0
Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: No more shutdown defence pairings, Klimovich’s rising stock, and thoughts on Poolman’s play

The season is officially on!

The Vancouver Canucks played three games in four nights with travel to begin the season. They now finish up the road trip with games against Buffalo, Chicago and Seattle.

We have seen some interesting line combinations, a tall guy become a giant fan favourite, and still await the return of Brock Boeser.

Its always a good time for a Monday mailbag and that will be the case today. Let’s see what the great people of Twitter had to ask this week.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I’m hearing that the broadcast team will be announced next week. Currently, there is no radio broadcast for the Abbotsford Canucks. They are only available on AHLtv and if that is the case for the whole season, that’s a mistake on the organization. The Abbotsford Canucks needs to draw in as much good press and new fans as possible. Having a radio broadcast is a big part of that.

On top of the presence of a radio broadcast, they need to make sure that it is not bad reception like it is for those in the Fraser Valley when they listen to Sportsnet 650.

I’m expecting an announcement for the AHLtv broadcast this week but I haven’t heard anything in terms of a radio broadcast.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The pairings will surely move around as the season goes on but I’ve been impressed with all three of the duos so far. As for who will be the shutdown pairing, I don’t believe there will be one at all. With Quinn Hughes and Tucker Poolman being the duo that draws the toughest matchups, I believe Travis Green is not trying to “shutdown” the opposition’s top lines. Instead, he’s trying to outscore them.

We’ve seen the Elias Pettersson line play against top lines throughout the first three games of the season and I believe that’s also the case for the defence. The top even-strength pairing may continue to match up against other teams’ top lines. Some teams can’t put together a shutdown pairing and without Travis Hamonic, Green has had to adjust and so far, so good.

If/When Hamonic returns, we might see a combination of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Hamonic together as a matchup pairing but the duo of Tyler Myers and OEL has actually looked much better than expected. Green may want to run with that and slot Hamonic in with Jack Rathbone. We will have to wait and see what happens with Hamonic.

I really enjoyed seeing him fire home his first NHL goal the other night. He’s not a guy who is going to do that often, so, to see it so early in the season was a sight I enjoyed. Aside from that, his defensive awareness has been impressive. He clearly knows when to help a defenceman in his own zone and as expected, he is doing a great job of simply getting the puck over his own blue line and forcing the opposition to re-enter the zone.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I haven’t liked his intensity.

On his goal celebration, that was intensity. I’ve watched this kid play a hell of a lot of hockey over the past two years and he is at his best when there is something on the line. He’s great in the third periods of tight games, he’s a beast for Russia when he represents his country, or when he goes Super Saiyan when he’s in the KHL playoffs.

Right now, it just feels like he’s wading his way into the NHL pool. He looks like an NHL player, that’s the good thing. It just seems like with more effort he will become a quality NHL player. Green has noted that Podkolzin needs to be moving his feet to be effective and he’s bang-on. Podkolzin has such a smart hockey mind that even when he’s running around like a chicken with its head cut off, he is doing it with strong defensive positioning.

There is going to need to be a spark for him.

Potentially playing on a line with Nils Höglander, Conor Garland, or Tyler Motte is going to be that spark.

These three players drag you into the fight and right now it looks like Podkolzin is going to need some assistance to be invested in the battle. He is playing fine but there’s so much more in his game and once he gets out of first-gear, he’s going to be a menace to the opposition. The season is still very early so there is no reason to worry.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

He’s scored a goal in each of his two AHL games. Danila Klimovich is definitely impressing when it comes to his goal-scoring ability.

It’s clear that there is offensive potential in his game and he’s showing that the potential we are excited about is already beginning to show. He’s confident with the puck and has shown that though his shot is the most impressive part of his game, his hands are pretty slick too. Klimovich is getting power play time and moved up to the top unit when Will Lockwood went down with an injury on Sunday night.

He’s got the stats to be excited about but by no means is he dominating the AHL. There have been a couple of periods this season where I haven’t even noticed him on the ice. When he’s skating hard, possessing the puck and getting shots off, he’s a very loud player. The early takeaway I’m getting from his small sample size is that he needs to be set up to get going. He can create offence once the puck is on his stick in the offensive zone but he’s not the type to gain possession on his own and skate the puck up the ice. Klimovich looks to be the first forward to break the zone and that’s going to get him goals but also going to get some stern talking-to’s through Google Translate from Abbotsford head coach Trent Cull.

Overall, I’ve been impressed with Klimovich. You all know that I love watching prospects and getting excited about when we are seeing them score overseas, the CHL or in the NCAA. This 19-year-old kid is scoring goals at the AHL level and that needs to be something to celebrate. He was looked at as a bit of a reach in the draft but so far is living up to expectations and then some.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Klimovich has a lot of work to do in the defensive and neutral zone to get to the NHL but he’s on the right track with the organization having him in the AHL and being this close to the NHL operations. They are doing the right thing with this kid. If he can consistently score in the AHL, he deserves to be here and not in the QMJHL as we very much expected.

Abbotsford is getting their star and he will be landing this coming weekend for the home opener.

I started by writing about my local University hockey team. There are definitely some VIU Mariners articles out there with my name on them.

Take criticism and read comments while staying true to what you want to deliver as content. Almost everyone wants you to be a good writer, so listen to what they have to say.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I’m not sure if it’s the best software but it’s free. Audacity does the trick.

It was so much fun. Getting to interact with a live text inbox and bring on callers was amazing. Doing it all alongside Quads and being able to make fun of him was the icing on top. The show couldn’t have gone much better for us.

We don’t have a weekly guest yet. We’re going to roll through a couple of options and since we had a blast with callers, we will look to do more of that as the weeks go on.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Three games is a bit early.

I’ve got to give them credit though, both have looked very good in a top four role.

OEL looks like he’s cracked the Myers code.

Well, that wraps it all up for this week’s mailbag. Thanks as always for sending in questions on Twitter. Be sure to keep an eye out for the call for questions every Sunday afternoon. We will see you next Monday with a bunch more to talk about.

You’ve got to love the regular season!

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below