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New article: https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/article/canucks-training-camp-jack-rathbone-emerging-important-figure/

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ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – After playing with Adam Fox at Harvard, Jack Rathbone said everyone knew that his college defence partner was going to be special.

 

But, Rathbone added: “I think it'd be tough for us to call it that he was going to win the Norris in his second year in the league.”

 

At age 23, Fox won the Norris Trophy in June after a 47-point season with the New York Rangers.

 

Also surprising, Rathbone, a fourth-round draft pick who left Harvard a year after Fox did, made his National Hockey League debut last May with the Vancouver Canucks during his first season as a professional.

 

“I wouldn't say I surprised myself just because that was the goal that I set,” Rathbone, 22, said Friday. “But I think it's nice to be able to prove to yourself that you belong. That was something that I was pretty excited about going into those first few NHL games -- proving to myself that I belong and I can play in this league.”

 

Already an intriguing prospect, the dynamic Rathbone has become an important figure at the Canucks’ training camp in Abbotsford.

 

The absence from camp of unsigned free agent Quinn Hughes is giving Rathbone a slightly larger stage to show himself as he tries to build on his impressive eight-game NHL cameo at the end of last season. And his deployment beside Luke Schenn, the same rugged veteran who shepherded Hughes through his first few games as a Canuck in 2019, is suddenly a potential opening-night pairing due to the Travis Hamonic mystery.

 

Expected to partner with Hughes on the right side of Vancouver’s defence, Hamonic is home in Manitoba for “personal” reasons, according to the Canucks. It’s unclear when the 31-year-old might join the team.

 

Partly out of necessity, Rathbone was fast-tracked to the NHL last season after amassing nine points in eight games as an American Hockey League rookie. It appears the Canucks need him now.

 

Even if Hughes re-signs, Rathbone is mature and talented enough to make the Vancouver roster on the third pairing, behind Hughes and Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the left side.

 

Rathbone said Thursday he has been asking Ekman-Larsson about tradecraft – little details about the NHL game that could help him. After his callup to the Canucks last season, Rathbone’s landlord was the uber-talented Hughes, who finished ahead of Fox in Calder Trophy balloting in 2020.

 

On the ice, Rathbone was mentored by Canuck Tyler Myers. The prospect practised all summer with his Boston-area training group that includes Stanley Cup-winning defenceman Ryan McDonagh and new Vancouver teammate Conor Garland.

 

Rathbone raved this week about Garland’s work ethic and determination and Fox’s hockey IQ. Interestingly, these are the same traits that have put Rathbone in a position to become an NHL regular. He appears to be a sponge, absorbing and utilizing what he is learning from the excellent hockey company he keeps.

 

“I got pretty tight with Hughesie last year, and I've kind of been picking OEL's brain a little bit here,” he said. “For me to grow as a player, it's fun for me to be around guys like that.

 

“Every day, you just kind of want to get a little bit better and better. I think it's more just a drive and an excitement around where my game's at right now and where I think I can be. I'm excited where my game is going, and excited just to continue to learn and hopefully play at a level that I can help these guys win.”

 

In his eight games in May, Rathbone contributed three points, was a minus player just once, and had a 47.3 per cent shots-for percentage that was second only to Hughes among Vancouver defencemen. He averaged 15:30 of ice time but logged as much as 21:17, even getting a look on the power play as a shooter being teed up by Hughes.

 

“I thought he did some good things when he played with us,” coach Travis Green said Friday. “He's a good young player. When you know that you have good young players, I don't think they surprise you when they play well.”

 

Asked about Rathbone’s drive to get better, Green said: “I got a glimpse of it (at) his first development camp. It's probably the one thing that I remember most of his early time was that part of his game. He's a pretty driven kid. He wants to do well, he's got a lot of energy, he's committed.”

 

And his timing looks perfect.

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From what I have seen and heard about Rathbone today the offence is great but the defence is not so much. 
 

The clips he is in tell the same story. Nice moves and passing offensively but he got walked and beaten wide in a 1v1, out muscled a few times and coughed the puck up a couple times with breakout passes. 

 

As of now he’s my guy at 3rd LD but I don’t know where he fits with Hughes and OEL both offensive guys as well. 
 

Should be interesting. 

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10 minutes ago, Junkyard Dog said:

From what I have seen and heard about Rathbone today the offence is great but the defence is not so much. 
 

The clips he is in tell the same story. Nice moves and passing offensively but he got walked and beaten wide in a 1v1, out muscled a few times and coughed the puck up a couple times with breakout passes. 

 

As of now he’s my guy at 3rd LD but I don’t know where he fits with Hughes and OEL both offensive guys as well. 
 

Should be interesting. 

Totally agree.  Bone will start in Abbotsford so he can learn how he needs to defend.  Maybe Hunt gets that spot?  

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2 minutes ago, Alflives said:

Totally agree.  Bone will start in Abbotsford so he can learn how he needs to defend.  Maybe Hunt gets that spot?  

I think Rathbone is good enough to be on the roster and it looks like he will be playing with Myers if he does play so I wouldn’t mind him learning here.
 

Given the circumstances it isn’t a bad environment in Vancouver for Rathbone. 
 

I haven’t seen or read up on how Hunt has been. If anyone has any tweets/clips they can share about his camp so far I would appreciate it. 

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16 minutes ago, Junkyard Dog said:

Looks great offensively during the 1st but made mistakes defensively.

Like I've been saying all along, even if he looks fantastic offensively, and dynamic, it just makes sense to send him to Abby to work on his defensive play, in all situations, and big minutes.

 

Of course that also assumed Juolevi was going to show up and look solid (which he did not, at least in the infamous bag skate the other day).

 

If that doesn't change, they might both find themselves Abby bound.

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Rathbone looked great on the PP and on the rush. Very exciting prospect , cant wait to see what his game will look like next year after this year under his belt. He does need to work on his defensive game but i dont see that being a problem in the future. Hes a smart kid. Side note OJ looked great against the kraken.

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  • -AJ- changed the title to Jack Rathbone | #3 | D

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