Welcome to my first piece that isn’t talking about a player being scratched! My name is Ryan Biech, I have been a Canucks fan my entire life, but I am also a fan of film/TV, podcasts, and craft beer.
Thank you to Rob for giving me a place to put my words about the Canucks. With that being said, I will mostly be covering the prospects of the Canucks, as well as breaking news throughout the week. So without further ado…
Welcome to the first edition of RobTheHockeyGuys’ prospect roundup (well… the first in a long time anyway). In this first edition, we will look specifically at the Canucks 2013 draft class.
Bo Horvat – 1st round, 9th overall
The player that will forever be linked to Cory Schneider; but if you take an outside look on Horvat, without using the trade as a barometer, then Horvat has been fantastic since the day he was assigned back to the OHL. Bo has put up 13 points in his first 10 games, and by all reports has been a dominant force on the ice. It is safe to assume that Horvat has a very legitimate shot at making Team Canada at the World Juniors and, due to London hosting, is guaranteed a spot in the Memorial Cup.
Hunter Shinkaruk – 1st round, 24th overall
Shinkaruk is also a good bet to be on Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. He is doing everything possible to make his case, as he has put up 10 points in 7 games since being returned to Medicine Hat. Shinkaruk is eligible to turn pro next year, so if the Tigers are not in contention near the trading deadline, then his services will be heavily sought after by WHL contenders and could end up in the Memorial Cup versus Horvat.
Cole Cassels – 3rd round, 85th overall
When drafted, the name immediately reminded Canucks fans of his father, Andew Cassels. But Cole is a different player, and is looking to prove that he is more than just a son of a NHL player. Last season – he put up 43 points in 64 games, but has started the season very well with 14 points in 12 games, due to his expanded role. Cassels looked very good in the young stars tournament, and appears to be continuing to impress.
Jordan Subban – 4th round, 115th overall
My favourite part of the Subban selection was that the Canadiens were to select next and were going to take Jordan to unite him with brother PK, but the Canucks had other ideas. Subban is a risky pick due to his small stature, but as with the rest of the 2013 draft class Jordan has started the season well. However Belleville likely isn’t a contender this season and fellow Canucks draft pick (and Belleville Bulls teammate) Brendan Gaunce will likely be traded to a contender by year’s end. It will be interesting to see if Subban stays with the Bulls and expands his role further, or is also dealt to a contender.
Anton Cederholm – 5th round, 145th overall
Anton Cederholm was drafted by Portland in the WHL, prior to the Canucks drafting him. Following a theme with their 3rd and 4th round picks, the Canucks selected Cederholm with the expectation of a expanded role (due to Derrick Pouliot and Seth Jones leaving). This inclination was spot-on, Cederholm has been playing top pairing minutes for the Winterhawks and has been excelling in all areas. He has 7 points in the first 12 games, and is a +7. One aspect that sticks out with Cederholm is his strength, as he broke a medicine ball (!) in prospects camp. He then went to Portland and split a puck in half with a slap shot. As with any late round pick, he is a raw project, but the immediate returns are promising.
Mike Williamson – 6th round, 175th overall
The Canucks selected Williamson with their 6th round pick, with the understanding that he would be going the NCAA route. Williamson has begun his NCAA career with Penn State and has appeared in 1 game with no points. Williamson, like a lot of NCAA players, will be a long term project.
Miles Liberati – 7th round, 215th overall
As mentioned before the Canucks drafted players that were expected to have a larger role this year, and Miles falls within that. Miles appeared in 42 games last year for the London Knights but with the graduation of Scott Harrington, Nikita Zadorov and Olli Maatta, Liberati has seen his role expand. Miles projects to be a third pairing D, but with an expanded role and a spot in the Memorial Cup, he could develop and hone his skills further.
It’s early, but I think the Canucks did very well in the 2013 draft. They strayed from their usual drafting of NCAA players or older players with later picks to look at players who will get expanded roles in the upcoming season regardless of age. So far the drafted players are all meeting or exceeding expectations
Follow Ryan Biech on Twitter: @ryanbiech
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