Canucks of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Vancouver Canucks system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them if and when they advance through the Vancouver organization. Today, we feature Will Lockwood.
Position: Right Wing
How Acquired: 2016 NHL Draft, 3rd-round, 64th-overall
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-P) 46-9-16-25, 38 PIM (with Abbotsford), 13-0-0-0, 9 PIM (with Vancouver)
Contract Status: One season on a two-way NHL/AHL deal.
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Abbotsford Canucks
Will Lockwood will be a very interesting player to watch with the Vancouver Canucks this preseason. We may be looking at the make-or-break year for the 24-year-old with one season remaining on his contract. Does he legitimately stick or does he become a permanent “almost”. He has certain characteristics that make him a good fit, others that might keep him just on the wrong side of the NHL bubble.
It’ll be a big 2022 training camp for the Royal Oak, Michigan native and former Michigan Wolverine.
Speed, check. Physicality, check. Intensity, check. Quickness, check, Desire, check.
Offensive upside, not so much. Timing and decision making, wait and see. Dangle, not really.
His NHL stats are somewhat symbolic. He’s played 15 career games in the big show and has yet to tally a point. It’s not that he’s exactly been piling up the ice time opportunities, and like the stock market, past performance does not guarantee future results. But some offensive timing and touch will be the next checkpoints. It’s not his game, but he’ll have to present something.
What really stands out is Lockwood’s fearlessness. He’ll hit any opponent that moves and he’ll close on them quickly. Hard to play against is a highly desirable trait in a league that’s getting easier to play in, at least prior to playoff time.
In thirteen games with the Vancouver Canucks last season, all of them coming late in the campaign, Lockwood picked up nine penalty minutes including his first NHL fight. It came against Noah Gregor on April 9th at home in a 4-2 win against the San Jose Sharks.
It was a rematch (video). Lockwood of the Abbotsford Canucks fought Gregor of the San Jose Barracuda in an AHL game earlier in the season on November 14th.
The flipside to Lockwood’s reckless abandon is his size. He’s not a huge man at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds. In fact it’s somewhat small for the game he plays. Durability and longevity could be an issue.
Nice kid, sincere, well spoken, the type of player fans love supporting. He pro-rates at a pretty fair number, an $842,500 cap hit at the NHL level, while making just $70,000 in the AHL. This would only add to his desire.
There could be an opportunity for him on the right side or as the spare forward depending on his all important camp.