Canucks Seeing High Prospect Materials In Seventh-Spherical Choose McDonough

The Vancouver Canucks now not have any blue-chip prospects of their pipeline. 2020 first-round decide Vasily Podkolzin was the final one and he’s only some video games away from shedding the label of “prospect”. That leaves the uncertainty of later-round picks which will or could not make it to the NHL someday. A type of is NCAA breakout star, Aidan McDonough.

McDonough was chosen all the way in which down within the seventh spherical in the course of the 2019 Draft and is now one of many Canucks’ high prospects. Arguably, top-three behind possibly solely Mike DiPietro and Danila Klimovich. That’s both an indictment on the dearth of depth within the prospect pool or an enormous pat on the again for McDonough.

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I’m inclined to consider it’s the latter as McDonough has grown leaps and bounds since his draft 12 months. His measurement, NHL-ready shot, and deadly one-timer on the ability play are all translatable expertise to the following degree. His solely main weak spot is his skating, and that has improved tremendously this season with the assistance of a skating coach offered by Northeastern College. So, together with his NHL debut probably simply across the nook, let’s check out his hockey journey to date.

McDonough’s Began His Journey With Thayer Academy & the Cape Cod Whalers

McDonough began his hockey journey at Thayer Academy, a highschool recognized for creating its justifiable share of NHLers together with Tony Amonte, Jeremy Roenick, Brooks Orpik, Charlie Coyle and former Canuck Adam Gaudette. Splitting his time between the Cape Cod Whalers in AAA, he scored 76 objectives and 160 factors in 114 video games. His finest season got here in his senior 12 months the place he recorded 25 objectives and 59 factors in 29 video games.

Tony Amonte Chicago Blackhawks
Tony Amonte was one other Thayer Academy graduate that discovered success within the NHL (Getty Photographs North America)

McDonough’s time with the Whalers was additionally successful as he was over a point-a-game in all however one season. Throughout that point, he was additionally a teammate of Canucks defenceman Jack Rathbone. In truth, his dad coached him for many of his childhood and teenage years. So, it’s actually no shock that they grew to become finest pals.

Really, his dad coached me from first grade to my senior 12 months of highschool, so for 12 years…Me and Jack have been actually shut our entire life and he was one of many first folks to textual content me after I bought drafted.

Jack Rathbone

McDonough completed his Whalers profession with 36 objectives and 61 factors in 59 video games. Then after being chosen 166th general by the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders within the 2016 United States Hockey League (USHL) Entry Draft, he moved his sport to the USHL for the 2018-19 season.

McDonough’s Dominance within the USHL With Cedar Rapids

McDonough solely performed one season within the USHL, however boy, was it a superb one. In 50 video games, he scored 21 objectives and 42 factors and lit it up within the playoffs with 4 objectives and 7 factors in six video games. He did all the things he might to will the RoughRiders to the Convention Finals, however ultimately, it simply wasn’t sufficient as they bought eradicated in 4 video games by the always-successful Chicago Metal.

Despite the fact that McDonough didn’t stroll away with a Clark Cup in his solely season within the USHL, his efficiency caught the eyes of the Canucks who ended up drafting him within the seventh spherical of the 2019 Draft.

McDonough Makes His NCAA Debut With the Northeastern Huskies

Dedicated to Northeastern College for the 2019-20 season, McDonough made his NCAA debut on Oct. 19, 2019, towards Faculty of the Holy Cross. He ended the sport pointless with three photographs on aim. Then, solely 4 video games later, he scored his first NCAA aim towards the College of Massachusetts in a 4-2 loss.

Aidan McDonough, NCAA, Northeastern Huskies
Aidan McDonough, Northeastern Huskies (Jim Pierce / Northeastern)

McDonough had large success enjoying with former Canucks prospect Tyler Madden, who arrange virtually all of his objectives that season. By the tip of his freshman 12 months, he had 11 objectives and 27 factors in 31 video games.

McDonough Turns into the Actual Deal With out Madden

There have been many pundits that believed McDonough would take a step again with out his uber-playmaker by his aspect. Seems, he didn’t want Madden to attain objectives as he went on a tear in his sophomore season to the tune of 10 objectives and 20 factors in 21 video games. Half of these objectives have been scored in a two-game span when he posted his first NCAA hat trick towards the College of New Hampshire on Feb. 13, 2021.

All of the objectives have been scored on the ability play utilizing his patented one-timer from the faceoff dot, which he has perfected over time. His skating additionally noticed an enchancment, which was at all times certainly one of his weaknesses going again to his draft 12 months in 2019.

McDonough Is a Scoring Machine in 2021-22

It didn’t take lengthy for McDonough to start out scoring once more in 2021-22. In truth, it solely took 8:55 into his first sport for him to attain his first of the 12 months. Then solely 28 minutes later to attain his second. By the tip of the evening, he had two objectives on six photographs and was solely eight objectives away from matching his career-high set in his freshman 12 months. In his first sport, no much less.

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The scoring didn’t cease there, as McDonough went on a tear of 9 objectives in his subsequent 12 video games. As of this writing, he has 11 objectives in 14 video games and is at the moment tied for second within the NCAA with the College of Denver’s Carter Savoie. The following aim he scores shall be a brand new career-high.

Aidan McDonough, Northeastern Huskies
Aidan McDonough, NCAA, Northeastern Huskies (Jim Pierce / Northeastern)

After scoring six of his ten objectives on the ability play final season, McDonough solely has three this 12 months. Meaning he has eight objectives at even energy, which is an encouraging signal for the longer term. Being a power-play specialist will solely get you to date within the skilled leagues. You have got to have the ability to rating 5-on-5. It’s nice to see him adjusting his sport to attain extra outdoors of the person benefit. If he can sustain this degree of manufacturing, I wouldn’t be stunned to see him nominated for the Hobey Baker Award on the finish of the season.

McDonough Has a Future within the NHL

At 6-foot-2, 201 kilos, McDonough has the scale and bodily sport to compete within the NHL. He additionally has an correct wrist shot and deadly one-timer on the ability play. To not point out a piece ethic and character that’s infectious to be round. What held him again from being drafted increased than the seventh spherical was his skating. One thing he was conscious about coming into his junior season with the Huskies. So, he bought a skating coach to assist him attain the following degree in his improvement.

Final summer time for me was lots about getting stronger, quicker, and being within the weight room and I believe I took a step there. Then, this summer time I’ve gotten to some extent of sustaining and making an attempt to get stronger and quicker however I wish to be stronger on my edges. I wish to be faster off the block after which additionally within the corners whereas having the ability to defend pucks and use my skating potential…

Aidan McDonough in an interview with Canucks Military

McDonough has the instruments to turn out to be a really efficient bottom-six winger within the NHL. His measurement and physicality mixed together with his shot on the ability play might even push him right into a top-six position if his 5-on-5 offence stays constant.

All that’s left for McDonough is to probably win a Hobey Baker Award and an NCAA Championship earlier than his school profession is over. The Canucks needs to be on the cellphone quickly to signal him to an entry-level contract (ELC) as a result of if he hits free company, there shall be a glutton of groups vying for his signature. He might additionally finish this season as their high prospect forward of names like Klimovich, Woo and DiPietro, who have been all drafted a lot increased than him. Not dangerous for a seventh-round decide, proper?