When the NHL announced it was the Canucks’ turn to make the first of two 4th round picks, the fans in Minnesota, as they had done all weekend long, booed. At least, they did until the Canucks used the 101st overall pick to select Minnesota kid, Joseph LaBate. (And even then there were still some boos.)
4th round, 101st overall: Joseph LaBate, C, USHS – Holy Angels
Consistent with their MO this weekend, the Canucks selected another big kid with the 101st overall pick; LaBate, a center, is 6’4″.
From the Minnesota Hockey Prospects website:
Has the combination of size and speed that drives scouts giddy. LaBate is a mature player that has developed nicely over his high school career. Is capable of getting dirty and playing a physical game or can step it up a notch and play with finesse. Has great one-on-one skills, having the ability to carve into a defense, picking apart every weakness.
LaBate has a cannon of a shot, which he is able to bury from outside the slot. LaBate shows no ill effects of a broken leg that made him miss most of the Midwest Elite League. As LaBate advances to the next level he must work on protecting the puck as he’s prone to turnovers.
From Red Line Report:
Huge, but physically under-developed center has a massive and athletic frame to grow into. He’s tall and reed-thin right now, but will ultimately fill out to a 210-plus pound monster. Very good in front of the net and has excellent anticipation, always knows where the puck is going. Has a heavy shot with a quick release. Uses his wide base in the corners and (in) front of the net to gain and hold space in prime real estate and to protect the puck while getting his shot away. Outstanding puck-handler with soft, quick hands for such a big man-child. Has fine hockey sense in all three zones, but is raw in many aspects, such as defensive coverage and faceoffs. Already has a long stride, but must gain strength in his Bambi legs. He’s all about projection at this point, but his long-term upside is sky-high.”
LaBate is headed to the University of Wisconsin next season.