Canucks ECHL update

By Patrick King

Patrick King

With the season now past the midway point in the ECHL, the
Vancouver Canucks’ ECHL affiliate, the Columbia Inferno, is in first place in
the Southern Division and third in the Eastern Conference behind Wheeling and
Atlantic City. The Inferno has played well this season in 49 games with a
win/loss record of 30-14-5. The Inferno has scored the most goals in the ECHL
with 190 (10 more goals than Wheeling). A large part of their scoring prowess
has been due to the play of Vancouver Canucks prospect Tim Smith.


The 22-year-old Smith has been an offensive dynamo for the
Inferno this season, leading the team in assists and points. Smith has racked
up 60 points in only 46 games played. His 20 goals and 40 assists is currently
third in ECHL scoring behind Steffon Walby of Mississippi and Jean-Franc Dufour
of Wheeling. Smith’s 60 points this season has already surpassed his total last
season, with 20 games still to be played. He has played on a line with Barrie
Moore and Robin Carruthers this season and has helped raise their games.


Smith was a ninth round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in the
2000 NHL Draft. He will look to bring the Columbia Inferno into the Kelly Cup
playoffs and next season will look to suit up for the American Hockey League
Manitoba Moose.  He was recalled and
played one game with the Moose so far this season.


In his first ECHL season, Jesse Schultz has played a different role than he did in the
Western Hockey League. Schultz was a key contributor on the Memorial Cup
finalist and WHL champion Kelowna Rockets. He was an offensive minded forward
who put up 104 points in 73 games played in his overage year with the Rockets.
After the Memorial Cup, Schultz signed a contract with the Vancouver Canucks as
a free agent.

season, Schultz has played the majority of the season with the ECHL’s Columbia
Inferno. In 29 games with the Inferno, he has 13 goals and 10 assists for 23
points in 29 games. While he hasn’t played on the top scoring line this season,
he has put up decent numbers. He has contributed well on the power play with
five of his 10 goals coming with the extra man. He has played two games for the
Manitoba Moose as well.

In his first season in the ECHL, Marc-Andre Roy has tried making a name for himself as an
enforcer.  With only three forward
lines, tough guys in the ECHL get more icetime than in the AHL or NHL. Roy has
accumulated 97 minutes in penalties with Columbia this season in 37 games. He
has also notched a goal and one assist. Roy was drafted by the Canucks in the
seventh round of the 2002 Draft. In 131 games played in the Quebec Major Junior
Hockey League, Roy has a career total of 1090 PIMs.


After completing his four-year career in the WHL, goaltender
Rob McVicar signed with the
Vancouver Canucks this off season. He was the Canucks fifth pick in the 2002
Draft. The 6’4” goalie has seen four games with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL,
but has spent the majority of the season with Columbia. McVicar has seen
limited ice time behind starter Josh Blackburn but has played exceptional when
given the opportunity. In 16 games, he has a record of 10-3-2 and a goals
against average of 2.44 with a save percentage of .911. As the season rolls on,
McVicar will be seeing more ice time since he has played just as well as