Wait….Who the hell are who?
Don’t worry Danny and Hank, these Canucks rooks aren’t gunning for your top line spots yet. Same for you Kes and Burr, so let’s all just calm down for a minute.
Okay, so who are these newbies that Canucks management has anointed the latest crop of prospects in the system and why exactly did they do so?
Let’s take a look…
Bo Horvat (C/W, 9th overall pick)
Horvat is a strong, two-way centerman who can put the puck in the net. He already possesses a solid frame for the NHL, listed at 6’0 and 211 lbs; you don’t often see 18 year olds be that sturdy and it projects well for him to be able to handle the rigours of battling against older and stronger competition in the corners.
He was named MVP of the OHL playoffs this past year and by most accounts has all the makings to be a future captain. Hey, didn’t someone say that about Cody Hodgson not too long ago? Let’s hope this time there isn’t a (reported) falling out and subsequent trade.
By most accounts, Horvat had a solid development week in Vancouver and could compete with last year’s 1st round pick Brendan Gaunce for 3rd line duty this coming season.
Hunter Shinkaruk (W, 24th overall)
Shinkaruk was generally considered to be a top 15 selection who fell to the Canucks at #24. He is a highly-skilled scoring winger with unbelievably good hands and vision. Questions regarding his size, 5’11 and 175lbs, and ability to compete against bigger and stronger opponents may’ve hurt his draft stock- much the same way Jordan Schroeder fell in his year.
I think Vancouver got a steal with this pick, I’ve seen Shinkaruk play and he’s noticeable when he’s on the ice and a scoring winger with top-6 potential is a welcome addition.
Time and training will allow him to add bulk and strength, but high-end skill sets are much more difficult to teach and he exemplified some of that at prospects camp.
Cole Cassels (C, 85th overall)
Bloodlines are often a solid selling point and commodity in the sports world and Cassels has that working in his favour. There is a lot to like about the son of former Canucks center and 16-year NHL veteran Andrew Cassels.
He improved his point totals with Oshawa, going from 11 in his rookie season to 43 last year (64GP in each), though it’s doubtful he’ll ever match the point totals of his father.
Cole is considered a strong penalty killer with good speed and grit who I would project as a good 3rd line center. He also possesses the leadership qualities that teams covet.
Jordan Subban (D, 115th overall)
This one could be a homerun. I previously mentioned bloodlines- you may have heard of his brothers, reigning Norris-trophy winner PK Subban, or Malcolm, a 1st round pick of the Bruins and former World Junior starter for Canada.
Jordan Subban actually came to the OHL with more pedigree- 5th overall selection- than his older brother PK (218th pick) and PK has gone so far as to say he believes Jordan has a better skill set than himself.
Size likely hampered J. Subban’s value at the draft (5’9, around 177 lbs) but he’s a solid puck mover and put up 51 pts in 68 OHL regular season games this past year and has time to develop and round out his defensive game.
Considering most 4th round picks don’t make the NHL, picking a high ceiling player with solid athleticism and bloodlines seems to be what you want to do as a GM.
Anton Celerholm (C, 145th)/ Mike Williamson (D, 175th)/ Miles Liberati (D, 205th)- It’s unlikely that late round picks have lasting impacts in the NHL, although there’s a number of cases that have and there’s some things to like about these selections.
Cederholm was able to play in the Swedish Elite League at the age of 18 and while he didn’t put up any points in his 12 games played this season, he possesses a decent frame at 6’1 and 205 lbs and played against the top competition in Sweden.
Williamson has NHL size at 6’3 and 187 lbs once he adds some bulk, and put up 11 pts in 23 games played in the AJHL on defence. The question here will be how will Williamson stack up when he faces tougher competition?
Liberati on the other hand played in the stronger league with the London Knights and managed 9 pts in 41 GP on defence.
He’s listed at 6’0 and 195 lbs.
Only time will tell how these players develop and a lot can change from now to their (hopeful) debut, but at least we know a little bit about them and how they may project as future NHLers.