2013 Canucks prospect training camp invitees: part two

Today we continue our look at the invitees to the Canucks 2013 prospect training camp as the Young Stars tournament kicks off with a game between the Canucks and Sharks. Canucks.com will be streaming the game online at 7:30 pm, giving fans their first chance to see guys like Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk in action in a Canucks jersey. It will also be our first chance to see if some of the undrafted and unsigned invitees have a chance to earn a contract.

It’s interesting to note that five of the eleven invitees play left wing. Left wing is currently the weakest position in the Canucks’ prospect pool. Every other position has at least one player with a fairly certain NHL future: Nicklas Jensen at right wing, Bo Horvat and Brendan Gaunce at centre, Frank Corrado at defence, and Joacim Eriksson and Eddie Lack in net.

On left wing, however, the Canucks have Darren Archibald, Ludwig Blomstrand, Steven Anthony, Wes Myron, and Matthew Beattie. There’s some potential in that list and one of those players could surprise everyone, but none of them have significant upside to really get excited about.

If you don’t have quality, however, you may as well go for quantity and hope that you get lucky if you roll the dice enough times. It makes sense, then, for most of the invitees to play a position of weakness for the Canucks in hopes that one of them stands out and can be added to the prospect pool.

On Tuesday, we looked at the first five invitees coming to camp. Here are the remaining six:

Zach Hall – Centre
5’11″ – 172 lbs – April 29, 1993
Belleville, ON
Barrie Colts

Like Cain Franson, Hall is a previous invitee for the Canucks, attending their 2012 prospect development camp. At that time, he was coming off a strong point-per-game season as an 18-year-old with the Colts. This time around, he’s comes in with an even more impressive season, finishing in the top 20 in points in the OHL with 81 points in 63 games. Impressively, Hall upped his game in the playoffs, scoring 28 points in 19 games.

To be fair, Hall’s outstanding season came alongside top Jets prospect Mark Scheifele, but Brock Otten from OHL Prospects notes that his production wasn’t dependent on Scheifele and that he carried the team when Scheifele was away from the team at NHL camps and the World Junior Championship. Otten also notes that he is dependable in his own end and is underrated defensively.

He was ranked 158th among North American skaters heading into the 2013 NHL draft, but once again went undrafted. There are still concerns over his size, but his strong playmaking and scoring are worth a closer look and it’s exciting to see Hall get an invite from the Canucks.

Kyle Hope – Left Wing
6’1″ – 188 lbs – April 20, 1993
Blenheim, ON
Owen Sound Attack

Hope was also invited to the Canucks prospect development camp this year and the Canucks clearly liked him enough to bring him back for their Young Stars tournament. Hope has grit to his game, with 109 penalty minutes in Owen Sound last season with 8 fights. He also added a touch of scoring, with 14 goals and 27 points in 62 games. This was a jump in scoring for Hope, who started his junior career as a defenceman.

Interestingly enough, Hope attended the New York Rangers’ prospect camp last year with John Tortorella. It’s certainly possible that Torts liked what he saw and recommended that the Canucks extend him an invite this year.

Daniel Johnston – Defence
6’2″ – 211 lbs – October 17, 1992
Calgary, AB
Lethbridge Hurricanes

Johnston is a returnee from the Canucks prospect development camp this year. The 20-year-old will be turning professional this year, making this a very important camp for the defenceman. He’s had a long junior career, making his debut with Lethbridge as a 15-year-old.

Johnston has a lot of tools at his disposal, boasting a hard slapshot, good positioning on defence, great skating, and the ability to hit hard. He scored a career-high 34 points in 45 games, good for 11th in points-per-game among WHL defencemen last year. He’ll need a strong performance in camp to earn a contract with the Canucks, who already have a strong contingent of defencemen ready to play in Utica. If the Canucks sign him, he’ll likely start in the ECHL.

Philippe Maillet – Centre
5’10″ – 185 lbs – November 7, 1992
Lechainie, QC
Victoriaville Tigres

Like Zach Hall, Maillet is an undersized offensive talent, scoring at greater than a point-per-game in his last three seasons in the QMJHL. Maillet can both score and set up goals, with 89 goals in 194 games over the last three seasons and 139 assists. Last season, his career-high 83 points in 65 games led his team and were good enough for 16th in the QMJHL.

Maillet was named the CHL’s player of the week in mid-November after scoring 8 points in 2 games and had 9 points in 8 games in the playoffs before succumbing to an ankle fracture. That’s actually a bit of a concern, as Maillet is coming off surgery on his ankle. The other concern for Maillet is his size, as he’s listed at 5’9″ in some places, which can be a lot to overcome.

Still, he has some high-end skill. The Young Stars tournament will be our chance to see if he can handle playing against bigger players and if his skill will stand out.

Jesse Mychan – Left Wing
6’2″ – 200 lbs – July 2, 1992
Saskatoon, SK
Tri-City Americans

Mychan was an intriguing invite to the Canucks’ development camp this summer, as he’s a physical player known more for his big hits and fighting than anything else, but added a scoring touch to his game in his 20-year-old season in Tri-City, scoring 19 goals and 41 points in 60 games while playing on the top line.

The Canucks have liked Mychan for a while, however, as he was invited to their 2012 prospect camp but could not attend due to an injury. That came before his stint on the Americans’ top line, so they clearly like his physicality. If he has enough touch to play on a major junior top line, he may have enough touch to play a physical role in the NHL without costing the team with his puckhandling. It’s a long shot, though.

In any case, look for him to play with a physical edge and aim for a fight or two during the Young Stars tournament.

David Pacan – Right Wing
6’4″ – 220 lbs – March 31, 1991
Ottawa, ON
Cincinatti Cyclones

Pacan already has a contract with the Utica Comets after a strong rookie season in the ECHL with the Cyclones. Pacan has impressive size, but he can also score, putting up nearly a point-per-game in his two OHL seasons before scoring 52 points in 57 games in the ECHL last season. That was enough to get him named to the ECHL’s all-rookie team, like fellow new Comet Sacha Guimond.

Pacan was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 6th round of the 2009 draft and was traded to the Florida Panthers in 2011 as part of the Michael Frolik deal. International Scouting Services described him as a strong skater with good puck skills and defensive zone play in his draft year.

At 6’4″, Pacan will definitely turn some heads, but he’ll need to prove that he can hold his own offensively if he wants to stick around at Canucks’ camp. It’s interesting to see two of the best ECHL rookies from last season getting a chance with the Comets. Clearly, the Canucks are hoping they’ve found a couple diamonds in the rough.

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