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2021 Canucks Top 25 Under 25: #10 Jett Woo

Perhaps surprisingly, defenceman Jett Woo is the first player to kick off the top 10 of these rankings.

NHL: SEP 27 Preseason - Flames v Canucks
Vancouver Canucks Defenceman Jett Woo (52) on ice against the Calgary Flames during their NHL preseason game at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre on September 27, 2021 in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to the 2021 Edition of the Vancouver Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings. The list includes all players born after January 1st, 1997. Seven staff writers (Beggsy, Westy, Kent Basky, CanucksAbbyFan2, Markus Meyer, Noah Strang, Harsunder Singh H) and two outside writers (Daniel Gee & Cam Robinson) cast votes for the project.

There’s an argument to be made that Jett Woo is the Canucks most important prospect.

Hell, most fans probably wish he was NHL ready now. On paper, the Canucks defence on the right side looks questionable at best with a quartet of Tyler Myers, Tucker Poolman, Travis Hamonic and Luke Schenn.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Woo was part of the solution, sooner rather than later?

Although the 21-year-old isn’t NHL ready yet, his professional hockey career got off to a strong start last season. While his counting stats (3-2-5 in 28 GP) don’t jump off the page, Woo was able to assert himself as a reliable, physical defensive defenceman as an AHL rookie.

During Jack Rathbone’s eight-game stint with the Utica Comets, he was primarily paired up with Woo. Together, the two were dominant in terms of their on-ice impact. That was an area where Woo was strong all season, according to data collected by Cody Severtson.

2020-21 Jett Woo On-Ice Rates Per-60 Relative to Team Averages.
Courtesy of Cody Severtson/ahlnucksharvest.com

It was extremely promising to see Woo as one of the Comets’ team leaders in terms of goals against and shot attempts against, especially considering his rookie status. The caveat is obviously that AHL competition was watered down last season but nonetheless, the strong showing from Woo bodes well for his professional hockey future.

One other aspect of his game that’s gone a bit under-the-radar is his offensive ability. Although the numbers weren’t there this season, Woo often did jump up in the rush, which is how he potted a couple of his goals last season as well. There’s some untapped potential there.

What’s Next for Woo?

Despite the precarious situation on the right side of the Canucks defence, there’s no doubt that Woo will be a full-time AHLer for the 2021-22 season.

It will be interesting to see how Woo performs against a full slate of AHL competition — as opposed to the four teams he and the Comets faced in 28 games last season.

Woo’s progression will be one of the most inticing reasons to watch the Abbotsford Canucks this season. As mentioned, he is arguably the Canucks most important prospect. Having Woo establish himself as a shutdown, top-pairing defenceman with physicality and offensive pop would go a long way towards fixing the right side of the Canucks defence.