CanucksArmy World Junior Recap: Finland 4 – 1 Denmark

Day three of the World Junior Hockey Championship kicked off with a Thursday morning game between Finland and Denmark.

I’ll start off by telling you that the score of 4-1 in this game doesn’t do the Finnish performance justice. After a sloppy first 90 seconds from Finland, they dominated the game in every aspect. If it weren’t for Danish goaltender Kasper Krog making an incredible 58 saves, there could have easily been ten goals on the board for Finland.

On a personal note, I was excited to get my first look since the preseason at the Canucks 2016 fifth-overall pick, Olli Julolevi and he didn’t disappoint. Let’s take a closer look.

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At the 2:48 mark, Finland opened up the scoring with a quick wrister from Boston Bruins first-round pick Joona Koppanen. The assists went to the Dallas Stars first-round pick Miro Heiskanen, and Calgary Flames first-rounder Jusso Valimaki. These two make up one of the more dynamic offensive pairings in the tournament and it showed today. They were all over the offensive zone as you can see by the chart below, they are heavily leaned on to create offence for the Finland squad.

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About four minutes after the opening goal, the Finn’s made it 2-0 when Oilers property Aapeli Rasanen put home a rebound off a ricochet from one of the many Eeli Tolvanen one-timers. Tolvanen was last years 30th overall pick by the Nashville Predators, and he’s been on an interesting journey since last October. He started out the season ranked incredibly high on most scouts draft boards but steadily dropped month after month. It’s possible the steady drop lit a spark under him as he’s now tearing up the KHL with 17 goals in 39 games, which isn’t easy to do as an 18-year-old.

The knock on Tolvanen is that he can disappear for large portions of the game and seem disinterested. That being said, there are times when he decides to flip the switch and can take over the game with his offensive ability. We saw the good version of Tolvanen today and an average one versus Canada. I’m interested to see how his play progresses as the tournament ramps up. We’ll keep a close eye on him.

The Dane’s scored an early goal to make it 2-1 at the 1:29 mark of the second period. A nice release from St. Louis Blues prospect Krag Christensen which completely fooled the Finnish netminder. Despite making it a one goal game, I’m not sure anyone had the feeling Denmark was mounting a comeback. At this point, the Dane’s were being badly outshot and the result of the game was never in doubt.

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The score stayed 2-1 until the 15:38 mark of period two when Finland continued to get offence from the mobile blueline. Valimaki hammered home an impressive one-timer. That Flames blueline is already stacked to the max and it just gets scary good! Sorry Canucks fans, but it’s true.

Just over two minutes later, another goal from the Finnish blueline. This time it was the Blackhawks first rounder Henri Jokiharju who pinched in deep and capitalized on a rebound.

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The third was scoreless as team Finland continued to pepper poor Krog with another 62 shots on goal! This game was a rout as Finland out shot Denmark 62-7, YIKES!

That being said, if you’re here, you’re likely a Canucks fan and all you want to hear about is Olli Juolevi, so lets take a closer look at how he performed today.

Juolevi played exactly as advertised today. Nothing flashy but he contributed in all three zones with an overall steady performance. That being said, there were still some blips along the way which are noteworthy considering the quality of competition. They were minor and are few and far between but still noticeable. He was beat wide with speed a little too easily for my liking and he’s still in the habit of passing the puck backwards against the grain in hopes his partner can bail him out of tough situations. At this level, I’d like to see a more assertive effort to make the play himself as passing backwards usually ends up getting your team into even more trouble. Nothing to be too worried about, just a couple things to watch for when viewing the future Canuck.


  • Aleksi Heponiemi (A favourite of J.D. Burke) had a quiet game with rare glimpses of his offensive potential. He had his moments, but he definitely left me wanting more from the 2017, second rounder of the Florida Panthers.
  • Carolina Hurricanes property Janne Kuokkanen had an incredible game. He was all over the offensive zone finishing with 14 (7+7) 5v5 primary shot contributions and 9 shots on goal overall.  
  • Juolevi is currently paired with Henri Jokiharju who in my opinion is the perfect type to compliment Juloevi’s skill-set. He’s right handed, can fly, and incredible in transition. I’m pointing this out because at the moment, I’m not sure the Canucks have a player like this in the organization. The closest thing may be Derrick Pouliot but I’m not fan of pairing two lefties. Anyways, the Canucks have plenty of time to think about as Juolevi will be brewing for a little while yet. Just something to think about.

  • Giant-Nation

    Juolevi – looks to be a big overdraft, possibly due the Mem Cup team and stellar world junior team he played with. Perhaps falsely adding to his offensive output first year in WJC. He’s a solid NHL player but not projecting top pairing as we once thought at #5 spot. While Pettersson looks like he might rise above his draft position at#5….however 2017 Canuck Draft Class all preforming well including Gadgy’s tiny teammate.

    • Burnabybob

      Sad but true. Hopefully Juolevi at least becomes a Matthias Ohlund or Jyrki Lumme calibre defenseman, but it’s pretty clear now that he wasn’t the best player available, not even the best defenseman. Sergachev, McAvoy and Chychrun are all playing well at the NHL level.

    • canuckfan

      When you compare the great world junior team that he was on and how they had the two snipers he could forward the puck to against what the Canucks will have for snipers with Brock and Petterson could be exciting times ahead. Last year in the playoffs he carried the Knights on his back as he played his heart out and got the Knights past the team who ended up winning the Mem cup. Pair him with Stetcher …time will tell I am also feeling disappointed but lets give him another year and see if Sami can turn him into the player we are hoping for.

    • Burnabybob

      The Canucks have an abysmal drafting history on the whole. But off the top of my head I would guess ‘99, when they drafted the Sedin twins. Or possibly ‘89, when they drafted Bure in the 6th round.

    • Bud Poile

      ’99,’78-’81 and 2004 are comparable.
      It’s still too early but if Demko carves out a career Benning pulled out a potential five NHL’ers in 2014.
      Then there’s the 2017 draft class.

      • Bali Dog Catcher

        Vancouver Canucks Class of 2014…

        McCann – traded away – no longer a Canuck *BUST*

        Demko – poor AHL numbers so far *JURY OUT*
        Tryamkin – gone to Russia not coming back – no longer a Canuck *BUST*

        Forsling – traded away – no longer a Canuck *BUST*

        Petit – Gone to Uni, Over, Finished *BUST*

        Stewart – Demoted to Kalamazoo career minor leaguer *BUST*

        Jake Virtanen – 12 goals and just 23 points total in 100 NHL games for a number six overall pick *MASSIVE BUST*

        That’s ONE (poor) player drafted from seven playing on the Vancouver Canucks roster they were chosen for. Truly awful 2014 draft.

        • NorthernBClife

          McCann is Gudbranson, Demko is awesome, Virtanen is fine he’s been a project but his tool box is undeniable, now he’s on a shutdown line. Its very rare all your draft picks all play in the NHL. Go be a dog catcher. I laugh at you trolls on canucksarmy, truly pathetic. Seriously get a life.

        • DJ_44

          Don’t ever change, PQW. Still pretty sure the 2014 Canucks draft class has played more NHL game then any other team’s 2014 class. And that is with their second round pick being a (excellent) goalie that is in the AHL.

          That’s 5 NHLers in one class.

          The 2015 class aside from Boeser (who you were casting doubt all over last year — just like you do for Demko, and Juolevi, and Petterson) has Briesbois, the Russian kid currently in Europe, and most notably Hobey Baker Candidate Adam Gaudette.

          2016 will yield Juolevi and Lockwood, who looks like a great bottom six Hansen type; and two or three years will prove that the Canucks had the best 2017 draft of any team, with the possible exception of Vegas and their 3 first rounders.

          So it will be 2015 – 2/3 NHLers (one Elite-Calder candidate winger and a 2C/3C)
          2016 – 2 NHLers (one top pairing Dman, one middle/bottom six winger with speed)
          2017 – Potentially Elite/boarderline generational 1C; two top six wingers, soild goalie, and potentially a top4 dman in Jack Rathbone.

          5NHLers/2NHLers/2NHLers/5NHLers – in 4 drafts. Two NHLers in a single draft is considered excellent.

          Few teams in the NHL have been more proficient at the draft over Benning’s tenure then the Canucks.

          You are like the kid that cries and screams and everyone else just ignores.

          • Bure Fan

            How on Earth is a draft pick succeeding on a team he wasn’t chosen by deemed a success for the club who gave up on him! By that warped logic the Canucks take all the credit for Cam Neely being a Hall of Famer, which of course is ridiculous.

  • Wise Canuck

    Tuned in online too watch this and the reality is Juolevi’s a huge BUST for anyone not wearing a Canucks Tutu and shaking Benning pom poms.

    This kid has no offensive or PP upside and is nowhere near the level of Kuokkanen, Vaalimaki or Heiskanen let alone NHL studs Sergachev, McAvoy or the mighty Matthew Tkachuk, all of who he was chosen above by the inept clown Benning.

    Guys, we were told this kid is the next Drew Doughty, as a top five pick should be… he is more of a Drew Barrymore. Brutal pick then and now. Gutted.

  • ned

    Juolevi will be a pretty decent player, like a top 4, maybe top 3 d man, but this why you shouldn’t draft defensmen with a top 5 pick. Best forward available is a better way to go unless it’s a slam dunk D prospect like Rasmus Dahlin.

    • Burnabybob

      Juolevi seemed like a good bet. Sadly, he just seems to be the underachiever among the top four defensemen drafted in 2016.

      The NHL draft is a crapshoot, whether you’re drafting d men or forwards. Pierre Luc Dubois hasn’t really lived up to expectations so far, either.

        • Bure Fan

          Hey man, pulled these quotes from you off another thread guy. Why the hypocrisy, you sound like a confused jock sniffer fella… explain?

          ” The Canucks need players that can contribute out of the gate, particularly on D. I would take Liljegren or Heiskanen. Hopefully it’s a player that is close to NHL ready come September”

          “Last year Marner, Tkachuk, Provorov, Matthews, Nylander, Laine,etc. jumped straight from the draft table into making an impact at the highest level”.

          ”Hutton/Gudbranson *feels* like an amazing pairing. ”

          So… Juolevi gets 9 years grace but…

    • truthseeker

      Totally disagree. Best Center maybe. But wingers have very low trade value. If all Oli does is become a 4th D man that still means you could flip him for a high scoring winger when he’s young. Hall for Larrssen don’t forget. That’s all Larrssen was, a young D man with top 4 potential. Not saying the market will always be that high, but trade precedent is still showing that D has far far more value than wing. It’s not a “talent for talent” proposition.

      Oli would bring back a 20 to 30 goal scoring winger if he makes the canucks top 4. But then, if he’s ever good enough to make the canucks top 4, he probably wouldn’t be traded. Young top 4 D rarely are.

      I would say at this point, unless it’s a game changing winger like a Liane, you should try to avoid drafting a winger in the top 10. No long term value. Draft centers and D men and then flip them for help on the wing.

      • TD

        Boeser is a winger, obviously a top 10 talent if they redrafted. I get the importance of centres and d men, but elite players are elite regardless of where they play. Boeser has more goals and points than Laine so far. Quite a few more.

        • truthseeker

          right…Boeser’s a game changer. So he fits my argument. And come on dude…points yes, but BB has 3 more goals than Liane. That’s not “quite a few”. Liane is just a hair under a 40 goal pace. They are both amazing wingers.

          Elite players are elite regardless of where they play that is true. But then, all things being equal, an elite center or D is better to have than an elite winger.

  • NorthernBClife

    I think Joulevi will be fine, I see an Ohlund/Salo type solid rock on D. Not an allstar but a core mobile Defenceman who will eat up tonnes of minutes in all situations. 2018 Draft looks to be a few high end offensive Defenceman available in the top 10.

  • Regarding Juolevi, Craig Button says be patient. That’s good advice, however there is reason for concern, as I wrote several days ago. Salo says he’s a long way away. Juolevi is in his third World Juniors. The first was good and the second not so good. He followed this up with a poor showing at training camp. There’s also this: Eight of the top ten drafted in 2016 are playing in the big show. Only Olie and one other are not. (I think it’s Nylander)

    So, be patient is good advice, but it’s hard not to be a little envious and concerned.

    • Dirty30

      While it might not be the reply anyone wants to hear, very few players on the Canucks are playing at a level where any one of the other draft picks would have made a big difference this season … or next.

      And one good pick isn’t going to change the long, long history of bad drafts and trades that got the team here.

      I hope JB can trade a few guys, take on some bad contracts — rather than offering them — and draft, draft, draft back into contention. It’s going to be a long road.

      It’s not just that this team didn’t progress it’s that other teams did so in leaps and bounds… well, except the Oilers … and it’s going to take patience and good management to make a solid change.

  • TheRealPB

    I still think people are getting bent out of shape over Juolevi way too soon. Jake Bean hasn’t played a minute in a pro league but I’m sure the Canes aren’t too worried about it. I get that Sergachev looks (and is) great, but his totals are also helped by playing with one of the best teams in the NHL. Juolevi is holding his own in a men’s league on a team that’s going through the growing pains of a transition from an older roster to a younger one (sound familiar), where he and Palmu are part of a pretty good youth movement. McAvoy also looks great but again these are early days and we’re talking about teenagers here. I think people get too up (or down) about prospects from the WJC or other international tournaments. It’s better to look at the longer record from play on the regular teams. It’s too soon to have buyers remorse when you don’t know how they’ll really turn out. And yes, Salo said that Juolevi needs work on his defensive awareness before making it to the NHL but he also said in the same quote that he saw him as a #2 or #3 defenseman. Of that draft you’ve got maybe 6 or 7 players with that kind of potential; some at the top end of the draft, others like Mete from much lower on. I think he still shows a great deal of potential and we just need to be patient as so many have said.