For the third time in as many games (video below), Canucks forward prospect Aidan McDonough lit the lamp with a power play goal as the Vancouver ‘Young Stars’ beat the Edmonton hopefuls 5-2. With a record of 2-0-and-1, the Canucks unofficially win the tournament that isn’t really a tournament, but the best round robin record is a feather in their caps.
Last September it was the Oilers prospects beating the Canucks on the final day by the very same score.
Outside of his excellent shot, just how serious should prospect pundits take McDonough’s chances for making the big show at some point in the near future? He grew up quite a bit physically and mentally for four years at Northeastern University in Boston since being drafted by Vancouver in the 7th-round of the NHL Draft in 2019. He signed a two-year, two-way, entry-level deal back on March 13th.
The Massachusetts native stands 6-foot-2 and a sturdy 205-pounds.
“I definitely like to use my size and my strength to my advantage anytime I can,” McDonough said before the event started.
The club thought highly enough of the university graduate to give him a crack in the NHL at the end of last season, playing him in six games and watching him score his first NHL goal. It came in his second game on March 31st against former Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames at Rogers Arena.
McDonough potted a rebound near the left goal post off a Jack Studnicka shot to give the Canucks a 2nd period lead.
An NCAA 1st-team All-American in the East region, McDonough finished with 38 points in 34 college games his final season and 124 points in 124 college games overall. Although his program did win one conference championship and fell short in national championship aspirations, the Huskies captain and Boston area native would be the first to tell you what mattered most:
Two Beanpot Tournament championships, one in 2020 and one this past season.
The annual round robin between Northeastern, Harvard, Boston University and Boston College packs the fans in during the first two Mondays of February and carries bragging rights in Boston for a year.
Since then and since his NHL experience, McDonough trained with some of New England’s finest pro’s, including Seattle Kraken center and Calder Trophy winner Matty Beniers. McDonough worked on the things he needed to work on most; his skating and his quickness. Building those key elements, to go with a heavy game and an even heavier shot, could bring personal bounty.
Prospect writer Dave Hall summed up McDonough’s potential: “Given his weapons, he continues to offer strong middle-six and powerplay potential at the NHL level.”
The summer training seems to have put him in a great mindset, combined with some powerful confidence from the spring, into what could be a pivotal Vancouver Canucks training camp.
— Canucks NHL Sunday: Prospects Lose; Babcock Resigns