The Vancouver Canucks drafted C Alex Friesen from the Niagara IceDogs in the 2010 NHL draft at 172nd overall in the sixth round. Friesen is played major junior in his hometown, Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario, and he enjoyed a rare five-season OHL career with Niagara.
What Canucks fans should not mistake by looking at his statistics and profile is the fact that even though Friesen is listed at 5'9'' and 186 lbs, he is anything but a small player that makes little impact on the ice.
In his major junior career, based on the 2011-12 season alone, Friesen has initiated or accepted invitation to drop the gloves seven times with guys in the OHL that are most of the time bigger and taller than him. In his career, Friesen has sparked his team with 17 career fights in the OHL.
This year, you should know that the Niagara IceDogs came within a couple of wins away from a trip to the Memorial Cup, hosted in Shawinigan, Quebec. The team reached the OHL finals playing against the London Knights, and Friesen played a major role on the IceDogs to lead his team to this position.
In 20 appearances in the playoffs this year, Friesen scored 22 points (8-14-22) for the IceDogs, and that ranked him fourth in team playoff scoring, one point behind teammates Ryan Strome and Dougie Hamilton.
At 21 years of age, Friesen will likely join the Canucks at prospects camp in September, and if the Canucks see enough good things from Friesen, he will likely begin his professional career on the Chicago Wolves learning the game from coach Craig MacTavish.
At the NHL level, Friesen may eventually become a third- or fourth-line energy guy who is able to spark the team when needed, and take on a role on the team's penalty killing unit. With a plus-39 rating in his final year in the OHL, he has proven that he can play on both ends of the rink.
This is Joseph Trenton reporting in Vancouver.
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