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Photo Credit: © Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Faber’s prospect ramblings: Aidan McDonough, Jack Rathbone, and two NCAA free agent defencemen the Canucks should target

I’ve got some updates for a few Canucks’ prospects and a couple of defencemen who I’d like to see become Canucks prospects.

Here’s what I’m hearing.

Aidan McDonough

After capturing a Hockey East title, Northeastern University is looking good going into their playoffs which begin on Saturday. The division will determine a winner with the final playoff weekend happening on March 18th-19th.

From there, NCAA men’s hockey regionals will take place from March 24th-27th and the NCAA frozen four weekend will be April 7th-9th.

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All this being said, every Canucks fan just wants to know if Aidan McDonough is going to sign with the Canucks or not.

Sources are saying that McDonough has still not made a final decision on going pro at the end of his current Junior season. McDonough is very committed to winning with Northeastern. There’s a true shot at the national championship if some of the Huskies’ top players return for the 2022-23 season. McDonough and top NCAA goaltender Devon Levi are huge pieces who can both return to Northeastern next year.

The good news is that the Canucks have McDonough’s rights until August 15th, 2023.

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McDonough doesn’t need to sign this season, he can return to Northeastern for the 2022-23 season and still join the Canucks in March/April of 2023. His childhood friend Jack Rathbone may play a part in pointing McDonough in the Canucks’ direction but the belief is that McDonough values the Canucks using a draft pick on him.

My gut is telling me that McDonough is going to go back for his senior year but sign with the Canucks after his 2022-23 season expires. As much as I’d like to see the big winger join Rathbone in Abbotsford this year, I believe the drive to win at Northeastern is strong with McDonough and that he will go back for his senior year.

Jack Rathbone

The Canucks’ top prospect joined the Abbotsford Canucks in Toronto on Sunday. Jack Rathbone practiced with Abbotsford on Monday and Tuesday but did not play in Wednesday’s 8 AM game against the Toronto Marlies.

Friday is what we are hearing as Rathbone’s return as the Abbotsford Canucks return home to face the Colorado Eagles.

It’s been three weeks since Jack Rathbone took a dirty hit in the back and needed to be stretchered off the ice in Bakersfield.

Abbotsford is one of the hottest teams in the AHL right now and is going to love getting back their most skilled defenceman on Friday as they look to keep on rolling.

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NCAA Free Agents

There are a couple of NCAA defencemen who I have been excited about for a while now. I’ve been working the phones and have an update on two of the top NCAA free agents in this year’s class.

Brandon Scanlin

The 6’4″ left-shot defenceman is one of the toughest players in the NCAA this year. He has spent the past couple of offseasons working hard on improving his skating. Brandon Scanlin is a great piece to add to any NHL team’s prospect pool.

He is not going to be easy to sign. There is a ton of interest around the NHL, sources tell us that many NHL scouts have been approaching Scanlin’s coach and attending games. A source close to Scanlin told CanucksArmy that “a lot” of teams have made some kind of approach to Scanlin.

From what we are hearing, we’re confident that Scanlin will not be returning for his senior season, expect him to go pro after his year ends. His season could be over as soon as March 12th or 13th if they lose in a three-game series to seventh-ranked Western Michigan. Contract talks will crank up quickly with this kid.

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We’ve also heard that his place in the organization’s depth chart weighs heavy on the decision for where Scanlin is going to sign. He is the type of player who wants to get an NHL opportunity sooner than later and if you look at left-shot defencemen who kill penalties, the Canucks are a great fit.

We couldn’t get confirmation if the Canucks have reached out to Scanlin yet but we sure hope they have. One thing we know for sure is that Scanlin’s agent has a good relationship with Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin and that should help the Canucks in negotiations. Scanlin’s agent also happens to have four of his clients under contract with the Canucks’ organization.

Jake Livingstone

As a BC kid, 6’3″, right-shot defenceman Jake Livingstone seems like a player that the Canucks need to be after in free agency. The problem is that even though he has the chance to be one of the top-10 NCAA free agents in this year’s class — the sophomore is apparently contemplating returning to school for his junior year.

The way we look at it is that there are certain aspects of Livingstone’s game that he could continue to work on at Mankato to improve his worth and chance of jumping into NHL games — in a similar way to an NCAA quarterback going back for their junior year or an NCAA basketball player staying in school for their sophomore season to raise their draft stock. We believe that Livingstone is contemplating going back for his junior year with hopes of setting the NCAA on fire and having all 32 teams bidding for his skillset.

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It’s been a heck of a year for Livingstone and there are surely teams who want to spend a contract on this big-bodied right-shot defenceman. Teams want to get their skating coaches working with a kid who has nine goals and 19 assists in 38 games this season.

The Canucks need to be in on Livingstone, who was born in Creston, BC and played four seasons with the Langley Rivermen of the BCHL.

It would be an easy win for the Canucks if they are able to snag either of these big defencemen prospects without spending a draft pick.

That wraps up all I’ve got in my prospect ramblings.

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See ya next time I get enough information to write another one!