Canucks prospects tracker: Madden plays the hero, again
It’s the latest edition of the weekly tracker, where we tally up the efforts of the Vancouver Canucks’ highest-profile prospects:
First we had the kayak celebration. Then, last Monday, we got the snow angel.
What Madden has in store for the upcoming Beanpot tournament final on Monday night against Boston College is anyone’s guess, but what we’ve learned this season about the NCAA rookie is that he’s a big goal scorer in the most defining of moments.
Madden scored the overtime winner for the Northeastern Huskies against a strong Boston University side in the Beanpot semi-final — and it was another sensational moment for the 19-year-old.
With the score tied 1-1 early in the overtime session, Madden took a stretch pass at the opposition’s blue-line, broke into the zone and wired a wrist-shot past the goalie’s glove hand.
Madden then did what Madden does best — an impromptu sliding snow angel celebration that left him buried under a dogpile of rabid Huskies teammates.
The overtime hero finished the game with six shots on net (five in the third period), a plus-1 rating and went seven-for-19 in the face-off circle.
He was a lightning rod all game, deking and dangling his way to another electrifying performance.
Madden’s 13th-ranked Huskies did drop a 3-2 overtime decision on Thursday at Connecticut, a game in which the centre had one assist and five shots on net, but also went a minus-3 and a sub-par eight-for-22 on face-offs.
We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt after a whirlwind experience a couple nights prior.
Madden is showing the skill and determination that led the Canucks to draft the versatile centre in the third round of last year’s draft.
On draft day, Canucks’ GM Jim Benning was encouraged to learn Madden would be joining Northeastern from Tri-City Storm of the USHL.
“He likely goes in and fills our guy’s spot,” said Canucks Director of Scouting Judd Brackett on the draft floor, referencing the likelihood that Madden is capable of filling the big hole left by fellow Canucks prospect and Hobey Baker Award winner Adam Gaudette.
Well, Madden can make it happen should he help deliver Northeastern’s second successive Beanpot tournament win after a 30-year championship drought.
The New York native now has nine goals and 13 assists in 23 NCAA games this season. He’s also a plus-1 overall.
*Note: This file will be updated on Monday evening following the conclusion on the Beanpot tournament final.
We were hoping for a Canucks prospect face off for the Beanpot title.
But alas, Rathbone’s Harvard hockey squad couldn’t get by Boston College last Monday and lost a tight 2-1 affair at the TD Garden.
The Canucks’ 2017 4th-rounder was his sturdy self in the game, booming a couple of shots on target and finishing the game even in the plus-minus department.
The right-side defenceman did get an assist in Friday’s 5-3 win over 20th-ranked Union College and added two more shots on net.
Rathbone, 19, has four goals and eight assists in 22 NCAA games, with a plus-6 rating and only four penalty minutes all season, which says a lot about his superior skating ability and on-ice awareness.
Goal-scorers score goals — and Dahlen is doing his part for the Utica Comets.
The AHL rookie lit the lamp twice this past week and added a couple of assists for good measure.
The Comets played a three games in three nights stretch which started on Friday, and while Dahlen didn’t score in Friday’s 5-2 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, he did manage an assist.
But Dahlen picked up the pace on Saturday, another 5-2 win, this time against the Rochester Americans in Utica.
Dahlen scored a goal, finished the game a plus-1 and had three shots on net in the win. He was also named the game’s third star.
Dahlen’s goal was a testament to the work he’s put in to be a factor without the puck. It also highlighted his exceptional scoring ability.
The slick Swede blocked a clearing attempt at the blue-line, put the puck through the Rochester defenceman’s legs and slung it through the goalie’s pads to give the Comets a 3-2 lead.
Then in Sunday’s 5-4 overtime loss at the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Dahlen put it in overdrive with a goal, an assist and three more shots on net.
Dahlen’s goal showed his nose for the net, as he picked up a loose puck at the top of the crease and calmly lifted it with his backhand over the Tigers’ goaltender.
His assist came on a power play goal by recent Comets pick-up Luke Schenn. Dahlen, playing the right point, slid it across to Schenn, who half-slapped a one-timer into the net to tie the game at two.
After a so-so stretch of games, Dahlen now finds himself just one point shy of the AHL’s top-20 rookie scorers with 14 goals and 13 assists in 47 games this season. He’s also a minus-13.
The Comets are in fourth-place in the North Division with a record of 26-19-4-2.
Woo is a big, bad defenceman at the best of times.
At the worst of times, he can step over the line with a body check that requires supplemental discipline.
Woo unleashed another monstrous hit in a 6-1 loss at the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday — a hit that got him a game misconduct and a two-game suspension from the WHL.
The hit was on the Blades’ Kirby Dach, who at 6-foot-4 is a big boy in his own right. Woo appeared to catch Dach on the blindside before the puck hit his stick. Woo stacked up 17 penalty minutes in his abbreviated appearance.
Dach would later tell Sportsnet 650 that he’s played against Woo since he was 12 years old and “he plays you honest,” so there doesn’t appear to be any hard feelings between the two, despite Woo ringing his bell another time earlier this season as well.
After a couple of wins without him, the Warriors defenceman was back in the lineup on Sunday, a 6-2 loss to the Calgary Hitmen in which the Canucks’ 2018 2nd-rounder had a power play assist — but also a minus-3 rating.
Woo, 18, has had a standout season thus far, with 10 goals and 37 assists in 45 games for Moose Jaw.
Help me help you.
Hughes had his way with arch-rival Michigan State this past weekend, with four helpers in two games and a few more plays that almost paid off.
The Wolverines’ roving wunderkind was just getting warmed up on Friday in a 5-3 win against the Spartans. He had one assist, three shots on net and a plus-2 rating.
Then on Saturday in Detroit, in the annual Duel in the D, Hughes helped Michigan along again in a 5-2 win in which the Canucks’ 7th-overall pick last year notched three more assists, four shots on net and a plus-2 rating.
On one assist, Hughes uses his otherworldly skating ability to circle around the offensive zone and behind the net before dishing the puck in front for a goal.
On another play, Hughes took the puck at the side boards, pulls off a ‘Quinn-spin’ on his backhand before circling to the slot to get a shot on goal. He also took a pretty heavy hit in the process, but bounces right back up.
Hughes was also stopped on a breakaway that could’ve been called a penalty shot after the defenceman chasing the play broke his stick with a slash.
We’ve seen Hughes hit another level over the last two weeks, after a sub-par showing in a loss to Penn State in New York in mid-January.
We knew Hughes stood before his teammates in the locker-room and owned up to some ghastly turnovers, but we know now that Hughes said “I was Penn State’s best player.” His coach, Mel Pearson, was impressed by Hughes’ accountability for his mistakes.
Hughes now leads all NCAA defencemen with 25 assists and is fifth in NCAA defensive scoring, behind some notable names including Colorado Avalanche first-rounder Cale Makar and the Carolina Hurricanes’ draft pick Adam Fox, who is Rathbone’s defensive partner at Harvard.
Hughes has four goals and 25 assists in 25 games this season for Michigan. He’s also a minus-1 overall.
Lockwood is good for at least a goal a week.
This past week, he got two — and a litany of shots on net.
Lockwood, a hard-nosed winger with great hands, scored the game-winning goal on Friday on a nice tip in front of the Michigan State net. The Canucks’ 2017 3rd-rounder managed to redirect the puck while getting cross-checked from behind. He also had two assists in the game and added three shots on target.
In Saturday’s Duel in the D, Lockwood scored again, converting a rebound off of a Hughes point shot. He added another five shots in the win.
Lockwood, who missed a year of hockey after a serious shoulder injury in last year’s world juniors, escaped another injury on a scary, awkward hit. His left leg appeared to bend back as the Spartans player submarined him, sending Lockwood head-over-heels. No penalty was called on the play.
Lockwood, 20, continues to enjoy a resurgent season for the Wolverines, with 13 goals and 12 assists in 29 games. He’s also a plus-6 overall.
Author: Mike Raptis