Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Invitees: Part One in a Two-Part Saga

As you now know (because we told you) the Canucks Prospect Camp begins on Tuesday, July 6th. 36 prospects will be attending the camp, 13 of which are invitees that have not been signed or drafted by the Vancouver Canucks. Most Canucks fans have at least a passing familiarity with Vancouver's pool of prospects, but just who are these 13 players invited by Mike Gillis and the Canucks organization?

Maury Edwards - Defence
5'11'' - 176 lbs - Mar 16, 1987
Rocky Rapids, AB

Edwards played for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell as a Junior last season and was a 2nd Team All-American in 2009 and was the team's MVP in 2009. He's known for his offensive upside and great slapshot. His scoring took a massive dive last season, from 29 points in 38 games in 08-09 to 15 points in 38 games in 09-10. His goals dropped from 11 to 4. The hope would be that he could re-capture his offensive ability from just one year ago and transition it to the professional game. He's also an intelligent guy, named to the All-Academic team all three of his years at UMass Lowell. Edwards will be the oldest player at the prospect camp, at the ripe-old age of 23.

Brendan Ellis - Defence
6'2" - 206 lbs - Jan 5, 1989
Kelowna, BC

Ellis played for the Westside Warriors of the BCHL and was named Top Defenceman in the Interior Conference for the 2009-10 season and was selected to the all-star team. He was the third-highest scoring defenceman in the BCHL and is the all-time franchise leader for points from defencemen for the Warriors. His point totals jumped from 20 to 58 this season. Ellis plays in all situations for the Warriors, quarterbacking the powerplay, killing penalties, and matching up against the opponent's top lines. He has a scholarship to Merrimack College for the upcoming school year.

Taylor Fedun - Defence
6'0" - 190 lbs - Jun 4, 1988
Edmonton, AB

Fedun was a Junior at Princeton University and is studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He led all Princeton defencemen in scoring this past season, with 17 points in 31 games, good for 10th in the conference. He was named to the 2nd-team All-ECAC last season and was awarded Princeton's 1941 Championship Trophy for best representing the "winning spirit of the 1941 championship team and in so doing was an inspiration to his teammates," which may indicate some leadership ability. After his freshman year, Inside College Hockey praised his two-way abilities and called him a complete player, mentioning specifically his patience and intelligence with the puck matched with toughness and tenacity away from the puck.

Kevan Miller - Defence
6'2" - 200 lbs - Nov 15, 1987
Los Angeles, CA

A Junior out of the University of Vermont, Miller is known primarily for being a solid defensive defenceman. His coach has called him a "fierce competitor and a great leader." He was an Assistant Captain for the Catamounts this past season and has been named their Captain for the 2010-11 season. Prior to entering Vermont, he played soccer and lacrosse as well. Unfortunately, that's about it as far as available information on Kevan Miller goes. But you can see him throw a pretty sweet hit at around the 34 second mark of this Youtube video.

Kevin Clark - Right Wing
5'8" - 160 lbs - Dec 29, 1987
Winnipeg, MB

In March of this year, Kevin Clark signed with the Manitoba Moose on an amateur tryout contract out of the University of Alaska-Anchorage. He responded with 3 points in 9 regular season games and 2 points in 4 playoff games, earning him a more permanent spot on the roster. Clark was a proficient goalscorer for the Seawolves, with 23 goals in 36 games in his Senior year. He also racked up the penalty minutes, with 89 PIM and a similar amount in his Junior year. The vast majority of those minutes are from minor penalties and he's known for being hot-headed. He was apparently on Twitter all of last season, but the account appears to have been deleted. He did score a goal on his first shot of his first shift, showing that he's not afraid of going to the front of the net. And this UAA hockey fan blog names him the team's MVP and praises his grittiness. Not bad. He'll need that grittiness as an under-sized forward.

Jack Downing - Right Wing
6'3" - 200 lbs - Mar 16, 1989
New Canaan, CT

Like Kevan Miller, Jack Downing comes from the University of Vermont. He scored 21 points in 36 games as a Junior last season, good enough to tie for fourth on the team. The only three players on the Catamounts to score more points than Downing last season are departing Seniors, so he'll be expected to step up his offensive game. Downing seems to be a true power forward, using his size to deliver punishing checks, combining that with good offensive instincts. His coach suggests that he has a good two-way game: combine that with his shooting ability and size and it's no wonder Central Scouting had him ranked 105th overall amongst North American skaters going into the 2008 NHL entry draft. However, instead of being a late round draft choice, he slipped right through and went undrafted. Downing might be a player to keep an eye on, as power forwards often take a bit longer to develop and learn how to use their size effectively.

We're just getting started. Come back tomorrow for Invitees 7 - 13 in Part Two of the epic Two-Part Saga.

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