7 questions for 7 players ahead of the Abbotsford Canucks’ first playoff home game
7 months ago
Puck drop is mere hours away, and CanucksArmy will have you covered with Faber at the rink and a Farmies™ post-game report.
But, first! Let’s quickly get into five questions surrounding key players to watch ahead of the Abbotsford Canucks first home playoff dates in franchise history!
How will Danila Klimovich fare in his first taste of playoff action?
We all remember how Klimovich’s 2021-22 post-season went. That is to say; it didn’t, because he sat out as a healthy scratch following a string of uninspired performances under former head coach Trent Cull. After a promising sophomore season in which Klimovich’s game did a complete turnaround under new bench boss Jeremey Colliton, it’ll be curious to see how he does when the stakes are elevated.
Klimovich saw his best hockey on a line with Arshdeep Bains, and while he struggled during the back half of the season away from Bains, his two-way game has rebounded very well with Aatu Räty as his center. Klimovich rides into playoffs on a four-game goalscoring streak, finishing 6th in U20 scoring in the AHL.
Can he find his scoring touch when the chips are down?
Will Christian Wolanin be the difference-maker?
This is wild to think about.
Christian Wolanin missed the final 23 games of the season on a stint with the Vancouver Canucks. He performed so well that he earned a Patrik Allvin patented “two-year two-way extension™.”
With 23 games in hand, the next closest producer on the team, Linus Karlsson, still came up six points shy of Wolanin’s 55 points in 49 games marker.
It was absurd production!
Against the Bakersfield Condors, Wolanin led all Abbotsford skaters with a goal and 4 assists. Linus Karlsson was second in scoring against Bakersfield with a goal and 3 assists.
Should he return to the same form he had before his cup of coffee in Vancouver, can Wolanin be the straw that breaks the Condors’ back?
Will Vinny Arseneau set a franchise record for PIMs in a playoff series?
This question is in jest. The Canucks are so loaded up front that there is a good chance that the Big Man from Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine doesn’t play a game for Abbotsford.
He should, though!
Believe it or not, the journeyman tough-guy leads Abbotsford in goals scored against Bakersfield, with 2 over 4 games. Though he’s not known for his goalscoring pedigree, it is worth noting that every time Arseneau picked up a point against Bakersfield (three total), the Abbotsford Canucks won!
Is Jett Woo for real?
For much of this season, Jett Woo looked like an outsider with an unlikely shot at a contract extension. Though Woo’s first 57 games, he scored at a 0.20 points per game pace with just 2 goals and 9 assists.
Then, Woo’s production took off like a rocket, producing 5 goals and 5 assists over the final 15 games of the regular season for a 0.70-points-per-game pace. Woo’s explosion to end the final year of his ELC garnered praise from Abby GM Ryan Johnson and a shoutout from Vancouver Canucks GM Patrik Allvin during his year-end availability with the media.
Is Woo’s late surge the real deal? Is it the product of his environment or from an increased role with the club? Is it from playing the final 15 games alongside Brady Keeper? Who knows, but if this production is for real, Abbotsford will have no shortage of output from the back end this post-season!
Can Nils Höglander make inroads for an NHL position next season?
Everyone knew the second Nils Höglander put on the number 36 again, he’d return to his high-energy, dynamic scoring ways! This playoff series won’t ruin the perception of any player. Still, a player like Höglander could put in serious groundwork in the organization’s eyes if he manages to light it up for Abbotsford.
Head coach Rick Tocchet and a host of Canucks executives are bound to watch Abbotsford’s playoff run. Given Tocchet’s experience milking excellent 5v5 performances from feisty, low-center-of-gravity forwards, could Höglander set himself up for the inside track toward an NHL job with his performance this post-season?
Can Arshdeep Bains enter cult status for Abbotsford players?
Arshdeep Bains has been a revelation for the Canucks development program. After a few healthy scratches during the first quarter of the season, Bains found his game and never looked back. Over 66 games, Bains quickly earned Colliton’s trust, landing him opportunities as a first-out penalty killer and recently on the team’s second power play unit. What more can the former Red Deer Rebel accomplish with an offseason training geared toward lower body strength and skating?
Bains finished the season tied with Linus Karlsson and veteran Kyle Rau with the second-most 5v5-points among skaters. His work rate on the forecheck, penalty killing, and impressive hockey IQ have led many (this writer included) to anticipate a cup of coffee with Vancouver as soon as next season.
The Surrey native has already generated buzz among the fanbase, but an impressive playoff run here could cement Bains as the franchise’s first true cult player. Can he do it?
How much DAWG will Tristen Nielsen have within him?
The last true offence-minded pest the Canucks organization had in its system was Kole Lind. Tristen Nielsen has embraced the pest role to a T in his sophomore season. An all-situations producer, Nielsen finished fourth in 5v5 scoring and fourth in goals. The Abbotsford Canucks lacked significant bite when they first took on the Condors in the playoffs last season.
Now that Nielsen has found his production touch at the AHL level, can he bring a bit of that DAWG with it to the playoffs?
Recent articles from Cody Severtson