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Photo Credit: Rick Boots/Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

Big Aidan McDonough’s powerful shot has him as the highest riser in our prospect rankings

Nicknamed “Done-zo” by his childhood buddy Jack Rathbone, Aidan McDonough is a 6’2 winger with a rocket of a shot and a level of physicality to be desired from a potential bottom-six scorer.

Unranked on last year’s list, Aidan McDonough went off as a freshman at Northeastern and is now number nine on our top prospect rankings.

His skating was the big question when he was drafted and he has worked very hard to improve that part of his game.

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Last season McDonough was touted as Tyler Madden’s sidekick but with Madden moving on to professional hockey, McDonough is ready to be more of a leader as a sophomore at Northeastern.

This Northeastern team has a lot of young players and McDonough should be one of the young guys who steps up into a leadership role. Northeastern will feature 21 freshmen or sophomore players on their roster this coming season.

I spoke with McDonough back in May and here’s what he said about this coming season.

“For next year I’m just really focused on taking a really big step in my all-around game. A lot of time I was touted as Tyler Madden’s sidekick and I think for me I’ve got a goal to prove that I can have success with or without good players. I don’t need a good player along my side to create offense and to have success. So, for me I’m just really looking forward to proving myself again I think. My goals line up really well with the team goals in terms of winning championships, scoring goals and playing good defense.”

His ability to score goals is at a high level and his playmaking looked to improve as the NCAA season went on last year. He is definitely a powerplay specialist but wants to improve his all-around game so that he can develop into a complete NHL player.

This coming year will be very crucial in telling if he is a true NHL prospect.

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Obviously he can score when the puck is put onto his stick, but can he create enough offence on his own without a star college player like Tyler Madden?

McDonough is going to continue to score power play goals, that’s for sure.

He will need to be more of a 5-on-5 contributor this coming year. He scored nine of his 11 goals on the power play last season, including his first eight, which all come on the man advantage.

Two 5-on-5 goals in 31 games is just not good enough.

McDonough is aware of that and believes that this year’s Northeastern team is built differently from last season’s. The team is quicker up front and has some exciting young players coming into the lineup.

Another thing to love about McDonough’s game is how he steps up in big situations. He has talked about dreaming about playing in the Beanpot tournament for as long as he can remember and this year he went off in the final.

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McDonough had a goal and three assists in the final and led his team to victory over Boston University.

From speaking to this kid, you can tell that he knows there is a lot of work to do to make it to the NHL. He has talked about playing for the Canucks as a dream come true and wants to work hard in his University career to make that happen.

McDonough is committed to his studies and even takes summer school to get ahead in his studies.

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If he is able to take his power play prowess to even strength, he will be on pace for a monster sophomore season and can prove that he can create offence on his own.

We will continue to follow McDonough’s college career and hope to see more success once their season gets going.