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Vancouver Canucks Zack MacEwen: More than a Tough Guy

Zack MacEwen had a great game against the Colorado Avalanche. What has his season been like?

Here’s how Elite Prospects described the Vancouver Canucks Zack MacEwen three years ago. The site noted that MacEwen was:

“A hard-nosed power forward that doesn’t do any one thing to a particularly outstanding degree, but does the little things right. He skates well, albeit not with the balance or agility of an elite skater. He has a nose for the net and a quick release on his shot. Defensively active and backchecks hard. Wins a majority of his puck battles, but has to be a bit more consistent in his physical assertion. Must work on his vision, on-ice awareness, and passing as he continues to grow and become more confident. Lots of positive signs in his development and is starting to put the pieces together for a solid career.” (Curtis Joe, EP 2017)

Forward to MacEwen’s time with the Canucks. MacEwen was signed by the Canucks as a free agent in March 2017. Although he has great size and strength, at 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, he hasn’t played much at the NHL level. He’s totaled four goals and six points in 15 NHL games. But most of those points have been scored recently.

Related: Why Did the Vancouver Canucks Trade for Goalie Louis Domingue?

MacEwen’s Difficult Up-and-Down Season

MacEwen had been up and down between the Canucks and the team’s AHL affiliate the Utica Comets most of the season. In late January, the Canucks recalled MacEwen but he became a healthy scratch in 16 straight games, and that pattern was expected to continue. However, on February 10, MacEwen was inserted into the lineup and scored a goal in 6-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Although MacEwen had been off the roster, against the Predators he scored three points. Prior to this game, he had only skated in nine games, with a goal and an assist.

That said, his offense should be not much of a surprise. MacEwen scored four goals and six assists in the 15 games he played with the Comets during the season, so he comes with offensive upside. At the point of MacEwen’s call up, it was thought that head coach Travis Green would insert MacEwen into the lineup because Josh Leivo (who had suffered a leg injury) and Micheal Ferland were unable to play. Instead, Loui Eriksson got a look in the lineup and he’s played regularly since.

Zack MacEwen

MacEwen’s Most Recent Game

On Friday, March 6, Zack MacEwen had a breakout game for him. He scored his first career multi-goal game when he hit the back of the net two times in a 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. The 23-year-old winger now has five points in 15 games this season. He’s unlikely to score as much regularly as in the game he had on Friday. However, he looks like a good line partner with Antoine Roussel and Adam Gaudette, and that line had three goals and six points in the Avalanche game.

In MacEwen’s time with the Comets last season, he scored 20 goals and 52 points in 69 games. Suddenly this season, he’s been in the line up because Jay Beagle, Josh Leivo, and Micheal Ferland have all been injured. MacEwen adds size and grit to the Canucks’ roster and, should he be able to add secondary scoring, he’ll be a godsend to the team.

As he noted about his game, “It was a really big two points. We were clicking well … creating offense off our forecheck. The chances were there, and we ended up burying them.”

Related: Jacob Markstrom’s Great, but the Vancouver Canucks Are Giving Up Too Many Shots on Goal

MacEwen’s Desire to Stay with the Canucks

MacEwen shared his resolve to stay with the team, when he suggested: “I’m trying to do whatever I can do stay in the lineup and help the team whenever possible. Each game I’m feeling more and more confident.”

Canucks’s captain Bo Horvat summed up MacEwen’s contribution: ”Zack had a great night. Not only on the score sheet but he was hitting guys, backchecking, moving his feet.”

Canucks’ fans can only hope this kind of play isn’t an aberration for MacEwen.



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