Canucks ink Anton Cederholm to Entry-Level Contract


According to a report – which by now can hardly be classified as that considering the slam dunk nature of it – Canucks fans can expect some tangible news of a high magnitude to be formally announced any day now. 

The team coming to terms on an entry-level contract with Anton Cederholm, a defenseman they selected with a 5th round pick last summer, is something akin to the waiter bringing over some bread as a prelude to the massive entree you’ve ordered in your hungered state. It’s been so long since you’ve eaten, that it’ll have to do for now to help pass the time.

Just make sure that you don’t make the mistake of filling up on said bread..

The report of the deal being struck first emanated from Expressen’s Johan Svensson, before finally being confirmed by the club. The Canucks clearly figured they’d seen enough to lock him up after his Portland Winterhawks had recently been upended by the Edmonton Oil Kings in an epic WHL final, wrapping up his first season in North America. This certainly may’ve caught some by surprise, considering that at least some of the value in selecting him was thought to have come from the team having the luxury of 4 years to decide whether to commit to him or not

I can’t speak to what kind of data they were looking at in coming to the conclusion that they did on him (unless it was a contract offer from a Swedish Hockey League team that backed them up against the wall here), but based on some quick crunching of the numbers we have at our disposal, the results were rather underwhelming. Disconcerting, even. 

Thanks to Corey Pronman’s scouting report of Cederholm leading up to the 2013 draft, we knew that the big Swede was billed as more of a “stay-at-home”, defensive defenseman than anything else. Fair enough, there’s value in that. 

But we should make a distinction between playing a defensively-inclined game, and managing to register a meek 16 points in 71 games despite eating up large chunks of minutes playing on an offensive powerhouse of a team and alongside a stud partner like Derrick Pouliot, in what can only be described as an “extremely plush assignment“. Generally speaking, defensemen that can’t produce at a level like Major Junior tend to be unable to carve out careers for themselves at the NHL level, when the game tightens up tenfold and the competition increases exponentially. It got to the point this season that his dearth of production became a running joke on our weekly prospect reports, warranting applause anytime he did anything of note in a given week.

Meanwhile, here’s the data that was tracked for the aforementioned series against the Oil Kings, in which the opposition seemed to make a point of targeting him, and reaping the rewards of a high number of zone entries. 

I can’t say that I’ve personally seen enough of him to make any sort of firm statements as to whether or not this was a trend that persisted throughout the full season (since we unfortunately don’t have a full season’s worth of data yet), but I’d imagine that it would be based on the two in-person viewings I had of him when the Winterhawks came to Vancouver. “Turnstile” is one dreaded word that comes to mind.

As is always the case with prospects, keep in mind that he’s a 19-year old kid that’ll presumably continue to develop on that size hockey people seem to fawn over. Especially since he has just that one season of North American hockey under his belt. For some players, the refining of skills comes later than for others. But acknowledging that truly anything can happen is important, as is maintaining a sense of realism and level-headedness. What’s the most probable outcome of Anton Cederholm’s career, really?

Now, where’s my food?

  • Mantastic

    I am all for objectivity and evidence-based analysis, but please don’t completely crush all our hopes and dreams boys.

    At least post the video of what he did to that medicine ball.

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    I don’t claim to be anything like an NHL scout (or Sham for that matter) but I did see Cederholm play a couple of games against the Victoria Royals in the second round of the WHL playoffs.

    To my amateur eye, he didn’t stand out in any way. Neither good nor bad.

    I did know he’s a Canucks prospect, so I looked for him on the ice when I could. I saw a fairly big body on a good team that filled a role. He didn’t seem to get a lot of ice time, or any critical situations.

    It may be that he’s destined for a career on the farm. Still, that could be good value for an NHL team that is finally building, well, and organisation. Much is made here by commenters looking for better drafting and prospect development. Building a winning and durable AHL team that plays like the NHL team would go a long way towards the ultimate goal. If Cederholm is a part of that, this is a (modestly) good move.