Canucks Prospects Report: McDonough, Sasson & More


It’s been a busy information week for Vancouver Canucks prospects as Aidan McDonough made his NHL debut towards the Chicago Blackhawks and the Abbotsford Canucks clinched a spot within the American Hockey League (AHL) Playoffs for the second season in a row.

Meanwhile, Canucks basic supervisor Patrik Allvin dipped into the NCAA free-agent waters and signed Max Sasson from Western Michigan University to a two-year entry-level contract (ELC), and is reportedly close to inking Minnesota State University (Mankato) defenceman Akito Hirose as effectively. With all that mentioned, let’s dive into this week’s version of the Canucks Prospects Report.

McDonough Gets First Taste of NHL Action

It took just a few practices and precious one-on-one time with Henrik and Daniel Sedin, however McDonough lastly made his NHL debut on Sunday (March 26) in entrance of household and associates on the United Center in Chicago. Backed by a big cheering part carrying Northeastern Huskies jerseys with the identify “McDonough” etched on the again, he performed a strong recreation on the third line with Conor Garland and Sheldon Dries.

McDonough’s memorable night time started with Andrei Kuzmenko shouting his name as a part of the beginning lineup alongside Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller. He then took the normal solo rookie lap in warmup and surprisingly lined up as a middle for the opening draw and received his first NHL faceoff towards Jujhar Khaira. After a 50-second opening shift with the top-two point-getters on the staff, he returned to his bottom-six spot with Garland and Dries. By the tip of the night time, he had a shot on purpose, two hits, a 66.7 Corsi for share, and three chances (two high-danger probabilities and one common scoring probability) to attain his first NHL purpose – all in solely 10:03 of ice time.

McDonough additionally acquired to expertise his first shift and first recreation along with his childhood buddy Jack Rathbone. All in all, other than scoring a purpose, I don’t assume he might have requested for a greater debut.

Just to have so many family and friends right here…And to share it with my greatest buddy since 1st grade, Jack Rathbone, to be on the market with me, and to get the 2 factors…Everything you possibly can dream of.

Aidan McDonough postgame after making his NHL debut towards the Blackhawks

After a robust end to his NCAA profession with the Huskies the place he was the captain and amassed 66 targets and 124 factors in 124 video games, McDonough will look to construct upon his spectacular first NHL recreation on Tuesday when the Canucks tackle the Blues in St. Louis.

Two-Way Dynamo Max Sasson Signs With Canucks

The identical day one NCAA prospect made his NHL debut, the Canucks signed one other in Max Sasson. The Western Michigan standout was one in every of his staff’s greatest gamers all through the 2022-23 season and was a well-liked NCAA free agent with reportedly half the league fascinated about signing him. Allvin might need had a leg up on the competitors, although, as his agent is Dan Milstein of Gold Star who reps Andrei Kuzmenko, Ilya Mikheyev, Vitali Kravtsov, Danila Klimovich, and Kirill Kudryavtsev. Needless to say, Milstein is aware of the Canucks.

Related: Canucks News & Rumors: Hronek, Barbashev, Gavrikov & More

Latest News & Highlights

Sasson was a productive participant within the NCAA this season with Western Michigan the place he completed with a team-leading 15 targets and 42 factors in 38 video games. He was additionally relied upon in all conditions and typically performed upwards of 24 minutes an evening (from ‘The EP Rinkside 2023 NCAA Free Agency Guide’, EP Rinkside, 3/2/23). With his two-way skillset, high hockey IQ, and comparatively younger age (22 years previous), he might change into third-line middle like Max Lapierre. He may be nothing greater than a frequent call-up or AHL journeyman. But contemplating he was a free asset that solely price cash to accumulate, it’s a calculated danger by Allvin that would repay massive time sooner or later.

Sasson will make his professional debut within the AHL with the Abbotsford Canucks on an newbie tryout settlement earlier than his two-year ELC begins in 2023-24. That means followers received’t see him at Rogers Arena till subsequent season on the earliest, however they will watch him within the AHL Playoffs once they start in April.

Hirose West Coast Bound From Minnesota?

It seems Allvin won’t be finished signing NCAA free brokers. According to Rick Dhaliwal and additional confirmed by Elliotte Friedman, Hirose might be on his solution to the West Coast as effectively. After three seasons with Minnesota State University (Mankato) the place he put up seven targets and 68 factors in 104 video games, he has reportedly determined to return to British Columbia the place he performed with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks within the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). Highlighted by a 2019-20 season the place he captained and led the staff with 9 targets and 51 factors in 57 video games, the Calgary, AB native is likely to be one other NCAA diamond within the tough.

Hirose began to show heads again in his freshman season with Minnesota State. Described as a defenceman with “ice in his veins”, his affiliate head coach on the time, Todd Knott, had nothing however good issues to say about his upside sooner or later.

There hasn’t been the great day/dangerous day, good recreation/dangerous recreation — I don’t see an emotional swing. He simply goes about his enterprise, and that’s what makes him particular, that’s why I feel there’s such an upside.

Hirose’s work ethic, imaginative and prescient, and mobility might be property on the subsequent stage. It shall be fascinating to see him develop in Abbotsford if the Canucks do the truth is signal him to an ELC.

Abbotsford Canucks Clinch a Spot within the Postseason

Speaking of Abbotsford, they clinched a playoff spot for the second straight season on Sunday (March 26) when the Bakersfield Condors defeated the San Jose Barracuda. Led by Linus Karlsson’s 20 targets and 45 factors up entrance and Christian Wolanin’s wonderful 55 factors from the blue line, the infant Canucks rock a 35-23-3-4 document (77 factors) and are at present tied for third within the Western Conference. As of March 27, they’ve seven video games remaining on their schedule towards the Manitoba Moose (twice), Ontario Reign (twice), and Calgary Wranglers (thrice).

Linus Karlsson Vancouver Canucks
Linus Karlsson, Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Images)

That does it for this version of the Canucks Prospects Report. Stay tuned for an additional one later within the week as we’ll check out Josh Bloom and Connor Lockhart, who’re gearing up for the OHL Playoffs, and Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Lucas Forsell, and Elias Pettersson, who’re at present participating within the postseason abroad. Of course, we may also recap all the largest performances popping out of the NCAA, United States Hockey League (USHL), and abroad because the 2022-23 season involves a detailed.


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