The Vancouver Canucks have convinced one of their most interesting draft picks to sign well ahead of the summer deadline. Will Lockwood, who could have become an unrestricted free agent in August, has signed a two-year entry-level contract. Lockwood recently finished his senior season at the University of Michigan. GM Jim Benning released a short statement on the forward:
Will is a hard-working, two-way winger with natural scoring ability. He plays with urgency and creates chances for himself and his teammates. We look forward to adding his speed and tenacity to our roster.
The Canucks have also landed college free agent Marc Michaelis, signing him to a one-year entry-level contract. Michaelis, 24, just ended his college career with an outstanding 44-point effort in his senior season at Minnesota State University-Mankato. The German-born forward is actually a top-ten finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the best college hockey player in the nation. Benning also gave a short statement on the free agent signing:
Marc has exceptional offensive instincts and proven leadership. We look forward to adding his skill and play-making ability to the franchise.
Both players represent potential NHL talent for the Canucks, something that not every signing at this time of year can claim. Lockwood, drafted 64th overall in 2016, captained Michigan this year and has previously represented the United States at several international competitions. While he stands just 5’11” 172-lbs, there’s absolutely no quit in Lockwood’s game and he has proven willing to engage physically and battle in the corners when necessary. Just 21, he may be ticketed for the minor leagues to start his professional career but could very well push for a chance with the Canucks before long.
Michaelis is a very interesting prospect in his own right and has scored at basically every level. Starting in the German minor hockey system he was a star with Mannheim’s junior program before coming over to North America and producing in both the NAHL and USHL. Jumping to the college level didn’t slow him down, as Michaelis scored 36 points in 39 games as a freshman. His 162 points in 148 games for Minnesota State actually put him second on the school’s all-time scoring list, while his 71 goals put him first. Not only can he score at even-strength and on the powerplay, but Michaelis also set a school record with ten career shorthanded goals.
It’s hard to know if this kind of production will translate for the 5’11” forward, but betting against him hasn’t worked in the past. He’ll be 25 this summer, but already does have a taste of playing against professionals. In six games at last year’s World Championship, Michaelis scored twice.