Harvard junior-to-be defenseman Jack Rathbone has signed an entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks, thus ending his college eligibility.
Welcome Jack!— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) July 14, 2020
“Extremely excited for the opportunity to join the #canucks organization! Can’t thank my family, friends, teammates and coaches enough for all of the support.” (IG: jack.rathbone) pic.twitter.com/ezyRXvgJKx
Rathbone was a fourth round draft selection of the Canucks in the 2017 NHL Draft. He emerged as a top offensive defenseman prospects in college hockey in his two seasons with the Crimson. He scored 22 points in 33 games as a freshman. In his second season, he saw more power play time with the departure of Adam Fox to the New York Rangers, and increased his point total to 31 points in 28 games, with 17 of those points coming via the power play. His 1.11 points per game ranked third among collegiate defensemen, trailing only Boston University’s David Farrance and Hobey Baker winner Scott Perunovich of Minnesota Duluth. Generally, a drafted defenseman scoring over a point-per-game at the NCAA level translates very well to the NHL level.
Rathbone was originally slated to head back to Harvard next season, but with the Ivy League’s decision to not start sports until at least January 1st, which may have changed the circumstances in that situation. Signing Rathbone was also a priority for the Canucks because even though he was heading into his junior season, he could have potentially become an NHL free agent next summer because he would be four years out from his draft year.
It’s a tough loss for Harvard, assuming they even play next season, though they should still return an excellent offensive defenseman in Reilly Walsh, who opted to return to Harvard for his senior season rather than signing with the New Jersey Devils this offseason.