Canucks Army Weekly Prospect Report: World Juniors Edition

gustav wjc

With Christmas break having come and gone, most of the
Canucks prospects have been taking a short break from playing hockey and spending
time with their “families” (aka billets in the CHL).  While not much hockey has been played in the
past week the exception would be the IIHF World Under-20 Championships (aka the
World Juniors). 

The Canucks currently have three prospects playing in high
profile positions within the World Juniors. 
While normal prospect coverage will continue next week (along with any
activity this past week), this week we will focus on Jake Virtanen, Thatcher
Demko and Gustav Forsling.

Continue past the jump for all World Junior activity.

Jake Virtanen – Canada


The Canucks first round pick from 2014 is currently playing
in a bottom-6 role with Team Canada and is standing out quite well.  He even saw a bump up to Connor McDavid’s line in the latter stages of the Canada-Finland Game.  Through the first three games, Virtanen has
scored 1 goal
and 1 assist, earned 2 PIMs and a +/- of +2. 
He has directed 8 shots on net to give himself a 2.67 SOG/G rate with a
12.5% shooting percentage.  Canada is
currently 2nd in possession
in the tournament at 61.26%.

Some related links:

  • In his first game Virtanen was a +13.33%
    in Corsi Rel.
  • Against Germany Virtanen was a +10.01%
    in Corsi Rel.
  • A +12.5%
    in Corsi Rel through his first two games.
  • Against Finland, Virtanen was held to a 40% Corsi
  • Virtanen flashes Speed,
    Size and Skill
    at the WJCs
  • Jake Virtanen is a power forward in the truest
    (not quite sure what that really means…)

Thatcher Demko – United States


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Thatcher Demko has been standing on his head for the United
States as their number one goalie.  He
has played 2 of the three games so far and will likely play against Canada on
New Years Eve.  In those two games, Demko
has only allowed 1 goal against, and that came on one of the first shots he faced.  He has made 45 of 46 saves and is posting a
.978 sv% through 125 minutes of action.  One of his
two wins came in the shootout.  The USA
is currently first in possession standings dominating the tournament at 69.60%.

Gustav Forsling – Sweden


Gustav Forsling has been quite the standout in this
tournament so far earning him some positive words from ESPN scout Corey
Pronman.  Forsling is starting to look at
one of the best Canucks late round picks in recent years, similar to the Frank Corrado 5th round pick in 2011.  Through 3 games, Forsling is
tied with Canada’s Madison Bowey for the most points by a defencemen with 4.  Forsling has scored 2 goals (both on the
power play) and earned 2 assists alongside a +/- of +2.  He also has sent 8 shots on goal, good for a
2.67 SoG/G and a 25% shooting percentage. 
Forsling even earned himself Player
of the Game
in the 3-2 win over Russia. 
Surprisingly Sweden has dropped down the possession standings, compared
to the 2014 tournament, currently standing in 6th place 51.72%.

Cole Cassels

Cassels’ WJC situation was mentioned in last week’s prospect report, but a few people
still asked questions about him.  Cassels was
on the pre-tournament roster for the United States and played in two exhibition
games, but he did not do enough to make
himself stand out and did not make their final roster.  The fact that Cassels was in discussion for Team
USA and even got the opportunity speaks volumes for his development since being
selected in the 3rd round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft after scoring
0.67 points/game.  Hopefully he can continue his strong play this season and translate it to the AHL next year.

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  • Waffles

    It’s been a great opportunity to watch our prospects play against some of the world’s best and it’s hard not to get excited about what we have to look forward to in a few years up in the big league.

  • nucksandbolts

    As much as I still wish we had drafted Nylander or Ehlers last year because of their higher ceilings, I must admit I am falling in love with Virtanen watching this tournament. He’s just an incredibly fun player to watch with his speed, size, and love of the physical game. Excited to see what he becomes at the NHL level.

    Also damn, Forsling is looking great (at least on the PP).

    • andyg

      You are right. Demko looks fantastic. Even on the Domi goal he was beat by a great play. We’ll see how his poise is from this point on.

      What I wouldn’t give to find a way to get Domi from Phoenix to reunite him with Horvat.

  • andyg

    Hate when great players are trapped in hockey pits like Phoenix! Stamkos is a perfect example.

    Perfect Canucks game so far… Demko didn’t have a chance on two goals, Jake V made a nice pass in the neutral zone to McDavid, scrum ex a bit and Canada is up!

    • andyg

      It is interesting that you mentioned Vitanen’s pass. All the talk at draft time was how this kid was one dimensional. To me it is his passing that has stood out. He may be a more complete player than we thought.

      Or becoming one!
      Speed, size, shot, plus….