Captaining the second-ranked team in this tournament will be the job of Vancouver Canucks top prospect Vasili Podkolzin.
We’ve been following the Podkolzin situation for a couple of years now and this tournament is the big reveal that scouts and fans alike have been waiting for. It’s Podkolzin’s third go at the World Junior Championships and he is primed to lead Russia on a quest for gold.
Podkolzin will be one of the best forwards in this tournament, full stop. His strength and willingness to go to the dirty areas will be on full display these next couple of weeks. Not only will Podkolzin be tallying up points, but he’ll also show off just how good he is with the work he does away from the puck. There’s so much to like about this kid with how he helps create offensive breakouts or carries the puck between the blue lines.
His game isn’t a flashy one, he just takes to the ice and moves the puck in the right direction on every shift. His forechecking will be something that Canucks fans enjoy as his work on the boards will gain possession of the puck a lot throughout the tournament. He will be playing on the first line while also seeing time with both special teams units.
Already in pre-tournament play, we are seeing Podkolzin make a positive impact for his team. That’s him diving out to block the shot, by the way.
Podkolzin is one of the most well-rounded 200-foot players in the WJC. He may not have the flash that some young players will showcase in this two-week dash for a gold medal, but he will surprise with his power moves to the net that we should see each game.
At 6’1″, 195 lbs, he is one of the strongest players in this tournament and that will show as he continues to get involved physically and engages in board battles against fellow U20 players.
This is his time to shine and for Canucks fans, it’s about time to see a spotlight shine down on their 2019 1st Round Pick.
Friday, December 25th at 6:30pm vs United States
Sunday, December 27th at 6:30pm vs Czech Republic
Tuesday, December 29th at 6:30pm vs Austria
Wednesday, December 30th at 6:30pm vs Sweden (and Arvid Costmar)
Expectations are high and they should be. A lot of scouts and those around the WJC have projected that Vasili Podkolzin would be one of the top forwards in this tournament. If he were to carry his team in some individual games, there is potential for him to go home as the tournament MVP.
He is playing in the KHL, coming off of winning the Karjala Cup with his U20 team and many believe this is now the time for him to break out of the chains that limit his scoring ability. Now being used in a first-line role, it’s no longer a fourth-line mentality for him. He should be confident in his abilities and try to carry the puck through defenders instead of being told to dump the puck to the boards and go for a line change.
Podkolzin is ready and Canucks fans’ expectations should be high.
A bad tournament would be below standards for both Russia and Podkolzin. I’m not expecting to see a drop in his game and those two matchups against Austria and Czech Republic should be a time for him to explode offensively. Playing against the United States and Sweden, he should be the best player on the ice and needs to be aware of that to begin taking over games.
This is his showcase tournament to get Canucks fans excited for the 2021-22 season.
Here at CanucksArmy, we will strive to bring you the best coverage on both the Canucks prospects as the tournament goes on.