Photo credit:Rob Wilton via Langley Advance Times
5 undrafted players from the 2023 class that the Canucks should bring to development camp
By Michael Liu7 months ago
With the 2023 NHL Entry Draft now over, the Vancouver Canucks’ prospects now turn their attention to the summer development camp, set to take place from July 2nd-5th up at UBC. It will be the first time that local fans get to see their newest prospects in action, along with some of the young guns who plied their trade overseas this past season.
Development camp also offers the opportunity for the Canucks to invite some players, free agents, and undrafted prospects alike, to round out the numbers for teams. In some occasions, this acts as another audition for players and another avenue to see if there’s anyone they can invite back for training camp in the fall.
There’s a number of intriguing undrafted players from this year’s draft, with some that could be worth another look. Here are 5 players that the Canucks should invite to their development camp this week.
Francesco Dell’Elce, LHD
Previous team: St. Andrew’s College U18 (Canadian High School Hockey), 51 GP, 20 G – 42 A – 62 P.
Besides having a stellar name that surely earns Quads’ approval, Francesco Dell’Elce represents a very raw player who took a lot of strides this season. With him, it’s all about the tools that he has versus the player he is at this point in his career. Dell’Elce’s 6’0, 157lb frame makes him physically underdeveloped when it comes to his age group, and with how unpolished his overall game was, it makes sense that he went undrafted. However, despite this, Dell’Elce plays with grit, motor, and edge, not afraid to play physical despite his build. It also comes with very good offensive instincts in generating chances, which include as very nice shot that he’s developing.
Dell’Elce is committed to the BCHL champion Penticton Vees for the 2023-24 season, before heading off to the University of Massachusetts – Amherst in the 2024-25 season. He is someone that would absolutely benefit from the NCAA route, allowing him time to develop to fill out his frame and refine his game. In the meantime, Dell’Elce’s toolset make him an interesting player that the Canucks should take a look at, perhaps laying the groundwork for a future deal if the cards play right.
Jordan Tourigny, RHD
Previous team: Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL), 67 GP, 6 G – 35 A – 41 P.
Jordan Tourigny, the younger brother of Habs prospect Miguël Tourigny, is a prospect that was expected to go somewhere in the 3rd to 5th rounds but slipped on out of the draft entirely. It’s not without reason – Tourigny stands at a slight 5’11, 168 pounds (which is still better than Miguël’s 5’8 and 168 lbs). This coupled with only a single point in the month of March probably contributed to his slide, but there’s clearly talent with this player. Tourigny is another forward-converted defenceman, which allows him to see the ice well. His hockey sense is strong in all three zones, with the defence still developing but coming along. It’s helped by Tourigny’s active stick and gap control, making life hard for opposing forwards. Couple this with strong skating, puck retrival ability and mobility, he appears to fit the mold of a modern defenceman quite well.
There’s seasoning to be had when it comes to his overall play, but there’s promising potential in Tourigny. With him likely headed back to the QMJHL next season, it wouldn’t be too bad to have a look at what he might bring at Canucks development camp.
Mazden Leslie, RHD
Previous team: Vancouver Giants (WHL), 66 GP, 12 G – 38 A – 50 P.
Going more local this time, Mazden Leslie had himself a career season in his draft year. The defenceman destroyed his 19 point total in the 2021-22 season, finding a groove that included a hat trick against the Prince George Cougars. Leslie slipped out of the draft entirely after being ranked as a late-round selection for the defensive side of his play. This is a player that will take a good development staff to hone good habits in the d-zone, being caught out of position frequently while hesitating when his primary option was taken away. However, Leslie excels at the offensive side of the game, his mobility blending well with his vision and passing ability. The point-production upside is there, the only question is if the defence can follow.
Leslie is a player that you would need to have patience with. It will take time to teach him the finer points of defence, and if it clicks, you’re probably looking at someone who plays defence like Quinn Hughes. His 6’1, 181 lb frame helps him somewhat in being more physical if he fills out as well. It’s worth a look at Leslie to see if he can figure out the back end play, especially with the offensive upside that he provides as a prospect.
Tomáš Suchánek, G
Previous team: Tri-City Americans (WHL), 46 GP, 27 W – 14 L – 3 OTL, 3.05 GAA, 0.912 SV%
It’s never easy being an overage goalie in a draft, yet Tomáš Suchánek seems like a young netminder with some potential to grow. His first opportunity to have his name called was in the 2021 NHL entry draft, where he was expected to go in the 6th or 7th rounds. It appeared that the lack of game time during the COVID-19 pandemic affected Suchánek’s draft stock, and thus the 20-year-old still finds himself undrafted in his third go-around. It wasn’t as if he had a bad season either. Suchánek was the 9th ranked North American goalie in the draft, posting some solid numbers in the WHL while being absolutely lights out in the WJC-U20 for the Czech Republic. He put up a stellar 1.52 GAA with a .934 SV%, including back-stopping the Czechs to a stunning 5-2 win over Canada in the qualifying rounds.
The intrigue comes to see what Ian Clark could do with a netminder like Suchánek. He plays a smooth, fluid style, letting the puck hit him and tracking it well. His 6’1 stature is on the smaller side for modern NHL goalies, but Suchánek could be worth a look at, especially with the backup role in Abbotsford looking to open up in the near future.
Ty Halaburda, C
Previous team: Vancouver Giants (WHL), 66 GP, 21 G – 16 A – 37 P.
While his production doesn’t jump off of the statsheet, make no mistake — Ty Halaburda played with high-intensity and high motor that never went away on a single shift. His blazing fast legs coupled with a two-way hockey IQ could make him a very solid fit on a team’s bottom 6 if developed properly. Halaburda lacks the high-end creativity and elite shot that would make him a sure-fire NHLer, but the sparkplug nature of his game with how smart he is in all three zones make him a good shout to become a solid depth piece in the future.
Halaburda would be an interesting player to take a closer look at, especially with some potential to fill out into a solid depth option for NHL teams in the future. The only fear would be his speed making him into a one-dimensional player, with the rest of his offensive game needing some change-of-pace and variation to truly make him dangerous. He is able to get into the right places at the right times – the question is if Halaburda can use that to be a consistent threat on offence.
The Vancouver Canucks’ development camp will begin on July 2nd, with forwards and defence working on skills before being split into a scrimmage on Wednesday.
Tune into the The Daily Faceoff Live Free Agent Special on July 1st from 11am – 1pm EST hosted by Tyler Yaremchuk, featuring NHL insider Frank Seravalli, serving you all the up to the minute details!
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