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Photo Credit: Kamloops Blazers

CanucksArmy 2020 Vancouver Canucks prospect rankings: #13 Viktor Persson

A right-shot defenceman who is big, strong, offensively gifted and was picked in the last round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Coming in at number 13 in our rankings is Viktor Persson.

The early returns from the 2020 NHL draft are showing that the Canucks hit a homerun with their late-round picks.

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Since being drafted, Persson has been playing at another level. He has been scoring some highlight goals and playing with a ton more confidence. This has resulted in him now being on the radar for Sweden’s U20 team.

Persson turns 19 on November 7th and this will be his final year of eligibility for the World Junior Championships. If he continues to trend upwards, he could end up finding himself in Edmonton this Winter. No matter the case, he will be reporting to the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in January. This is a great spot for him to develop and Canucks fans and management will be able to monitor his development with a close eye as a result.

The best part of Persson’s game is his offensive instincts. He has a good enough shot to beat goaltenders in his age group and works the powerplay quarterback position with ease. He keeps the puck moving around and fits in well in any part of the offensive zone. This is great to see because he is able to score from both half walls and if given enough space can fire off a very accurate slap shot from the top of the zone.

It’s great to see that Persson is eager to come over to North America. If he is able to have a couple of first-class seasons of production with the Blazers, he will be another step closer to playing for the Utica Comets. I spoke about his path to the AHL in a recent article but I will double down on it here.

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It will be an interesting situation after he plays a couple of years in the WHL. He could always go back to Sweden, but if he has a good CHL career, he could end up with the Utica Comets for the 2022-23 season.

Though he is a long way away from being an NHL player, he is taking all the right steps to become one.

The fact that he is a right-shot offensive defenceman with size who can skate is enough to have him at number 13 on our rankings. If he is able to come into the WHL and play well, he is sure to rise into the top ten for next year’s rankings.

A flattering showing at the World Junior Championships would definitely boost his stock as he makes the transition to the WHL.

The defensive game is lacking compared to the offensive and physical abilities. He does need to make some better decisions on when to pinch and how long to pinch for. These should be coached into him during his WHL career and his decision to come play in the WHL will pay off for his long term goal of being a professional player in North America. His physical game should fit right into the WHL as well. He is not shy when it comes to attempting massive open-ice hits. If he catches a streaking winger with his head down, he will pounce at the opportunity to throw a big check.

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He fits the need that the Canucks organization has for right-shot defencemen and in my eyes was the perfect seventh-round pick. I’m very excited to follow his development over the next couple of years and expect to see him pushing for a spot in the AHL for the 2022-23 season.

It would not shock me to see him crack the top ten in our rankings as soon as next year. The Canucks appear to have hit a grand slam with this seventh-round selection.