Welcome to the 2022 Edition of the Vancouver Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings. The list includes all players in the Canucks system who were born after April 15th, 1998.
The Jett Woo trajectory has been a bit of an odd one. The 2018 second-round pick was selected with much fanfare. He was a right-shot defender, played with an edge, and seemed to have a pretty well-rounded game.
He was, on paper, a perfect fit as a future Quinn Hughes defence partner (who went in the first round that same year). Some went as far as to say that Woo could be the Brent Seabrook to Hughes’ Duncan Keith.
His stock was high, especially in a pipeline that was (and remains) desperate for defence prospects.
Ever since, though, the path has been tumultuous. He had an impressive 66 points in 62 games with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors in his Draft+1 year (2018-19), but saw that pace fall substantially to 46 in 64 games with the Calgary Hitmen the following season.
He made his AHL debut in 2020-21 with the Utica Comets, and has yet to truly find his footing in the professional game.
Towards the end of the 2021-22 season, Woo was playing as a forward rather than a defender, and was in and out of the lineup for both coaching and COVID reasons. Overall, his offensive game cratered and his overall game was not nearly as consistent as it needed to be in the AHL.
Cody Severtson, prospects writer for CanucksArmy, writes that Woo’s AHL production put him near the bottom of AHL defence scoring, and while acknowledging that he could potentially be a “gritty two-way defenceman”, that ceiling is drifting further away with time. Speaking more about his strengths, DobberHockey’s Cam Robinson calls him a “mobile defender who enjoys engaging physically”.
The Canucks are in desperate need of a defence prospect to make it. For a while, it looked like Woo could be just that guy. Nowadays, though, things are not looking so hot, and to be anything more than organizational depth will take some effort.
What’s Next for Woo?
This next season will be a pivotal one for Woo, After a bizarre and disappointing end to his 2021-22 campaign with the Abbotsford Canucks, Woo will need to bounce back in a fairly substantial way.
Woo will need to not only improve his offensive game — to at least a level of baseline respectability — but also show that his physical and defensive game can be consistently effective. He simply cannot afford to have another season where he’s being healthy scratched or where his presence in the lineup isn’t guaranteed.
In an ideal world, he becomes a cornerstone of the Abbotsford blue line. Perhaps a coaching change from Trent Cull to Jeremy Colliton will benefit him in this regard, as Cull was not always praised for his handling of young players.
Heading into training camp, Young Stars, and the like, there will be a lot of eyes on Woo. Given the depleted Canucks defence pipeline, the stakes are reasonably high for Woo’s development.