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Canucks to qualify Jett Woo, will let Aidan McDonough become a free agent: reports

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Dave Hall
15 days ago
The Vancouver Canucks’ brass is hard at work this week, announcing a string of extensions and trades as they gear up for the NHL Draft and Free Agency window.
 
Bit by bit, Patrik Allvin and company are taking a good hard look at who to bring back, who to let go, and who to bring in as an outsider. And while fans have their eyes peeled on what’s happening with the big club, these decisions also trickle down into the farm system.
On Thursday, CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reported the fates of two players within the Abbotsford Canucks’ squad.
First, there appears to be a strong indication that Jett Woo will be given a qualifying offer and a potential new deal to follow.
The 23-year-old is coming off his best statistical season and has now shown a pattern of improving his game in back-to-back campaigns.
Last summer, he earned a one-year “show me” deal for the 2023-24 season, and he certainly did just that. In six fewer games, he matched his 2022-23 goal totals of seven and added 10 more assists to finish with the 16th highest point totals among AHL defenders (32).
Beyond the numbers, Woo was considered a crucial part of the Canucks’ backend, taking on an elevated role when the team suffered countless injuries that included Christian Wolanin and Filip Johansson.
At one point, he was not only playing top-pairing minutes, but also manning the top powerplay and penalty kill units.
While it did not lead to his NHL debut, his strong play earned him his first pair of promotions to Vancouver to soak in the top-level environment.
With names like Jalen Chatfield, who at 28 earned himself a three-year, three-million-dollar deal, we are constantly reminded that patience is a virtue with some defenders. Woo will be 24 by training camp, and given his leadership and willingness to earn his paychecks in the tough areas, there is a benefit to staying patient with development.
Unfortunately, it’s not good news for all prospects.
Later in the day, Dhaliwal reported that the Canucks will not be qualifying their 2019 seventh-round pick, Aidan McDonough.
The buzz was strong with McDonough heading into his first season as a pro. Following a prolific goal-scoring career with the Northeastern Huskies (NCAA), where he averaged a point per game across 124 games (66 goals, 58 assists), many hoped he could transition that ability to help out in Abbotsford, but unfortunately, it did not go as planned.
Despite being one of the older forwards among the group, McDonough never really found his way throughout the year. Skating had always been his ultimate knock, and that impediment filtered throughout his game at the pro level.
He was never able to get to the spots needed to utilize his patented shot, and as a result, he notched just 11 goals and 19 points in 58 games.
Given his release, however, there is a good chance that he will garner some attention in the free-agent pool. And although it’s never easy to give up on homegrown talent, it shouldn’t feel like a huge loss in the grand scheme of things.
With Sheldon Dries, Zach Sawchenko, and Filip Johansson all confirmed to be on their way out, Nick Cicek (RFA) and Matt Irwin (UFA) remain the only contracts to finalize on the farm.

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