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Vancouver Canucks of Tomorrow: Carson Focht

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Vancouver Canucks, Carson Focht
Vancouver Canucks prospect Carson Focht.

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 Carson Focht.

CARSON FOCHT

Position: Left-shot Centre

How Acquired: 2019 5th-round draft pick, 133rd overall.

2021-22 Stats: (GP-W-L-OTL) 41-3-7-10, 48 PIM (Abbotsford in AHL) 3 GP in ECHL

Contract Status: One season remaining on a three-year, two-way NHL-AHL deal.

Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Glass half full – Abbotsford; glass half empty – ECHL loaner.

Prospect Synopsis

Essentially a point-a-game guy his final two seasons of juniors with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, centre Carson Focht earned an invite to one Team Canada World Junior summer camp and played two games in the Junior Super Series with the WHL All-Stars, both in 2020.

That momentum came the season following his 5th-round selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2019 NHL Draft. That momentum finally slowed last season, not to suggest what appears to be a career lull is final.

Focht is only 22-years-of-age and in the process of solidifying his game and his identity. Scorers way more proficient than him have taken plenty of time to adjust to new and different roles at a higher level after being known scorers in juniors. Given his smart hockey sense and his strong two-way tendencies, Focht was destined for a grinding centre role, hopefully one with an offensive upside when opportune.

Focht is 6-foot-1, about 185-pounds. If he were to play in the NHL he’d be making close to $900,000 dollars. That’s extremely unlikely in the next twelve months. He’ll make $70,000 at the minor league level.

The key here is a re-set. Focht was given decent ice time and plenty of opportunities last season to make an impact in the AHL and gradually saw that time slip away as the scoring fortunes and overall game weren’t realized. He needs to dig in on the development and earn those opportunities again. There is still potential here.

Future

Maturing physically and mentally, Focht could solidify a spot at the American Hockey League level. Accepting his role as a two-way centre who’s not going to light up the score sheet, grasping that identity and working harder than the competition will be the key for the Regina, Saskatchewan native. He’d obviously rather play at the AHL level and keep his upside alive as opposed to slipping a level below to the ECHL.

He also serves as a trade chip/element as part of a deal with a club lacking organizational centre depth.

NOTE: The Vancouver Canucks have depth at lefty centre all the way to the top. JT Miller, Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, and Jason Dickinson are all lefties. Recently acquired banger Curtis Lazar is a righty. Of six potential centres for Abbotsford this coming season, five are lefties, with Linus Karlsson being the lone exception.

This doesn’t help Focht’s cause unless he flat-out outperforms the competition in camp.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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