019.
  • Brett McKenzie finished the season very strong after struggling throughout the majority of it. He was particularly good in the playoffs where he had 8 goals and 8 assists in 11 games. Like Brassard, he did not head to Utica to close out the season as it was reported that he had some bumps and bruises. The Canucks retain his rights until June 1, 2018, and I can envision a scenario where they deem he is worthy of an ELC.

  • Jonah Gadjovich ended the playoffs with two goals and two assists in 9 OHL playoff games – troubled by injuries throughout the year, Gadjovich just wasn’t able to get his feet under him for a long period of time. He was not assigned to Utica due to those bumps and bruises but I would expect him in Utica next season.

  • Entering into the season, Cole Candella was the player that I thought would bounce back and work his way back into being a legitimate prospect. The Canucks own his rights until June 1, and I would be surprised if the Canucks do sign him, if they haven’t already told him that they aren’t signing him.
  • Michael DiPietro had himself a good season overall. I talked about him briefly earlier today here:

Michael DiPietro invited to Team Canada for the World Championships

NCAA

  • We all know Adam Gaudette’s season by now – appearing in 5 NHL games to close out the year. The winner of the 2018 Hobey Baker Award will look to crack the roster out of camp, if he doesn’t, then expect him to get a big opportunity in Utica.

  • William Lockwood’s season ended early due to the shoulder injury suffered at the World Juniors – he has since announced that he will be heading back to the University of Michigan for the 2018-19 season.

USHS

  • Jack Rathbone was the hardest player to track this year but thanks to some people in the comment section, we were able to get some ideas on his production. After his high school season, he returned to the Cape Cod Whalers and played U18 National Midget Championships – where they lost in the Finals. Rathbone will head to Harvard next season.

EUROPE

Sweden

  • This Elias Pettersson kid is quite good. I wrote about him for the Canucks earlier today and can be found here. He will head to the World Championships.

  • Only including him, in case someone missed it – but Rodrigo Abols is no longer a Canucks prospect as the Canucks relinquished his rights when headed back to Europe.
  • Kristoffer Gunnarsson played the entire year in the SHL, which is an encouraging sign, but failed to register a single point, which is not a good sign. He is expected to go back to the SHL for the 2018-19 campaign.
  • Jonathan Dahlen helped lead Timra IK to an SHL promotion and then made his way across the pond to join the Comets. He has been quite good in the games that he has played for the Comets.

Finland

  • Petrus Palmu had a good season overall and developed over the course of the year. I liked his compete and willingness to get involved throughout the year. I would expect him to head back to TPS Turku for the second year of his deal but he may make the jump across.
  • Olli Juolevi’s season was all over the place – started slow, got better, played well at the WJHC, then struggled and then slowly worked his back up. There is still a long way to go for the 2017 5th overall pick but he is still quite young.

Russia

  • Nikita Tryamkin was a mainstay of this report, just so we could keep close tabs on the big guy. He had a very good season and showed glimpses of what fans hoped he would’ve done with the Canucks. Time will tell if he comes back.
  • Dmitry Zhukenov spent the majority of the season outside of the KHL and at this point, maybe a lost cause for the Canucks. (in terms of an NHL career of any sort)

Czech Republic

  • Lukas Jasek burst onto the scene here in North America and earned himself an entry-level contract. If you’ve been reading the Blackfish over the course of the season, you’ll know that I have been fond of his game. Glad to see him earn his way to a deal.

AHL

  • Just want to give a huge shoutout to Cory Hergott for all of his post-game reports on the Comets. I watch all the games but still lean on him to give me details and information that I may have missed.

ECHL

  • MacKenze Stewart and Anton Cederholm’s ELC’s end this year – I will be shocked if either are brought back.

If you have anything that you would like to see for next season, please let me know and I will add them as I see fit.

Thank you for reading along this year and for the support!

  • Defenceman Factory

    Love the Blackfish report. For next year would appreciate if height, weight and age could routinely be included for all prospects. If I could only have one of those three I’d prefer age. I seem to recall previous versions of Blackfish had age but last year’s did not.

    Thanks for all your work and best wishes for your growing family.

    • Ryan Biech

      In the past – I had used a spreadsheet that auto pulled all the data (created by Jeremy)

      But there were some issues with it – so had to scrap it and go with the images above. Hopefully, we can have it back next year

      • canuckfan

        We have all heard the issues with Evander Kane but without a strong left wing he sure would look good with Bo and Brock and that would give that line a real edge. I had never really thought about bringing him to Vancouver but would be nice as it wouldn’t cost anything except money which we have cap space. It would give them a good first line and room for the other lines to grow using players like Pettersson, Dahlen, and Gaudette. Jake could be lined up with Goldie and Gaudette, Pettersson and Dahlen with Sutter, then have Eriksson with Granlund and Baertchi. The power play could use a mix of the lines. With Lind and others growing in Utica waiting for a call up.
        If there were a left winger like Tkchuk available when they pick they could take him and forget Kane as he could play mean and open ice for Brock and Bo and be there for rebounds while covering the front of the net.
        I also wanted to thank you for your prospect reports through the year you gave light to a tough season with your thorough write ups and had us forgetting about the team on the ice and the tough season they had once the injuries hit.

  • Bobaner

    Congrats, your articles were missed but I found your co workers did a decent job of covering the most important stories. I’m curious what your thoughts are about Junior/NCAA leauges vs. european pro leagues as far as development is concerned.

  • browncoat

    Congratulations on the new kid! As someone who welcomed their second a couple months ago, I am very aware of how much free time there is so I very much appreciate the effort it takes to write these reports for us fans. Thank you!

  • LTFan

    Thanks you Ryan for your reports all season long. As others have commented on here, it was the one blog that I looked forward to each month. A lot of work to do the reports and and all of us appreciated your efforts.

  • Fred-65

    Congratulation on the birth of your child Ryan, a monumental event in your life. If Juolevi plays in Utica it will at least give fans to make a better judgement of where his career is heading