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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: The 2021 Calder Trophy, Tryamkin talk, and a side of sourdough

Another week, another mailbag.

After Quadrelli went on and on about goaltenders last week, I vow to not talk about those pillow carriers at all in this article.

That’s right, I’m covering for Dave as he is probably busy getting gunned out of the air by Adam Gaudette in Call of Duty again.

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I always have a blast covering for Dave on these Monday Mailbags because you never really know what you’re going to get for questions.

So let’s see what the wonderful people on Twitter asked this week!

I’ll give you three names that I think could be fighting for the Calder Trophy in 2021.

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Kirill Kaprizov is the front runner, as he is coming off of a KHL season that saw him lead the league in goals. He scored 33 goals in 57 games and added 29 assists to be over a point per game in arguably the second-best professional league in the world.

He’s not the typical rookie as he will be turning 24-years-old during the 2020-21 season, but it’s hard to imagine that he will not be an instant impact scorer in the Minnesota Wild’s top six and he will get a ton of power play time to showcase his shot.

Alexis Lafreniere and Quinton Byfield should be in the mix if they are able to translate their dominance to the NHL level. I think both will get a good chunk of ice time and Byfield may surprise some people with how quickly his raw physical abilities could translate to success at the professional level.

I like Bowen Byram a lot and he should be a full-time player for the Colorado Avalanche this coming season. He likely won’t get much time on the power play with Cale Makar and Sam Girard being there so that could limit his point production a bit. He was electric with the Vancouver Giants last season and I think he will be a force on that scary looking Avalanche team for years to come.

Low key, I think Owen Tippett could score a lot of goals if he is put in a top-six role with some power play time as well.

To stay in Vancouver, the best bet is Nils Höglander and he is not likely to be in the mix unless he were to somehow work his way on the first line with Elias Pettersson. This is some very optimistic thinking but he is a creative Swedish player who thinks the game at an elite level. It’s very unlikely, but he is the Canucks best bet for another rookie push for the Calder Trophy.

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My money is on Kaprizov. We may see a 24-year-old Calder Trophy winner this season.

Multigrain all day.

Sourdough bread is fine once in a blue moon, but I’ll have some good multigrain bread with good jam at least three times a week to go with my coffee.

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I’ll start with Vasili Podkolzin.

I think when he arrives it will be late in the season and the Canucks will unfortunately not be able to use him in a playoff run due to his timing on when he comes over to North America. That makes things tough for the coaching staff to decide what to do with him. He could really help a third line play some good two-way hockey and maybe even get time on Bo Horvat’s line. The Canucks will want to have their playoff roster players getting reps in so his deployment could depend on where they are in the standings.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Podkolzin start on a fourth line this season but coming into the 2021-22 season, he should be alongside Horvat and that duo will be the core of the Canucks’ second line for the next handful of years.

Nils Höglander’s situation is much different as he is able to come to North America on December 13th. As far as I know, the Federal Quarantine Act involves a two-week quarantine for those entering Canada. The earliest he can report to training camp is the 27th of December. With the NHL aiming for January 1st as a start date, a delay to the season would aid Höglander’s chances of making the team. I’m looking into this situation more to get clarity on it.

He could slot into any of the lines on the Canucks, from first to fourth if he looks good enough. I think there are a few things he needs to get better at before being in the top six but there’s no reason to believe that he couldn’t hop into the Canucks’ bottom six right now. He is physical enough, committed in the defensive zone, and he’s one of the top possession drivers in the SHL this season.

On top of all that, Höglander is a better power play option than players like Brandon Sutter and Antoine Roussel. He would be an instant upgrade to the second unit.

Again, the 2021-22 season will be when we can really see how much of an impact Höglander and Podkolzin can really be. This coming season will likely only be a quick taste of the top two prospects in the Canucks’ system.

There were some positives out of the Nikita Tryamkin camp before he decided to sign in the KHL earlier this fall.

He signed a one-year deal in the KHL so the door is open for him to attempt another go with the Canucks for the 2021-22 season. He’s in a good spot with his KHL team right now and the Canucks organization may just be in his rear-view mirror now. He’s got a good relationship with his coach Bill Peters and is acting as the captain of his team with Pavel Datsyuk currently out of game action for the time being.

He might be able to boost the blue line, from my viewings this year he definitely looks like he has improved as a player. He’s scoring goals, playing top pair minutes and being pretty damn effective on the penalty kill.

There are a lot of defencemen already fighting for the third pairing job but with Jordie Benn’s contract ending after this season, it does open up another chance for Tryamkin to make an impact on this team.

I’ll leave it at this…

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Ok, we will close out with a trio.

First off, I think that Vasili Podkolzin will make the most impact over the next two seasons. He should be on Horvat’s line for the beginning of the 2021-22 season and he will be an excellent play driver who is defensively responsible and can drive the net to create offence.

As for Micheal Ferland, I think he will show up to camp and try, but one more setback should mean that he will either ride out LTIR or just retire. It’s an unfortunate situation but his health should be the main priority. It’s really unknown though, he could make a full recovery and be an impact player for the Canucks. If not, I sure hope he can be as healthy as possible away from hockey.

With Horvat as the captain, I’ve always thought that Elias Pettersson should have an “A” on his chest. It’s a no brainer.

As for two other options, Quinn Hughes and JT Miller make a lot of sense from what they bring on the ice. As long as Alex Edler is a Canuck he should have an “A” on his chest so, after Sutter leaves, my choice would be Miller if Edler were to stay.

Thanks for reading this week’s mailbag. Be sure to follow Quadrelli on Twitter and keep an eye out for his weekly call for questions.

He will see you next week!