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Axel Sandin Pellika is an offence-first defenceman who the Canucks might draft at 11th

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Photo credit:NHL.com
David Quadrelli
1 year ago
Welcome to a new draft series here at CanucksArmy where we examine which draft-eligible prospects will be available to the Vancouver Canucks at 11th overall. In years past, we’ve done a full prospect ranking from 1-50, but this year, we’re going to zero in on the prospects that may be available to the Canucks where they actually draft. In this particular series, we’ll be focusing on players who the club might draft at 11th overall.
Today, we’re starting with Axel Sandin Pellika.
Who
Axel Sandin Pellika is a right shot defenceman currently playing with Skelleftea AIK of the SHL in his home country of Sweden. He’s 5’11 and weighs 176 pounds according to HockeyDB. So yes, not really an imposing player.
This past season, he played 31 games in the J20 league and 22 games in the SHL. The offence-first defenceman tallied 16 goals and 20 assists through 31 games played in the J20 league, and two goals and three assists through 22 games at the SHL level. Obviously, the drop off in point totals when playing with men is a bit concerning at first glance, but let’s dive into what the scouts are saying about Sandin Pellika’s game.
What the scouts are saying
Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff: “Pellikka fell in my rankings, but not really due to poor performance or anything. It’s just that I like the forward options more. He was a feral beast at the U-20 level, but much more reserved against men in the SHL. If he can unlock a bit more of that intensity with Skelleftea next season, that’ll be awesome.”
Craig Button, TSN: “He’s the best defenceman in the draft. And he’s just continuously showed me that. I watch the poise, the ability to control the game in every single zone, and seemingly do it with a calm and an ease that is eerily reminiscent of [Hockey Hall of Famer] Sergei Zubov. He’s not going to overwhelm you with his blazing skill or any blazing quality, but his brain is advanced, massively.”
Nick Richard, Dobber ProspectsMobile, offensive-minded blueliner who likes to activate into the offensive zone. Plays with energy on both sides of the puck and has the potential to become a top-four defenseman in the NHL.
Per the Hockey News, Sandin Pellika said this about his own game:
“Obviously Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes are extremely skilled. But my comparable would probably be Nils Lundkvist — I’ve heard that from scouts and coaches, so I try to play like him, too.”
Rankings (per Elite Prospects)
Ranked as low as 18 by some outlets, these rankings suggest that it may turn out to be a reach for the Canucks to take ASP at 11th overall. *shutters in Olli Juolevi*
Conclusion
As an undersized offence-first defenceman, our gut reaction is to think long and hard as to whether or not ASP is truly the best player available for the Canucks at 11th. If there’s even a sliver of doubt, it may be wise to pass on him and go BPA rather than simply drafting a player because they’re a right shot D-Man — an undeniable position of need for the Canucks.
What would your reaction be to the Canucks drafting Axel Sandin Pellika? Let us know in the comments section below!

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