Canucks forward Aidan Mcdonough scored his first NHL goal in his 2nd NHL game after signing with Vancouver out of Northeastern University (Boston) back on March 13th. Thursday night it appears fans at Rogers Arena will get a look at another Canucks collegiate prospect.
Right-shot defenceman Cole McWard just signed two days ago. He’ll be skating against NHL competition tonight with the Chicago Blackhawks visiting Rogers Arena.
“These guys going into the line-up, first NHL game, you have to be careful how you evaluate it,” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said Thursday morning. “Just from watching Cole, just one time, it’s impossible to … just his presence, right-handed shot, he’s got good hands, those are good things to start with the defence. Good feet, what is he, 6-foot-2, 200-something pounds, which is nice to have some guys with that kind of weight on them.”
McWard grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Fenton, Missouri and attended THE Ohio State University (that’s how they refer to their school). Having completed his sophomore (2nd) season with the Buckeyes, tallying nine goals and 21 points in 39 games, McWard is apparently ready for prime-time with the Canucks.
“Just the comfortability with the management and the coaches and talking with them,” McWard said Wednesday after his first practice. “I really feel like they have a good opportunity for me here and I just can’t be more proud to be part of the organization right now.”
Comfortability also comes from having a fellow Buckeye in the dressing room. Big forward Dakota Joshua has been a pleasant surprise and a physical presence this season for the Canucks.
“There’s definitely a bond there, he’s been great, great talking to him so far,” McWard said. “All the guys have been great, but definitely having the Buckeye in the locker room is a special thing.”
McWard was a forward at one point as well, before he switched to being a D-man during his Under-14 season. He’s a puck moving defenceman with decent size and Thursday night he’ll get a baptism by fire.