The Vancouver Canucks have signed defenceman Jack Rathbone to an entry-level deal. The contract is for three years and will take the young defender through 2021-22. Rathbone will report to the team’s facilities in Vancouver but he will not proceed to the bubble in Edmonton. Rick Dhaliwal of TSN 1040 and The Athletic broke the news early Tuesday evening.
3 year deal for Rathbone. He will arrive in Vancouver soon but not go to Edmonton.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) July 14, 2020
Canucks Sign Jack Rathbone
Rathbone was playing for Harvard University in the NCAA before hockey paused in North America. The 21-year-old had seven goals and 31 points in 28 games. That is an improvement over his seven goals and 22 points in 33 games in 2018-19. Rathbone ends his collegiate career with 14 goals and 53 points in 61 games.
The Canucks originally selected Rathbone in the fourth round of the 2017 Draft. He is listed at 5′-10″, 165 pounds which is on the smaller end for a professional defenceman but Rathbone has made it work. Rathbone has good mobility and knows how to move his body to defend; he isn’t reliant on his size or stick to frustrate opponents. He also shows a decent scoring touch but he probably needs some experience in the AHL before he auditions for the Canucks’ second power-play unit in a few seasons.
What This Means for the Future
The reason Rathbone’s contract will expire after 2021-22 is because it is structured to burn the first year according to Athletic writer Thomas Drance. Vancouver will use Rathbone on its AHL affiliate in Utica and see if he forces his way onto the NHL roster. The Canucks have several defenders under contract for the next several years but they will need to make some decisions on the blueline this offseason.
Vancouver still has several players in need of new deals when the season ends. The most notable is Tyler Toffoli. The former Los Angeles Kings forward joined the Canucks via trade right before the pause began. Toffoli scored six goals and 10 points in 10 games after the trade and has 24 goals and 44 points in 68 total games in 2019-20.