Plenty of potential at Young Stars tourney
The Young Stars tournament is well underway in Penticton with the Vancouver Canucks kids doing their best to impress upper management.
And while everyone seems to have their eyes focused on the Horvat’s, Gaunce’s and Jensen’s, there’s a pretty decent group of undiscovered talent that will be trying to fight their way to a spot somewhere in the Canucks system.
Pro scouting has been an issue for the Canucks for years (Marco Sturm, Marc Chouinard and Steve Bernier – I’m looking at you) but this year’s crop of unsigned amateurs looks pretty decent.
Here’s a quartet of guys that seem to be falling off the radar and could be playing in Utica or Vancouver one day.
Zach Hall was 12th in the OHL in scoring last year and played on a top line with Mark Scheifele. He was also a key player in the Barrie Colts run to the OHL final and picked up 28 points in 19 playoff games. He’s a little undersized and went undrafted because of a few injuries but I like his speed and creativity if he can avoid being hurt.
Working with a coach like Dale Hawerchuk in Barrie can only be a good thing and if he bulks up a bit he has potential to produce offensively.
Daniel Johnston’s got the size (6’2, 211) but has been buried on some pretty awful Lethbridge Hurricanes teams the past few years. Johnston suffered injuries in his first few years in the WHL that caused him to miss some significant time as a 16 and 17 year old, which might have scared off some scouts.
He’s an assistant captain for Lethbridge now and put up some decent offensive numbers.
I also like his plus/minus on some bad Hurricanes teams the last few years.
He’s a guy that has the size but could just use some seasoning to take the next step.
Another guy with some offensive flair (83 pts in 68 gp with Victoriaville in the QMJHL) and someone who has consistently put up points in junior both in the regular season and playoffs is Philippe Maillet.
Like Hall, he’s undersized but he’s the type of player that makes his teammates better and might blossom with pro coaching.
If there’s one thing the Canucks need more of it’s Western Canadian boys. Jesse Mychan is exactly that. He’s big (6’2, 200 lbs), mean (over 100 PIMs twice in the WHL) and actually had a little bit of a scoring touch for the Tri-City Americans last year with 19 goals.
He also dropped the gloves on Thursday against the Sharks and I loved seeing him show some aggression.
As for guys who are Canucks property under the radar, I’ve liked Cole Cassels and Alexandre Greiner.
All four undrafted guys would be nice additions to the Canucks system and provide a little depth. Should be interesting to see how this fearsome foursome fares as the tournament continues.