The Vancouver Canucks have dipped into the 20-year old CHL free agent market, signing Jalen Chatfield from the Windsor Spitfires to a three-year, entry-level contract. The defenseman will stay with the Spitfires through their Memorial Cup run—the team is hosting the tournament this year and will get automatic entry. GM Jim Benning had this to say about his newest prospect:
Jalen is a good two-way defenceman that sees the ice well and makes good decisions in all three zones. He moves the puck well and can join the rush. Jalen is another addition to our young prospect pool and we look forward to his continued development playing in Windsor.
Indeed, Chatfield can contribute at both ends of the rink and he trails just (first-round pick) Mikhail Sergachev and (exceptional status) Sean Day in points among Spitfires defenders. The right-handed defenseman doesn’t have any standout skill, but plays a solid all-around game that will likely transition well to the AHL. He’s most definitely not a lock for the NHL, but does add another name to a prospect cupboard that is suddenly finding itself more full than expected.
After acquiring Nikolay Goldobin and Jonathan Dahlen at the deadline and looking like they’ll get another top-10 pick in this year’s draft, the Canucks rebuild could be off to a very quick start. Filling in the cracks with CHL free agents will help, and don’t count them out of the college sweepstakes either. Just today, Bob McKenzie linked them to Zach Aston-Reese, arguably the top prize among the college ranks this year.