Welcome to the first Vancouver Canucks Prospects Report of the 2022-23 season. In this edition, we will be sticking to prospects in North America as the NCAA and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) have begun their campaigns in earnest. We begin with Aidan McDonough and Jackson Dorrington at Northeastern who have both started their respective senior and freshman years with a bang.
We then finish off with a trek up north to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) to see more white-hot performances from a pair of recent draft picks in Connor Lockhart and Kirill Kudryavtsev. With that said, let’s dive into the latest report!
Aidan McDonough, Northeastern Huskies (NCAA)
McDonough isn’t wasting any time getting his senior year started. After racking up a career-high 25 goals and 39 points in 2021-22, the newly-minted captain of the Northeastern Huskies already has three goals and five points – all recorded last week against the University of Vermont. That included a goal on Friday where he flashed his signature one-timer from the right faceoff circle and a brilliant two-goal, two-assist performance on Saturday in the Huskies’ 5-0 win; a game that featured a snipe-show and quick hands in close.
Of course, that five-point effort earned McDonough Hockey East’s Co-Player of the Week alongside starting goaltender Devon Levi who also put together a solid performance with a shutout and only two goals against. If McDonough keeps this up, a Hobey Baker Award nomination might be in the cards later in the season. All in all, he is showing everyone that he will be one to watch this season as the Huskies strive to win the national championship that eluded them last year.
Jackson Dorrington, Northeastern Huskies (NCAA)
McDonough isn’t the only Canucks prospect fans should be watching this season at Northeastern. Dorrington, who was selected in the sixth round of the 2022 Draft, also had a solid week for the Huskies. The 6-foot-2 burgeoning two-way defender recorded his first two-point night in the NCAA last Saturday and now has two points in three games to start his freshman year. After a solid three goals and 11 points in 41 games with the Des Moines Buccaneers in the United States Hockey League (USHL) last season, he could end up being a steal in the sixth round if his first three games in college are any indication.
Yes, it’s early, but reports out of Northeastern are positive so far as a source told Canucks Army that “this kid doesn’t look like a freshman and that he is already making a good impact at the NCAA level.” That’s a good sign for a prospect that is just 18 years old at this point. Usually, there is a bit of an adjustment period – especially for defencemen – as they transition from the lesser skill of the USHL to the more mature NCAA. As such, it will be interesting to follow his development this season.
Connor Lockhart, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Alright, let’s hop on the imaginary plane and head north to Canada and the OHL to check in with Lockhart and his new team, the Peterborough Petes. Like McDonough, he is off to a hot start – but if McDonough is hot, Lockhart is white hot. Early on, he already has 10 points in six games and shares the top spot in assists (8) with Dean Loukus, Pavel Mintyukov and Jack Beck. He is also three points back of the overall scoring lead held by the aforementioned Mintyukov.
While Lockhart had a solid 2021-22 season with the Erie Otters last year, it appears he is going to have an even better one in 2022-23 with the Petes. Selected 178th overall in the 2021 Draft by the Canucks, he is hanging out on the leaderboard with prospects that have a higher draft pedigree in Mintyukov (2022 10th overall – Anaheim Ducks) and David Goyette (2022 61st overall – Seattle Kraken), which is pretty good for a later round pick. It remains to be seen if he can sustain this crazy pace, but he’s another dark horse prospect that is worth keeping an eye on as the season moves along.
Kirill Kudryavtsev, Soo Greyhounds (OHL)
Keeping with the theme of the report, defenceman Kirill Kudryavtsev, fresh off a solid performance at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, has started his second season in North America with a bang. He is also a late-round pick from the 2022 Draft – 208th overall in fact, and is coming off a rookie campaign where he put up five goals and 39 points in 68 games and four points in the playoffs. With five points in his first seven games with the Soo Greyhounds this season, he is well on his way to shattering those numbers.
When Kudryavtsev was at the Young Stars in September, he showed off a quick stick and a strong two-way game. Yes, he was relatively quiet offensively, but he was clean and relatively invisible, which is what you want from a defenceman that isn’t Cale Makar or Quinn Hughes.
“Kirill Kudryavtsev is a two-way defender with tons of skill…[he] is reliable defensively with an advanced ability to block shots, and he is also a consistent presence offensively, where he makes safe, smart passes with accuracy.” – Logan Horn, The Hockey Writers
Horn also mentioned that Kudryavtsev was good at everything, but exceptional at nothing, which is not necessarily a bad thing since coaches can usually rely on him to make the right decision in all zones of the ice. With a great start to his second season in the OHL, he is already beginning to look like a find in the seventh round for the Canucks’ new scouting staff.
That does it for another edition of the Canucks Prospects Report. Stay tuned next week, as we will turn our attention overseas and take a look at how Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Lucas Forsell, Jonathan Myrenberg and others are doing so far in 2022-23.
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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.