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