Canucks sign 21 year old right shot defenceman Cole McWard to two year ELC

Photo credit:© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK
David Quadrelli
1 year ago
The Vancouver Canucks have officially signed NCAA free agent defenceman Cole McWard to a two year entry level contract, general manager Patrik Allvin announced Tuesday night.
“Our group has worked extremely hard this college free agent season and this signing is another important step in building out our prospect pool,” said Allvin. “Cole has produced well offensively in each of his two seasons at Ohio State and excelled in a leadership role during his final USHL season with Tri-City. We look forward to having him work with Adam Foote, Sergei Gonchar and the rest of our development staff to round out his game as he transitions to the professional level.”
Earlier today, Rick Dhaliwal reported that the Canucks were the frontrunners to sign the 21-year-old right shot defenceman, who just wrapped up his sophomore season at Ohio State. Through 39 games with the Buckeyes this season, McWard recorded nine goals and 21 points.
McWard hails from Fenton, Mo., and played for the USHL’s Tri-City Storm before making the jump to the NCAA with the Buckeyes in the 2021–22 season. In his freshman year, the six foot one rearguard collected four goals and 16 points in 36 games.
Here is what Elite Prospects’ JD Burke had to say about McWard’s game earlier today.
“Cole McWard was really, really good for Ohio State in the NCAA tournament. Projectable frame, reasonably mobile, and an able albeit unremarkable puck-mover. Also has a lot of runway being relatively young. Probably just org. depth, but that’s par for the course with NCAA free agency”
Ohio State’s 2022–23 men’s hockey season ended on Mar. 26 with a 4–1 loss to No. 2 national seed Quinnipiac in the Bridgeport Regional Final. Through 75 games over his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Buckeyes, McWard collected 13 goals and 37 points.
The Canucks have been incredibly active and aggressive in college free agency, as they look to replenish their organizational depth and prospect pool by any means necessary. Recently, the club signed 22 year old left shot centre Max Sasson out of Western Michigan University, along with left shot defenceman Akito Hirose out of Minnesota State Mankato.
Hirose made his NHL debut on Sunday, when the Canucks lost to the Los Angeles Kings by a final score of 4-1.

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