It’s been another tough week in Canuckland but we saw the Vancouver Canucks back on the ice this past Sunday. It’s time for another Monday mailbag.
I’m covering for David Quadrelli this week as he was in attendance for the return game on Sunday.
Let’s just get right into it and see what the great people of Canucks Twitter asked this week!
How many players out of all the Canucks prospects do you see making the big club next season?
— Ryan (@HockeyHugs10) April 18, 2021
There are definitely multiple prospects that will play games for the Vancouver Canucks next season. I’ll break it into a few different classes of my confidence in them playing next season.
There’s a good chance that Vasily Podkolzin, Jack Rathbone and Kole Lind are all ready to make the jump to the NHL as early as training camp next season.
Podkolzin will make the biggest immediate impact on the team as he will be able to slide into a middle-six role on day one. Rathbone is a real boom or bust type of prospect, he can move the puck very well and skates like a modern-day NHL defenceman. I’m confident he has the right skills to be an NHL defenceman but the question will be if he can be a top-four defenceman.
Rathbone plays a similar style to Quinn Hughes with a few tweaks in their strengths. Rathbone looks like he has the potential to be a better defender, have a better shot and be a better breakout passer. Hughes does almost everything else better. If Rathbone hits his top potential, he and Hughes could be an amazing left side in the Canucks’ top-four pairings.
Lind could push for a bottom-six role as soon as this season. If he gets a few games in and fits in with the pace of the NHL in a handful of games, he will have taken a big step up toward becoming a full-time NHLer next season. His game is a tough one to predict because he was a prolific scorer in junior then changed his game at the AHL level and will not have to make another big jump in competition to be an NHLer. I wonder what his game will be like at the NHL because right now, he could be anything from a fourth-line centre, to a power play contributing middle-six winger.
A handful of games or so:
Next season, we could see a handful of games from Jonah Gadjovich, Mikey DiPietro, and Aidan McDonough.
Gadjovich is scoring at will this year and appears to deserve a shot at the NHL next season to prove himself.
DiPietro should push to be the backup in a similar way that Thatcher Demko did in early 2019.
McDonough will finish up his junior season next year and if he takes another jump in development, the Canucks could sign him after his season is over and get a look at him in the NHL.
It’s not likely, but there is a world where Jett Woo, Will Lockwood and Carson Focht get into a few games next season.
Lockwood looks like the readiest at today’s current date. He could make a push as an energy fourth-line winger in the near future and it wouldn’t shock me to see it happen in the 2021-22 season.
Focht (C) and Woo (RD) would only get calls if the players at their positions ahead of them on the depth chart were destroyed by injuries. These two have impressed this season in the AHL but have a long way to go before being NHL regulars.
Do you think Benning has his job after this season?
— kwïn hüz /blm/ (@riotsurvivor) April 18, 2021
Yes I do.
Jim Benning and Francesco Aquilini are in this together and Aquilini obviously believes in Benning’s plan.
Benning will get another chance because of COVID-19. He has to make the playoffs next year otherwise that’s the end.
If the Canucks move their AHL team to BC, which arena do you think they'll play in?
— Jason (@JasonTrejoRisky) April 18, 2021
The easy answer would be the Langley Event Centre. It’s a great rink that is pretty new and is surrounded by families that can access the arena through public transit or a short commute.
I think it’s a slam dunk to have the Canucks’ AHL team at the LEC. I do live 15 minutes away so I could be biased.
Kelowna could be an option as well. The city is a hockey hotbed and Prospera Arena is good enough to host an AHL team.
If the Comets move from Utica, my gut tells me that they will be moving somewhere on the American west coast to compete in the AHL’s pacific division.
Who is the worst Mark in Noox l’histoire?
Crawford or Messier or Donnelly??
— Ten Zowie (@TenZowie) April 18, 2021
It’s always Mess.
What #Canucks prospect playing overseas, not named Podkolzin has impressed you the most this year?
— venndiagram (@dougvenn) April 18, 2021
I really like the offensive potential in Viktor Persson’s game. I think he skates very well and has offensive instincts that pop off the screen.
As a right-shot offensive-minded defenceman, he is one of the premium position prospects and I love that the Canucks took a swing on him in the seventh round.
Now that Wendy's has a strawberry Frosty what flavor should they do next ? I vote for Cherry
— phil verret (@BasketballPhil) April 18, 2021
Call me crazy, or call me a genius.
An A&W-Wendy’s merger to make a root beer frosty. We all loved root beer floats as a kid and the root beer frosty could be a bigger game-changer than Vasily Podkolzin.
Thanks for coming by for another Monday Mailbag! Dave will be back next Monday to answer all your questions.
Keep your eyes out for the call for questions every Sunday on Quads’ Twitter account.