Go with what you know. Vancouver Canucks management finally moved on from lingering defence prospect Jack Rathbone and they utilized a familiar destination in doing so, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Gee, in case you missed it, Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford and General Manager Patrik Allvin were former employees of that club in western Pennsylvania with Rutherford running the hockey department while winning two Stanley Cups.
Rathbone finally shakes free of an organization that gave him plenty of chances to succeed. The lefty’s development and NHL opportunities gradually waned as his frustration level only increased.
Vancouver also moved along fellow minor leaguer, 23-year-old Czech winger Karel Plasek, in a deal that brought back right-shot defenceman Mark Friedman and undrafted minor league center Ty Glover.
Friedman has 65 games of NHL experience between time with the Flyers and Penguins and becomes a depth option.
— The Canucks most recent deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Sam Lafferty appears to have been a good one, involving a well known commodity. Rutherford’s Penguins drafted the player back in 2014 in the boss’s first summer with the club. Lafferty spent five-plus seasons with the organization.
Perpetual Canucks Prospect
The deal ends a six-year opportunity, sometimes an ordeal, for 24-year-old Rathbone, selected in the 4th-round of the 2017 NHL Draft out of Harvard and considered a bona fide NHL prospect.
His development dragged on. Prior to the 2021-’22 season under then Canucks GM Jim Benning, the man who drafted Rathbone, it felt like his emergence on the Vancouver blueline was imminent.
The consistency of his play simply never reached that level, and with a superstar puck moving lefty in Quinn Hughes ahead of him on the depth chart, it felt like Rathbone’s skill set was somewhat redundant.
He’s been a star at the American Hockey League level with the Abbotsford Canucks while overcoming multiple serious injuries. Those stops and starts obviously didn’t help matters for him overall. He moves on having played 23 NHL games for the Canucks with two goals and three assists.