Welcome to the Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings, the series that makes you wish you were under 25 again. The list includes all players born after January 1st, 1996. Five staff writers (Beggsy, Westy, CanucksAbbyFan2, Trevor Connors, Markus Meyer) and one former staff writer (Daniel Gee, Elite Prospects) cast votes for the project.
In a nutshell, you’d likely think that Jett Woo’s final WHL season was a disappointment.
However, since it’s still the Christmas season, let’s grab the nutcracker and bust open the truth about Woo’s tumultuous campaign with the Calgary Hitmen.
On the surface, Woo registered 20 fewer points with the Hitmen compared to his ‘18-19 season with the Warriors. While there are some reasons for concern, a closer look at Woo’s season shows that the campaign was far from a failure.
For starters, 22 of Woo’s 66 points in 2018-19 were secondary power play assists. That number was primed to drop, and it did in 2019-20.
Woo actually registered more primary assists on the power play with the Hitman compared to the previous season with Moose Jaw.
With the Warriors, Woo was able to pile up those secondary assists due to a prolific offensive attack. Those ‘18-19 Warriors had four players with more than 75 points, while two of them finished with more than 110 points.
The ‘19-20 Hitmen, by comparison, had their top-two point-getters tie with 68 points. Canucks prospect Carson Focht finished fourth on the team with 56 points, and Woo led all Hitmen defencemen with 44 points.
Woo’s main focus during his final WHL season was to become a more well-rounded defenceman.
“Going into potentially my last year in the WHL, I wanted to round out my game this year and improve my strength. And that was playing hard and gritty. I thought I was reliable,” Woo told The Province back in June.
In that article from The Province, reporter Ben Kuzma compares the 20-year-old defenceman’s style to Kevin Bieksa.
“I’ve seen a couple of his highlights and I’ve seen people kind of compare me to Bieksa,” Woo told The Province. “Even my last year in Moose Jaw, where I put up a point a game, I still felt I was that gritty defenceman who was chirping, getting in the other team’s head and still playing hard.
“I’ll never lose that part of my game and what I can do is make it better.”
Woo has all the physical attributes to make it to the NHL. And unlike some defenceman his size, he isn’t afraid to throw around his weight either.
After being left off of Team Canada at the World Juniors during his final year of eligibility, you can bet that Woo will begin his professional career with a chip on his shoulder in 2021.
What’s Next for Jett?
Woo signed his three-year, entry-level deal with the Canucks back in 2019, and he’s under the organization’s control until the end of the 2022-23 campaign.
With three years until his next contract, you can see a long-term window opening up for Woo to try and make the Canucks roster. That journey should begin this season with the Utica Comets, where you could realistically see the right-shot Woo play alongside veteran left-shot defenceman such as Guillaume Brisebois or Ashton Sautner to begin his AHL career.
Woo will likely spend the next two seasons with the Comets prying his trade, with the hopes of pushing for a roster spot in the final year of his entry-level deal.