It’s the latest edition of the weekly tracker, where we tally up the efforts of the Vancouver Canucks’ highest-profile prospects:
He’s the hero Vancouver deserves — and the one it needs on the power play right now.
The Canucks’ ace defensive prospect scored a power play goal on Friday and added a power play assist the next night for the Michigan Wolverines, who split their final NCAA home stand of the campaign against the Big Ten regular season champion Ohio State Buckeyes.
Hughes, 19, unloaded a one-time slap shot off the post and in in a 4-2 win against the fifth-ranked team in the country, leaving the Canucks faithful wondering if he’s the key to pumping some life into a dormant Vancouver power play that’s on a four-for-57 skid.
The goal came on a five-on-three advantage, with Hughes creeping in from the left point and firing a shot that beat the Buckeyes’ goalie glove side.
Hughes then showed off his exceptional skating ability in the third period, stealing the puck in his own zone and leading a rush up the ice that resulted in a goal. He earned a secondary assist for his efforts.
He finished the game with a goal, an assist, four shots on net and an even plus-minus rating.
On Saturday, Hughes continued his prowess on the power play, walking the line to create some space for a shot on goal, resulting in a flurry of activity in front of the net before a teammate eventually scored.
Hughes also showed his ability to lay the body in the 4-3 overtime loss, lining up Buckeye forward Mason Jobst with a hard hit against the boards as Jobst tried to enter the zone. Not bad for the undersized d-man.
Hughes had an assist, another four shots on net and an even plus-minus rating in the loss, upping his sophomore season stat line to five goals and 27 assists in 28 games. He’s also an even player overall.
Canucks GM Jim Benning said on Friday that as soon as Hughes decides to turn pro, the 19-year-old will be on the next flight to Vancouver.
One can imagine Benning in the cell phone waiting area at YVR eagerly anticipating Hughes’s arrival. He might as well drive Derrick Pouliot, who Hughes would most likely replace, to the airport in the process.
Michigan, at 13-12-7, has two games left in their season before the Big Ten playoffs start in a couple weeks.
When Hughes comes to Vancouver, he should tell Benning to save a seat for Lockwood.
These two have undeniable chemistry together. Hughes’ goal on Friday was naturally set up by, you guessed it, Lockwood.
On another play, Hughes patiently waits behind his net for a breakout to take shape, skates the puck to his own blue-line and hits Lockwood in stride with a crisp first pass.
The next night, Hughes and Lockwood went to work together on a four-on-four, with Hughes making some otherworldly moves before finding Lockwood for a scoring opportunity.
While it’d be great for Canucks fans to see what they have in Hughes and Lockwood late this season, it’s still possible that Michigan goes on a run in the Big Ten playoffs and makes it to the Frozen Four in mid-April. They just gave Ohio State all they can handle this past weekend. They can do it again in the playoffs.
If that happens, neither player will suit up for the Canucks this season.
Lockwood had an assist in each game this past week put seven shots on net. He has 14 goals and 14 assists in 32 games this season. He’s also a plus-8 overall.
Add a little more meat to Rathbone’s appetizing freshman season at Harvard.
The Canucks’ 2017 4th-rounder scored a goal and notched an assist as Harvard won both games this past weekend.
On Friday, Rathbone nearly scored but was awarded the primary assist as his wraparound banked in off a teammate in a 4-2 win versus Brown. He also rang the crossbar with a shot, had two more shots on net and was a plus-2.
On Saturday, the right-side defenceman scored a goal and had six shots on net in a 3-0 win against Yale. On the goal, Rathbone received a pass at the top on the left face-off circle and wired a wrist shot off a Yale forward’s stick and into the net.
Harvard (16-8-3) is ranked 15th in the NCAA and has two games left in their season. Rathbone, 19, has five goals and 11 assists in 27 games. He’s also a plus-8 overall.
The recent Canucks call-up has taken his talents back to Utica — and found pay dirt along the way.
Brisebois, 21, scored his third goal of the season in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Rochester Americans on Friday. The goal came in the second period, as the Canucks’ 2015 3rd-rounder followed the play up the ice and deposited a rebound through a sprawling Rochester goaltender.
The lanky, well-rounded defenceman finished the game with a goal, one shot on net and a plus-1 rating. He has 10 points in 47 games this season, with a plus-minus rating of plus-3.
The Comets, who have had a flu bug ravage their dressing room, couldn’t keep their eight-game points streak going the next night in Binghamton, falling 4-1 to the Devils. Brisebois had one shot on net an an even plus-minus rating in the loss.
Among those sick are forwards Jonathan Dahlen and Kole Lind. Neither played in either game. Jonah Gadjovich, who had a breakthrough game a couple weeks ago, has been out with an upper-body injury.
The Comets are 29-20-5-2 this season and sit in fourth place in the AHL’s eight team North Division.
Make it double digits.
Madden hit the 10-goal mark this past weekend with Northeastern, and the slick NCAA freshman probably could have scored a couple more.
The Canucks’ 3rd-rounder from 2018 nearly scored in the Huskies’ 6-3 win on Friday at New Hampshire, but was thwarted on a breakaway. Still, the 19-year-old had an assist, four shots on net and went 9-18 in the face-off dot.
Madden did put the puck in the net the next night against the same team, this time a 6-0 drubbing. Madden’s goal came on a cross-crease feed, with the Canucks prospect taking a pass and wristing it into the net. He also had four shots on net, a plus-1 rating and went three-for-eight on face-offs.
Northeastern is the 13th-ranked team in the country and has three games left in their season.
Woo continued his point-a-game pace this past week with four assists in four games.
The Moose Jaw defenceman had two assists in a 4-3 loss to the high-powered Prince Albert Raiders on Monday. He had one assist in the Warriors’ 4-2 win at the Swift Current Broncos on Friday (and also had six shots on net) and added another assist in a 5-2 win on Saturday against the Regina Pats.
Woo, 18, remains in sixth place in WHL defenceman scoring with 11 goals and 41 assists in 52 games played. He’s also a plus-13 overall.
Whatever bad mojo DiPietro had after his trial-by-fire with the Canucks, he hasn’t appeared to shake it off with the Ottawa 67’s.
DiPietro played in two games this past week, winning one of them, but did not look good in the process.
The 67’s, far-and away the top team in the OHL, won 6-3 on Monday against the North Bay Battalion. Despite the win, DiPietro allowed three goals on 11 shots.
Then on Friday, it got worse for the Canucks’ 2017 3rd-rounder.
Facing the lowly Kingston Frontenacs, DiPietro only had 13 shots steered his way, but let in three goals in a 3-2 win. It was a shocker for a team with 93 points to lose to a Frontenacs team with a meagre 12 wins on the season.
Still, expect DiPietro to bounce back. We saw a similar drop in his play right after the world junior tournament before he picked it again. Plus, he’s the all-time OHL shutout leader and already has a Memorial Cup under his belt.
DiPietro’s been through too much — both on and off the ice — to not battle his way back to the top of his game.
The 19-year-old has a 2.87 goals-against-average and a .884 save percentage in 12 games with the 67’s this season.