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Canucks prospects tracker: Woo’s comeback bid, Wild Bill strikes again

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It’s the latest edition of the weekly tracker, where we tally up the efforts of the Vancouver Canucks’ highest-profile prospects:

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Jett Woo

Everyone loves a good comeback story.

Jett Woo’s is a work in progress.

The Abbotsford Canucks defenceman — a highly-touted 2018 second round pick whose development path has been uneven, at best — has found his footing this campaign, motivated by a season that went sideways for the 22-year-old.

“I know definitely last year, it was a tough year for me, mentally,” Woo told Postmedia after practice on Thursday. “Just when I was starting to feel it, I get injured. Come back, have COVID, miss another couple games. Play half a game, hurt my wrist, miss seven-and-a-half weeks, come back and it’s almost playoff time. We have all our D set, all of our forwards set, and I end up playing forward.”

Woo went back to basics this past summer, watching tons of game tape and working hard on his skating.

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“For me and my development, I know I had a great camp this year and I felt good. I feel I’ve been playing great these last couple games and moving my feet.”

Jett Woo skates during Canucks’ rookie camp at Rogers Arena in in mid-September.
Jett Woo skates during Canucks’ rookie camp at Rogers Arena in in mid-September. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

Woo put his improved stride to the test on opening night in Abbotsford a couple weeks ago, when a San Diego Gull had the gall to toe-drag the 6-foot, 205-pound right-shot D-man.

“I tried to backcheck as hard as I could and luckily I was right there in the perfect spot to make a hit and was able to get a good lick in on him,” said Woo. “I get my stick and look behind me and I see my D partner (Wyatt Kalynuk) taking it all the way to the house and passing it for a goal, so it was a pretty exciting feeling and I’ll never forget how loud the crowd got there. It was really cool.”

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The hit was a throwback to Woo’s junior days, when the Winnipeg product blew up his WHL opponents and consistently impacted the game with his physicality.

“With every league I’ve been able to advance to, players are smarter, quicker and stronger so being able to really hit a guy and really have a good lick on him doesn’t come too often. For that to happen to me, and to get that chance again it was a good feeling and I’m just glad it turned out in a good way,” Woo said.

The tough yet thoughtful Canuck is dialled into the details of his game. From boxing forwards out, to “stamping” them to the boards, Woo is working on it. He’s also moving the puck up the ice quicker and joining the rush more often, a testament to the fast-paced brand of hockey head coach Jeremy Colliton has the team playing.

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“I know jumping up into the play is one thing I want to show that I’m good at. I know I’m a good skater and it’s time to show everyone else that too,” said Woo.

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In Friday’s 5-2 win over the Coachella Valley Firebirds at the Abbotsford Centre, Woo won his fair share of races to the puck, made a handful of quick outlet passes and even had a quality scoring chance late in the first period, with the Firebirds goalie stopping his low shot.

Woo was engaged and he was physical, though there were still some rough spots.

There was reigning AHL scoring leader Andrew Poturalski going between-the-legs and around Woo to the outside early in the third, with Canucks goalie Collin Delia making a spectacular sprawling save with his glove to keep the puck out.

Then there was a misfired pass he made behind his net with around a minute left in the game, which ended up in the Canucks’ net a few seconds later.

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Woo finished the game with one shot on net and a minus-1 rating.

Woo finished Saturday’s rematch with the Firebirds on the plus side of the equation, although the Canucks were undone by the hands of former prospect Kole Lind, who notched a hat trick in a 3-1 win for the Seattle Kraken’s farm team.

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A resurgent season for Woo would mean a lot for the Canucks’ organization. Not only does he play a position of need, he brings a positive vibe to the rink every day and is an on-ice leader.

“I know where my game is at right now and I know … what I need to work on. So I’m excited to see where this season goes and where our team goes overall as well.”

Woo has one assist and a minus-2 rating in eight games this season. In his AHL career, he has five goals, nine assists and a plus-9 rating in 76 games overall.

The Canucks are 4-3-0-1 and sit in sixth place in the 10-team Pacific Division.


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Will Lockwood

They’re calling him Wild Bill in the Fraser Valley — and for good reason.

Will Lockwood is skating up a storm a scoring goals at will of late.

The high-flying winger tallied his fourth and fifth of the season in Friday’s win, en route to a first star performance.

The first goal came on a wrist shot to the top corner of the net, while the second came on a smart deflection in which the 24-year-old dropped down low to tip the puck up high.

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There was also a sequence in the second period when the 5-foot-11, 172-pound right-shot forward turned on the afterburners, circling around the offensive zone with the puck, dangling a Firebird at the blue-line through his legs, leading to an eventual goal for his team.

Lockwood’s impact since being reassigned to Abbotsford from Vancouver a couple weeks ago has been tremendous, with coach Colliton praising the 2016 third rounder earlier in the week.

“He’s been good ever since he came down here. Work ethic, skating, competitiveness, wins a lot of races, wins a lot of 50/50s. Typically when he’s on the ice, we have the puck.”

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For a player who’s on the bubble when it comes to a call-up, Wild Bill is giving the organization everything they asked for when sending him down.

Lockwood has six points (5G, 1A) and a plus-3 rating in eight games this season. He also has 21 shots on net.


Filip Johansson was selected 24th overall by the Minnesota Wild during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft. The Canucks signed him this past summer.
Filip Johansson was selected 24th overall by the Minnesota Wild during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft. The Canucks signed him this past summer. Photo by Bruce Bennett /Getty Images

Filip Johansson

You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.

For offensive-minded defenceman Filip Johansson, one of those shots found the back of the net this past week.

The former Minnesota Wild 2018 first round pick, signed over the summer by the Canucks, scored a goal on two shots in a 3-1 win for Frolunda HC over HV71 on Thursday in Swedish Hockey League action, his second tally of the season.

The goal came midway through the second period on the power play, with the talented 6-foot-1, 176-pound right-shot D-man wiring a wrist shot from the point into the top corner of the net.

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Johansson, 22, finished the game with two shots on net and a minus-1 rating in close to 22 minutes of ice time.

In Saturday’s 4-1 loss against Skelleftea AIK, the Vasteras product went a minus-2 with two more shots on goal in over 22 minutes of ice time.

Johansson has a total of 47 shots on goal in 17 games this season, good for sixth overall among defencemen in the league.

He has eight points (2G, 6A) and an even rating on the campaign.


Jonathan Lekkerimaki is drafted by the Vancouver Canucks during Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Jonathan Lekkerimaki is drafted by the Vancouver Canucks during Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Photo by Bruce Bennett /Getty Images

Jonathan Lekkerimaki

One of these days, Canucks top prospect Jonathan Lekkerimaki will have a breakout game.

We’re still waiting for that to happen.

The 15th overall pick this past summer had one assist in three games this past week for Djurgardens IF of the HockeyAllsvenskan — Sweden’s second-tier league.

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Lekkerimaki has a great shot and good hands, but the results for the 5-foot-11, 172-pound right-shot winger have yet to materialize this season. There are reports that Lekkerimaki has been more effective of late, although it’s not showing on the scoreboard.

The 18-year-old, who will play for Team Sweden later this month at the Four-Nations tournament in the Czech Republic — and who’s a shoo-in for the upcoming World Junior Tournament — has one goal, four assists and a plus-2 rating in 15 games this season.


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Connor Lockhart

Very rarely do we see the kind of versatility in a player as Connor Lockhart displayed this past week.

The long-shot prospect, picked in the sixth round of the 2021 draft, is a natural centre — and an undersized one at that, at 5-foot-9 and 161 pounds.

Playing for the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, Lockhart was moved to the right point out of necessity for a couple games this past week and somehow managed five points (3G, 2A) and 10 shots on net from the blue-line.

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The 19-year-old was already setting the league on fire, and with his productive week now sits in third place in the OHL’s scoring race with 24 points (7G, 17A) in 15 games.


Elsewhere: Power forward Aidan McDonough notched his seventh goal of the season for No. 16 Northeastern on Saturday, in a 6-2 win over New Hampshire. The goal was McDonough’s 100th point of his NCAA career. The 2018 seventh round pick has 15 points (7G, 8A) in 10 games this season.

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mraptis@postmedia.com

twitter.com/mike_raptis

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Canucks prospects tracker: Woo’s comeback bid, Wild Bill strikes again Source link Canucks prospects tracker: Woo’s comeback bid, Wild Bill strikes again

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