Jack Rathbone – 2017 Canucks Prospect Development Camp Round-up
By: Connor Jung
This pick has Judd Brackett written all over it. Jack Rathbone played high school hockey this year in Massachusetts and if you were to look solely at his hockeydb page, you’d be left scratching your head. Since the pick and after doing some digging, there has been nothing but glowing reviews of Jack Rathbone, and I’m now in that camp.
He was by far the most dynamic defenceman at camp and only second in confidence with the puck to 2016 5th overall selection, Olli Juolevi.
His skating, specifically his edgework and lateral mobility, is at an elite level and a skill he can hang his hat on while buying time to develop his weaknesses. Scouts who know this player will say his hockey sense is a concern, that he may be too confident in with the puck and will make poor decisions. However, spending another year in the USHS as Ryan Biech from CanucksArmy pointed out, he has plenty of time to develop in college, with the Canucks holding his rights for up to 5 years. From a player development standpoint, you would like for Rathbone to take the next step and play at the USHL full-time in order to rid the bad habits like holding onto the puck too long, when he’s clearly dominating his current competition. From a personal development standpoint, Jack is choosing to stay in high school for reasons beyond hockey.
Back on the ice, Jack showed extreme poise with the puck and showcased his ability to change gears and pace with the puck. His confidence paired with elite mobility gives him a quality of a defenceman that I call “escapability”, where he can elude forecheckers with a pass, but also beat guys to create off the rush. His 10-2 edgework allows him to walk the line and be a threat on net with his heavy shot, as he was great at creating space for himself by pulling forwards into the middle. He’s one of the prospect in the Canucks system that I’m most intrigued with moving forward.