It’s time for another edition of the Vancouver Canucks prospects report. Highlights include Aidan McDonough’s breakout season in the NCAA, Viktor Persson’s seamless transition to North American ice, and Connor Lockhart’s recent success in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Erie Otters.
That and a whole lot more as we continue to recap and analyze the top performances of prospects throughout the Canucks North American pipeline. Next week we will journey across the pond to Finland, Sweden, and Russia and check in on Dmitri Zlodeyev, Jonathan Myrenberg, Lucas Forsell, and the many other European prospects they have in their system.
Aidan McDonough – Northeastern Huskies
McDonough has been on quite the streak of goal-scoring lately. With eight goals in 11 games, he’s tied with five other players for second in the NCAA in goals, and he’s had two multi-goal games already. The 21-year-old from Milton, Massachusetts has been one of the Huskies’ best players and now is only three goals away from matching his output from his freshman season when he scored 11.
Most of McDonough’s goals have been of the wrist shot or one-timer variety. He’s also been playing regularly on the Huskies’ top line with the Jackson twins where he’s formed some great chemistry with Ty who’s assisted on four of his six goals. Now into his junior season with Northeastern, he could be with the Abbotsford Canucks as soon as next season if he decides to forgo his senior year and turn pro. Currently unsigned, general manager Jim Benning will be looking to sign him to his first contract before the threat of free agency comes into play in June of 2023.
Next Games: Nov. 12 vs. UMass Lowell
Jacob Truscott – Michigan Wolverines
Jacob Truscott hit the jackpot this season playing for the Michigan Wolverines. With a staggering 13 NHL prospects on their roster, they are a powerhouse that has a chance to win every single night. Paired with New Jersey Devils uber-prospect Luke Hughes, he has got off to a fast start with seven points in ten games and is sporting a very solid plus-14 in the plus/minus column.
Next Games: Nov. 11/12 vs. Penn State
Jackson Kunz – North Dakota Fighting Hawks
Jackson Kunz is finding out pretty quickly that the NCAA is a different animal than the United States Hockey League (USHL). After a season that saw him score 23 goals and 43 points in 50 games with the Green Bay Gamblers, he is struggling to find his legs in his freshman year at the University of North Dakota. He started the season okay with two points in three games but is now on a four-game pointless streak along with a combined minus-3 in those games.
Next Games: Nov. 12/13 vs. Miami
Jack Malone – Cornell University
Another prospect who spent the 2020-21 season in the USHL was 2019 sixth-round pick Jack Malone. Playing for lowly Youngstown Phantoms he put together 11 goals and 41 points in 44 games and finished his USHL career with 34 goals and 115 points in 155 games.
Now back at Cornell University for his sophomore season after two goals and eight points in 27 games during his freshman year in 2019-20, he will be looking to improve upon those numbers and hopefully secure a contract with the Canucks. Unlike McDonough and Kunz, he has only played four games so far this season. He does have a goal though, which he scored against Dartmouth on Saturday.
Next Games: Nov. 12 vs. Union College, Nov. 13 vs. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Ontario Hockey League (OHL) & Western Hockey League (WHL) Update
Connor Lockhart – Erie Otters (OHL)
One of only two prospects in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) this season, 2021 sixth-round pick Connor Lockhart is off to a pretty good start in his second go-around with the Erie Otters. After only two points in his first six games, he broke out on Thursday with two goals and four points against the Niagara IceDogs. Unfortunately, he couldn’t turn that into a run as he got shut out in the next two games against the Windsor Spitfires and Sarnia Sting respectively. Though, he did have five shots on goal against the Sting in the Otters’ 4-1 loss on Sunday. The 5-foot-9 spark plug will look to turn it around on Nov. 12 against the Guelph Storm.
Next Games: Nov. 12 vs. Guelph Storm, Nov. 13 vs. London Knights
Viktor Persson – Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Swedish import Viktor Persson has looked very comfortable on North American ice so far. It only took him 14:56 into his second game in the WHL to record his first point and five games to pot his first goal. He now has seven points in his first ten games and a very solid plus-11 in the plus/minus column. Touted as a mobile two-way defenceman who excels at the passing game, he has quickly become one of the Kamloops Blazers’ top blueliners and as it turns out, one of its most productive too.
His transitional habits are in short, immense. Persson’s breakout passes are akin to a rubber band snapping back to its original form, executing facilitations tape-to-tape on most occasions; velocity, accuracy, and two-touch facilitations highlight his attempts. There’s also a lot of passing skill in his game, Persson making use of the boards, his backhand, and slips through opposing defenders.Daniel Gee, Daily Hive
Head coach Shaun Clouston has used Persson in all situations, including tough minutes against opposing teams’ top lines, the penalty kill, and on his second power play unit. On a team that is expected to dominate the WHL landscape this season, he is showing a lot of early trust in a rookie defender that is just getting his feet wet on the small ice. That’s just a testament to the solid two-way game he is displaying so far this season.
Next Games: Nov. 10 vs. Kelowna Rockets, Nov. 12/13 vs. Vancouver Giants
Canucks Prospect Tracker (2021-22 Season)
It’s always difficult to keep track of where all the prospects are playing especially after the offseason. Well, I’ve got you covered with the 2021-22 Canucks Prospect Tracker. Here is a list of all the prospects playing everywhere except for the AHL and NHL.
|Connor Lockhart||C||Erie Otters||OHL|
|Jacob Truscott||LD||University of Michigan||NCAA|
|Jack Malone||RW/C||Cornell University||NCAA|
|Jackson Kunz||C||University of North Dakota||NCAA|
|Aidan McDonough||LW||Northeastern University||NCAA|
|Matthew Thiessen||G||University of Maine||NCAA|
|Linus Karlsson||C/RW||Skellefteå AIK||SHL|
|Arvid Costmar||C||Linköping HC||SHL|
|Jonathan Myrenberg||RD||Linköping HC J20||J20 Nationell|
|Lucas Forsell||LW||Färjestad BK J20||J20 Nationell|
|Hugo Gabrielson||LD||Västerviks IK||HockeyAllsvenskan|
|Aku Koskenvuo||G||HIFK U20||U20 SM-sarja|
|Artyom Manukyan||RW||Admiral Vladivostok||KHL|
|Dmitri Zhukenov||C||Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg||KHL|
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Matthew Zator is the assistant managing editor at THW and a writer who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.
Matthew also co-hosts The Hockey Writers Prospect Corner on YouTube.