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Photo Credit: Ben Nelms /PNG Merlin Archive

Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning talked a lot about Nils Hoglander today, and for good reason

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning met with the media for just under 30 minutes on Monday morning and he said a whole lot of nothing.

A few of the tidbits that came out were regarding how they will be approaching the upcoming NHL draft and what’s the latest on their UFAs. The one thing that stuck out to me was how much he mentioned one of the Canucks top two prospects, Nils Höglander.

Benning was asked about how the team can deal with the flat cap and he mentioned that there are young players that are going to step in on ELC’s and contribute to the team.

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“Olli Juolevi looks like he’s ready to play, Jalen Chatfield looks like he’s ready to play. We have Jack Rathbone who looks ready to push for a spot. Up front we have Nils Höglander who is going to come to camp and he could make the team.”

This wasn’t the only time that Benning brought up Höglander’s name.

He was not asked a question about Höglander but did mention him three times in the 27 minute zoom call. He said that Höglander is a player who could make the team this Winter after training camp.

Höglander is off to a great start in his SHL season. He has four assists in four games and is playing a very sound defensive game on top of that.

To speak to his defensive game, I have been tracking his team’s attempted shots for and against while Höglander is on the ice.

Through four games, Höglander has been on the ice for 48 attempted shots and only 20 attempted shots against. Attempted shots is also known as Corsi for. Right now, Höglander’s Corsi for percentage is sitting at 70.6%.

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He is strong on the forecheck and looks ready for a jump to a higher level of hockey. Craig Button of TSN told me earlier this week that he believes Höglander is ready for the NHL right now.

Benning was not asked about Höglander specifically on one question but his brain immediately went to the Swedish prospect when asked about how to battle the flat cap and other roster concerns. With players like Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson about to sign big extensions — the Canucks will have to have young players coming in on cheap entry level contracts to help reduce stress on the salary cap.

The Canucks are very high on Nils Höglander, as they should be.

With every passing week, I am more confident that he will be on the Canucks roster in December.

Today’s media availability with Jim Benning strengthened my belief that we will see Höglander in a blue and green jersey for the start of the 2020-21 NHL season.