When Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin took over in the Vancouver Canucks’ front office, their track records indicated that the Canucks were going to be active in the NCAA free agent pool.
We are now approaching the busy NCAA free agent signing period as programs began to be eliminated from the NCAA playoffs this past weekend and will continue to see teams fall off over the next few weeks.
One of the top free agents saw his season come to a close when Western Michigan eliminated Omaha-Nebraska on Saturday night. Left-shot defenceman Brandon Scanlin, who we identified earlier in the season as one of our favourite free agents, is now able to have conversations with NHL teams and attempt to land a contract.
— Omaha Hockey (@OmahaHKY) February 5, 2022
Scanlin is a 6’4″, left-shot defenceman who is likely the meanest player in NCAA. He dominates around his own crease and plays a tough game as he is clearing out anybody that comes near his goalie.
CanucksArmy has learned that the Canucks are very much in the mix for Scanlin.
There are upwards of 20 NHL teams interested in Scanlin and many teams have him in their top spot when it comes to NCAA free agents. There are some teams that are willing to give Scanlin a game in the NHL to burn off a year of his entry-level contract.
As many teams are interested in Scanlin, the ball is now in his court. He was travelling back to school on Sunday and will take a week or so to look through the offers and make a decision.
One of the needs in his checklist is obviously playing time. He wants to be able to hop right into an AHL lineup with hopes of moving up to the NHL in the coming years. There is a good situation in Vancouver for Scanlin to see a path to the NHL as the left side of the defence has a potential opening in the future on the third pairing. Obviously, Jack Rathbone is a player high on the Canucks’ depth chart, but Scanlin’s size and defensive style of play could help him get NHL games in the future.
One of the other desires on Scanlin’s checklist is having an organization with a strong skating development program. The part of his game that needs the most improvement in skating and the Canucks have a name of note in the AHL that has Scanlin’s camp interested. Abbotsford Canucks skating coach Mackenzie Braid’s name came up in a conversation as a person who could help improve Scanlin’s skating to get him to the next level.
A decision isn’t likely to come in the next 48 hours but Scanlin will actively be assessing the offers from NHL teams and we could see a decision be made by next weekend.
The Canucks are very much in the mix and have spots on their AHL team for Scanlin to jump right in and get a lot of minutes. The Abbotsford Canucks are currently missing left-shot defencemen Ashton Sautner, Guillaume Brisebois, and just saw Devante Stephens go down in overtime on Sunday evening. Stephens’ status will be confirmed one way or another on Tuesday but the team is currently playing amateur tryout player Brandon Hickey on the left side of their defence. There are available minutes for Scanlin if he is to sign with the Canucks.
We will keep you up to date on the Canucks’ activity in NCAA free agency.
We are hoping for them to be busy and add these types of 21 to 23-year-old prospects.