Ethan Keppen wants to emulate Matthew Tkachuk and Jamie Benn.
Bruce Bennett / Getty Images
You have to go way back to find fourth-rounders who made an NHL impact with Vancouver, but Ethan Keepen is an intriguing pick for the CanucksVasili Podkolzin has returned to Russia, but Nils Hoglander is here and he’s very intriguing. And so is, Ethan Keppen, who is beyond interesting.The Vancouver Canucks’ annual development camp commences Tuesday at UBC and three days of practice and evaluation should give the NHL club and its fans an opportunity to asses those pushing for a place in the organization and those selected in the 2019 draft.While Podkolzin was the focal point of Friday’s pursuit — the big Russian winger was selected 10th overall and is under contract in the KHL the next two seasons — the Saturday selections that included Hoglander in the second round and Keppen in the fourth should command attention.The Canucks had the 102nd pick and traded down to 122nd — picking up the 175th selection in the process — to take Keppen. Aside from 59 points (30-29) in 68 games with Flint Firebirds of the OHL, the 6-foot-2, 212 pound left winger immediately struck a chord with the locals.He wants to emulate Matthew Tkachuk, the productive and agitating Calgary Flames winger, and also play like Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn. That would be quite the package.
Ethan Keppen is picked in the fifth round by the Vancouver canucks in Day 2 of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Jason Payne /
Keppen had 18 even-strength goals last season to rank third among OHL draft-eligible forwards and his 18 primary assists at even strength placed him second in the junior loop. So his stats and stature, despite a stride that needs some work for explosiveness, caught the Canucks’ eye.“It was the combination of size and skating and courage to want to get to the net,” said Canucks general manger Jim Benning. “We’re happy to get him and work with him.”Fourth-round picks haven’t had a history of panning out for the Canucks.You have to go way back to find one when Ronnie Stern was selected in 1986. Before that, it was Wendell Young in 1981, Marc Crawford in 1980 and Harold Snepsts in 1974. Defenceman Jack Rathbone (2017) did have 22 points (7-15) in 33 rookie games with Harvard last season, so there is some hope on the fourth-round horizon.As for the camp, 26 players will attend. Eight are invitees and 18 are in the Canucks’ organization.Vancouver Canucks’ Development Camp(There is no admission charge for fans)Tuesday9:15 a.m. — 10:05 a.m.: Forwards on-ice practice.10:20 a.m. — 11:05 a.m.: Forwards and defencemen on-ice practice.11:20 a.m. — 12:15 p.m.: Defencemen on-ice practice.WEDNESDAY9:15 a.m. — 10:05 a.m.: Defencemen on-ice practice.10:20 a.m. — 11:05 a.m.: Forwards and defencemen on-ice practice.11:20 a.m. — 12:15 p.m.: Forwards on-ice practice.THURSDAY9:15 a.m. — 10:05 a.m.: Forwards on-ice practice.10:20 a.m. — 11:05 a.m.: Forwards and defenceman on-ice practice.11:20 a.m. — 12:15 p.m.: Defencemen on-ice practice.CAMP BY THE NUMBERS4goaltenders: Arturs Silovs, Matthew Thiessen, Michael DiPietro, Jake Kielly.8 defencemen: Brogan Rafferty, Ethan Frisch, Jett Woo*, Josh Teves, Lucas Peric, Mitch Eliot, Paul DeNaples, Toni Utunen. (Woo will not participate in on-ice sessions).14 forwards: Adrian Elefalk, Aidan McDonough, Carson Focht, Darien Craighead, Ethan Keppen, Henry Bowlby, Jack Malone, Karel Plasek, Keegan Stevenson, Liam Finlay, Linus Karlsson, Nils Hoglander, Tyler Madden, Will Lockwood.7 2019 draftees: Silovs, McDonough, Focht, Keppen, Malone, Plasek, Hoglander.4NHL games: Rafferty (2), DiPietro (1), Teves (1).email@example.com/@benkuzma