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Photo Credit: Hickling Images

Vancouver Canucks’ 2019 draft pick Jack Malone returns to USHL after COVID-19 claims his NCAA season

After playing his freshman season with Cornell University, Vancouver Canucks 2019 draft pick Jack Malone is preparing to return to the USHL.

The Canucks selected Malone in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He was coming off a strong year with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL, where he managed to put up 59 points in 57 games.

Now Malone finds himself back in the USHL after his hockey season at Cornell was cancelled due to COVID-19.

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When Malone found out about the cancellation of the season he immediately knew that returning to the USHL was the right path for his development. “I was lucky to have the opportunity to still play so I wanted to take advantage of that,” said Malone.

Malone scored two goals and added six assists during his freshman season with Cornell. Though he didn’t light the lamp with consistency, Malone got a taste of NCAA hockey and will be back there next season.

He will continue to be enrolled with Cornell as he plays with the Phantoms of the USHL.

He was glad to be back with the Phantoms and even found himself in a familiar living situation.

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“It was an easy transition given that I’ve already been here two years and lived with my billets before.”

Malone played on the best USHL line during his 2018-19 season with the Phantoms. He played alongside Buffalo Sabres prospect Brett Murray and centre Connor MacEachern. All three of those players ranked in the top 20 of scoring in the USHL and Malone was known as the passer on the line.

Now as a 20-year-old, Malone should be in a position to be a dominant force in the USHL. He was over a point per game in his season as an 18-year-old and the hope is that he has gotten bigger and stronger after a year of NCAA hockey.

I asked Malone if he is ready to rip up the USHL and he wasn’t ready to get too ahead of things.

“Hopefully. (I) played last night and didn’t have a point so nothing is guaranteed.“

He added that the game he mentioned was his first full-speed hockey game in nine months.

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I wrote about Malone after the Canucks drafted him in 2019 and you can find that article here.

For anyone that wants it, here’s a Twitter thread of 25 GIFs from Malone’s 2018-19 season with the Phantoms.

We will continue to follow along with Malone as he goes through his USHL season.

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I’m expecting some highlight plays to come in the near future as Malone should be one of the top players in the league this season.