The Vancouver Canucks have signed free agent defenseman Ashton Sautner to an entry-level contract.
The 20-yeat-old was 12th among blue liners in scoring in the Western Hockey League with 12 goals and 48 points in 68 games entering Friday night’s action
“Playing pro hockey was definitely on my mind (coming into this season),” Sautner told the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. “It’s so exciting. I can’t thank my friends and family enough for all of their support over the years.”
The 6-foot, 192-pound native of Flaxcombe, Saskatchewan attended Arizona Coyotes camp last summer.
Sautner won a Memorial Cup last spring with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
He is expected to join the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League once his WHL season is over.
All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Griffin Reinhart (D)
Height: 6’4 Weight: 207 Shoots: Left
Team: Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 10 among North American skaters
What kind of player is he?
Another draftee with strong hockey bloodlines — father Paul played with Vancouver and Calgary, older brother Max was drafted by the Flames in 2010 — Reinhart’s often described as a two-way blueliner praised for his balance of offensive and defensive attributes.
Case in point: Scouts like his puck-moving skills and he’s clearly got an offensive flair, having led all Oil Kings defensemen in goals last year (12). But Reinhart’s also lauded for his frame — at 6’4 and over 200 pounds, he’s got NHL-calibre size — defensive awareness, and high hockey IQ.
Of note, Reinhart had 21 interviews at the recent NHL scouting combine and received follow-ups from Edmonton, Dallas, Buffalo, Montreal and Columbus.
“Very few 6-4 blueliners can skate and handle the puck like Reinhart, and those attributes alone will intrigue lots of scouts. Has a hard point shot that often finds its mark, good passing skills.
“Has been compared by some scouts to [Boston Bruins prospect] Dougie Hamilton. Has the size, skill and skating ability to be a top two NHL defenceman.” — Grant McCagg, TSN.
More draft profiles: