The Vancouver Canucks may have had a mediocre February, but their prospects did not. Throughout the month, there were several standout performances from youngsters in the AHL, NCAA, USHL, and overseas which made it difficult to choose the inaugural Canucks Prospects Three Stars of the Month.
Even with those performances, there were still some that rose above the rest. So without further ado, here are the best of the best for the month of February.
3rd Star: Jonah Gadjovich
Feb Stats: 7 GP – 6 G – 1 A – 7 PTS
Jonah Gadjovich has started the 2020-21 season on an absolute tear. Not only has he scored in all but three of his games, but he has two multi-goal outings too. He now has a team-leading six goals and is already halfway to his total from last season when he posted 13 goals in 38 games. At this rate, he could have that by the end of March, and be well on his way to his best season in the AHL.
The 22-year-old second round pick from 2017 has used his size, strength and improved speed to make life miserable for opposing goaltenders, and is now looking like the guy who scored almost at will during his time in the OHL with the Owen Sound Attack. If he can stay consistent and play to his strengths, the Canucks could have the forward that they always thought Jake Virtanen was going to be, minus the blazing speed of course.
2nd Star: Jackson Kunz
Feb Stats: 10 GP – 7 G – 2 A – 9 PTS
Drafted 113th overall in the 2020 draft, 18-year-old Jackson Kunz had a monster February for the Green Bay Gamblers, scoring a team-best seven goals in ten games. He even had a four-game goal-scoring streak at one point.
In Kunz’s first full season in the USHL, he has become one of his team’s most important players. He has been noticeable in every game and doesn’t seem to ever have one where he doesn’t record at least a shot on goal. In fact, there has been only one where a puck has not made it to the net off his stick. If that’s not consistency, I don’t know what is.
Committed to the prestigious University of North Dakota in the Fall, Kunz will look to follow former alumni Troy Stecher and Brock Boeser to the Canucks in a few years and become yet another player to graduate to the NHL from that program. Boasting a style similar to Gadjovich, he could turn into a useful player in the bottom-six when he eventually makes it to the big stage.
1st Star: Aidan McDonough
Feb Stats: 9 GP – 7 G – 4 A – 11 PTS
After a bit of a hiatus due to COVID-19 positive tests, North Eastern got back to playing hockey again in February. Aidan McDonough must have loved the extra rest because he caught fire with seven goals. He was an absolute scoring machine during the weekend of Feb 12-13 when he scored five goals in two games, which included his first-ever NCAA hat trick. Because of that, he was deservedly named the Hockey East Co-Player of the Month.
McDonough has also become a bit of a power play specialist this season with six of his ten goals scored with the man advantage, all basically from the same spot on the ice. His one-timer from the right circle was on full display during his hat trick, as all three of the goals looked like a carbon copy of themselves. If he can translate that type of success to the NHL, he will be a valuable commodity almost immediately, as the power play has become a very important part of the Canucks attack over the last few seasons.
Honorable Mention – Linus Karlsson
Feb Stats: 7 GP – 4 G – 5 A – 9 PTS
Traded for Jonathan Dahlen in 2019, Linus Karlsson has lit up the HockeyAllsvenskan this season to the tune of 16 goals and 43 points in 46 games. February was just more of the same for him, as he put up nine points in seven games. He has proven to be a lethal threat overseas playing for BIK Karlskoga, but it remains to be seen if he can translate that success to North America. Currently unsigned by the Canucks, general manager Jim Benning will look to get him playing in the AHL with the Comets as soon as next season so that they can see what they have in the 21-year-old versatile forward.
Canucks Prospects Thriving
So far this season, the Canucks have not impressed many people. The prospects, on the other hand, have given fans something to look forward to. McDonough, Kunz, and Gadjovich are just three of the standouts as Kole Lind, Jack Rathbone, Vasili Podkolzin, and Jack Malone have also made headlines throughout the month with their performances.
All in all, the prospects are a reason to keep following the team, even though the team itself is not giving fans much to cheer about right now.
Three Stars Standings
- Aidan McDonough – 3 pts
- Jackson Kunz – 2 pts
- Jonah Gadjovich – 1 point
Which Canucks prospect do you think will be part of the three stars next month? Let us know in the comments below!
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, editor, part-time journalist, and scout 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.