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2021 Canucks Top 25 Under 25: #9 Aidan McDonough

With a barrage of prospect graduations, the 21-year-old has quickly become one of the Canucks’ top prospects.

2020 Beanpot Tournament - Championship
Aidan McDonough #25 of the Northeastern Huskies celebrates after scoring a goal during the second period of the 2020 Beanpot Tournament Championship game between the Northeastern Huskies and the Boston University Terriers at TD Garden on February 10, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/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 a good chance that Aidan McDonough may end up becoming the best late-round draft steal of the Jim Benning era.

In the last three rounds of the draft, the Canucks have had two players (Gustav Forsling in 2014 and Adam Gaudette in 2015) go on to play NHL games.

McDonough has a chance to be better than both of those players, although he still has some work to do. He does have the chance to follow in Gaudette’s footsteps this season by challenging for the Hobey Baker Award.

The junior at Northeastern has steadily been on the rise ever since being selected in the seventh round by the Canucks. Judd Brackett’s name was reportedly all over the selection, and the “Legend of Judd” only grows as McDonough continues to round out into a legitimate prospect.

Since being drafted from the USHL two years ago, McDonough has posted 21 goals and 47 points in 51 NCAA games — fantastic numbers from a rookie/sophomore player at that level.

It’s long been known that the strength of McDonough’s game is his shot. Now, there are a bevy of former standout prospect who could shoot — and not much else — which is why McDonough worked hard this offseason to improve his skating.

According to this interview with Chris Faber of CanucksArmy, McDonough worked with a power skating specialist this offseason.

“I don’t know how much my stride itself changed but I’m sitting a little bit lower than I used to, that’s one of the changes,” McDonough told Faber. “I lost 10 pounds as well, that added a little more pep in my step. Ultimately I was just trying to move my feet, I think my skating did get better. I still think it’s a long and slow process but it got better. It showed when I got away on a partial breakaway.”

What’s Next for McDonough?

The third-year NCAA forward has been named an assistant captain at Northeastern for this upcoming season. Aside from winning the Hobey Baker (no pressure, kid), McDonough will aim to continue rounding out his game.

That was a focus of his according to this recent article from The Province.

I think towards the second half of the season, I started moving my feet a lot more, and I made more of an impact,” McDonough told The Province. “With more of an impact comes points and goals and assists, which ultimately are not what I’m setting out to do every game, I’m just setting out to have an impact and compete.”

If he can be a consistent force in the NCAA, then look for him to sign with the Canucks at the end of next season.