Where the Canucks prospects will be: Finland and Sweden

Canucks fans have had a close eye on the SHL and Liiga over the last few years with players like Elias Pettersson, Olli Juolevi, and Petrus Palmu playing there.

This season will see the Canucks have a handful of players from the organization looking to build on what they built this season.

In case you missed it, we took a look at the prospects in the organization that will be playing in the CHL next season here and then the prospects in the NCAA here.

Let’s dive in look at the prospects that will be playing in Sweden and Finland for 2019-20.

Nils Hoglander

The headliner of this group is 2019 40th overall selection Nils Hoglander.

The tenacious winger appeared in 50 games for Rogle BK last season and is expected to get a bigger role for them next season.

He primarily played a third line role for them last year but could see that role elevated and will be surrounded by more depth within the forward ranks.

They will look to get above .500 next season and work their way up the standings.

Hoglander is a legit contender to represent Sweden at the World Juniors this winter. You could argue that he should’ve been there this past year but a very poor performance in the exhibition games leading up to the event led to him not making the final roster.

He is participating World Junior Summer Showcase later this month before heading back to Sweden to play the 2019-20 season with Rogle. Hoglander is entering the second year of a three year deal that he signed in June 2018.

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Arvid Costmar

Taken with the 215th overall selection last month, Arvid Costmar will look to his way into the SHL this season.

Costmar spent most of last season with Linkoping’s U20 team in the SuperElit but was able to get 4 games with the SHL club.

The 5’11” and 181 lbs centre battled some injuries in the second half of the season but still produced well in the SuperElit.

He isn’t expected to be considered for the World Juniors this year, as evidenced by him not being included in the Summer Showcase, but there is a chance he works himself into the conversation for 2021 as a depth player. He has been a regular for Sweden over his developmental years.

For Costmar, it’s about getting himself into the SHL and then working himself into getting regular minutes.

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Linus Karlsson

Acquired at the 2018 trade deadline, Linus Karlsson will head back to Karlskrona HK in the Allsvenskan.

Primarily as their third line centre, he was able to be a regular for them last season, which is where I would expect him to land again this year.

Karlsson’s skating is the one thing that will hold him back from taking a step forward.  If he can just add that one more step to his skating, it would allow him to be more effective in getting to loose pucks and also taking advantage of the space that his opponents afford him.

Karlsson is not eligible to play for Sweden at the World Juniors this December as he turns 20 in November.

Toni Utunen

The only defenceman of this group is Toni Utunen.

Utunen saw his stock rise this season as he was a regular in the Liiga and played well for Finland at the World Juniors, which included the overtime winning goal against Canada.

The left-handed defender isn’t really known for his offensive game and thus we shouldn’t expect a lot of production out of him next season. But we can expect his role with Tappara to grow as he takes on more minutes as a 19-year-old. He got better as the season went along last year and should be able to push himself out of the 6th or 7th defenceman spot and into the 4th or 5th slot.

Utunen is eligible to represent Finland at the World Juniors this winter and should be considered a lock as a bottom four guy for them. He will represent them at the Summer Showcase at the end of the month.

Tappara will play in the Champions Hockey League this year and thus we should see Utunen suit up for them in their first game on August 29th.

  • J-Canuck

    One of the great things about Canucks having Miller and Ferland for the next four years is that wingers like Nils won’t be rushed to the NHL and 1st rounder V.P an wait and develop in KHL

    • Defenceman Factory

      Another thing I hope comes true is after 2 or 3 years one or both of these guys can be traded for a decent return to make the room for Podzolkin and/or another winger once their ready.

      Ferland and Miller won’t be 30 and if they perform well their trades will help the prospect cupboard stay stocked. Less optimistic about Myers generating much return in 2 or 3 years.

      • Cageyvet

        The age of both of these forward acquisitions has been highly under-rated by the JB naysayers. Proven vets who aren’t yet over-the-hill, especially guys with size who don’t mind the boardwork, are still coveted by playoff contenders. Having the balls to move them to someone else before their value declines is another story. If your team is pushing for a playoff run of any note, the kids have to be special to give you the confidence you’re not blowing that year’s playoffs. The safer play is moving them in the off-season, but you’ll get a lower return.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Suggestion? Maybe the Canucks/Comets management need to hire some sort of Euro consultant to help young players from Europe make the transition to North American hockey specifically the AHL. If what happened to Palmu and Dahlen are indications of what can take place a good organization cannot allow potential to be waisted like it may have been last year. Just a thought.