The Canucks prospect development camp is in full swing and Canucks.com has plenty of coverage, including photo galleries, Frankie Corrado’s blog, and reports from Derek Jory. But they’re mainly focussed on the prospects at camp that are already in the Canucks system, and for good reason. But I want to know about everyone else: the undrafted and unsigned players. The invitees.
There are almost as many invitee forwards at this year’s camp as there were total invitees last year. Are the Canucks casting a wider net and hoping that out of the quantity will come quality? Are any of these undrafted and unsigned prospects future Canucks?
Kurtis Bartliff – Left Wing
6’0″ – 185 lbs – February 21, 1990
Colgate University Raiders
Bartliff may be a good ol’ Ontario boy, but he played a year of junior hockey in the BCHL for the Nanaimo Clippers before heading to the NCAA, so he does have a BC connection. Bartliff plays at Colgate University with Canucks defenceman prospect Jeremy Price and has scored 48 points in 98 games in 3 seasons with the Raiders. His best year offensively was his sophomore season, when he scored 28 points in 42 games, tying for third on the team and finishing first in assists. He was hampered by an injury last year, however, scoring just 11 points in 26 games.
He has been praised for his “reliability and consistency” and he’s also very disciplined. He didn’t take a single penalty during the 42-game regular season in his sophomore year and went 59 straight games over his first two years at Colgate without taking a penalty.
While he was on Central Scouting’s radar after a great season in the Midwestern Junior Hockey League in 2007-08, he ultimately went undrafted and has yet to truly prove scouts wrong. In that season, he was named the MWJHL Rookie of the Year and the OHA Junior B Player of the Year.
Alexandre Carrier – Right Wing
6’3″ – 210 lbs – February 18, 1991
St. Elzear-de-Beauce, QC
EC Salzburg Red Bull
Carrier played in Austria last season for the team that Canucks prospect (and fellow Alexandre) Grenier will be playing for next season, though he spent the bulk of the season playing for their second division team due to their being too many foreign players on the first division team. He is one of several players the Red Bulls have scouted from the QMJHL.
On the U20 team, Carrier scored 25 points in 29 games and added a whopping 158 penalty minutes, leading the league by 58 minutes. In his last year in the QMJHL, he had 130 penalty minutes in 67 games, finishing the season with 15 fights. Carrier is big, strong, and tough, but he is at least capable of scoring at lower levels. Playing in Austria helped him develop his speed and skill more than playing his over-age season in the QMJHL.
Fighting evidently wasn’t as much in his repertoire in Austria, but found that his physical style of play led to a lot of minor penalties due to the different rules. Carrier sees himself as a Milan Lucic-type, but that’s a bit of a stretch at this point. His production has yet to indicate that he’ll be able to score in the NHL, but his size and reasonable level of skill may get him onto a team’s 4th line in the future.
Cain Franson – Centre/Left Wing
6’1″ – 168 lbs – March 25, 1993
Cain is the brother of Cody Franson, who also played for the Vancouver Giants and is now a defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Unlike his brother, Cain is a forward and has yet to be drafted into the NHL. He had a breakout season in his second year with the Giants, scoring 27 goals and 58 points in 70 games with a plus-26 rating after just 6 points in 50 games in his rookie year.
Things really clicked for Franson in the playoffs; the Giants may have only lasted one round, but Franson scored 5 goals in 6 games and added 2 assists. Franson will be expected to contribute even more offensively in his third year with the Giants with some veterans moving on.
Red Line Report liked what they saw from Franson this past season, saying that he’s “learned to use his big frame to his advantage on the cycle and when battling down low,” but he’ll need to put on some more weight to compete at the professional level in the same way.
Zachary Hall – Centre
5’10″ – 178 lbs – April 29, 1993
Zach Hall is intriguing: he scored 60 points in 58 games for a Barrie Colts team with a lot of offensive firepower. He played on a line with the LA Kings’ 2012 first round draft pick Tanner Pearson and may have played a role in Pearson’s breakthrough season. Hall has high-end talent, but wasn’t ranked by Central Scouting.
Darcy Tucker certainly likes Hall, saying that he has “all of the attributes to be an outstanding player in Major Junior and beyond.” He might be biased, of course, as he is the Hockey Director of Turning Point Management, who represent Hall.
Hall is the second shortest player at camp, ahead of only Alex Friesen. It’s likely that his smaller size and poor numbers in his rookie OHL season are what has kept him from being drafted. Friesen should actually be a good example and encouragement to Hall, as the undersized forward was drafted and signed by the Canucks after a point-per-game season in the OHL. Friesen, however, brings a grittiness to his game that might not be there for Hall.
Woody Hudson – Right Wing
6’3″ – 215 lbs – August 10, 1992
The awesomely-named Woodruff Hudson played with Canucks prospect Patrick McNally at Milton Academy, where he was a solid offensive player, scoring 61 points in 56 games over two seasons. While with Milton, he earned a “C” rating from NHL Central Scouting, identifying him as a player they were tracking that could potentially be worth a late round draft pick.
Hudson didn’t get drafted, but is heading to the Rochester Institute of Technology after a middling season in the USHL with the Indiana Ice. He scored just 18 points in 56 games with the Ice, but showed a physical edge to his game, dropping the gloves 8 times and picking up 117 penalty minutes. If YouTube is an indicator, Hudson is a heck of a fighter; the only three fight videos available show him knocking his opponent to the ice with a strong right each time. He won’t get the opportunity to fight much in the NCAA because of their automatic suspension rule, so it will be interesting to see how his offensive skills develop.
Hudson’s favourite NHL team is the Colorado Avalanche, but we won’t hold that against him, particularly since he says he got into hockey because of The Mighty Ducks. The movie, not the team. Or the animated series, which was terrible.Tags: 2012 Development Camp, Invitees, Prospects