Blackfish: Aidan McDonough’s future, the new and improved Danila Klimovich, and what’s next for Jonathan Lekkerimäki and Elias Pettersson
Photo credit:Nick Barden
By Faber21 days ago
Another week, another Blackfish Prospects Report article to fill you in on all the latest surrounding the Vancouver Canucks’ prospect pool.
We’ve got the latest from all across North America, as well as what’s going on in Europe, and even some close-to-home news with the AHL team.
There’s a lot to get to, so let’s dive right into the Blackfish report.
Aidan McDonough’s future with the Canucks
It was reported by Rick Dhaliwal of Donnie and Dhali that Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin was in Boston to visit with 23-year-old NCAA prospect, Aidan McDonough.
We heard similar positive thoughts on how the meeting between McDonough and the Canucks went.
McDonough is one of the elite forwards in the NCAA and his combination of good size and a strong shot gives him a legitimate chance to one day become an NHL-calibre player.
For this reason, McDonough’s next few months are very important when it comes to his future with the Canucks.
The kid will have his choice of NHL teams to sign with if he doesn’t end up making a deal with the team that drafted him in the seventh round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The team took a risk on the overage at the time and that level of belief in the player from the organization has not been something that McDonough has forgotten about.
Jack Rathbone was in a similar situation when he was coming out of college but the Canucks spending a draft pick on him helped make the decision for Rathbone to sign with the Canucks an easy one. Now, the professional path of Rathbone since signing that contract may be something that comes into the equation with McDonough. Rathbone and McDonough are great friends and have an active group chat with some other athletes.
This is where Ryan Johnson comes into play. Our understanding is that McDonough has a tremendous amount of respect for the Canucks’ assistant manager and that Johnson was one of the most supportive people in Canucks management when McDonough decided to return back to Northeastern for his fourth season.
We believe that though McDonough is leaning to sign with the Canucks, it’s not a done deal that he signs with the team that drafted him.
It’s still believable that we see McDonough in an Abbotsford Canucks jersey at some point this season and he would be a nice boost to a team heading into an AHL playoff run.
Adding this prospect to the organization helps for a variety of reasons and it’s good that Allvin went to visit the big winger. Let’s hope that Allvin’s plan was something that coincides with how McDonough views his future.
McDonough ended up having a goal and an assist in the 4-1 win over UCONN as the two Huskies teams battled at Fenway Park in an outdoor game that looked like a ton of fun.
Danila Klimovich and the Swedish House Mafia continue to stay hot in the AHL
We jokingly asked Vasily Podkolzin about Danila Klimovich having success ever since Podkolzin arrived in Abbotsford.
“Yeah, that’s on me,” said Podkolzin with a big smile and a couple of giggles. “70 games down here [in the AHL] and he struggled to score. Now with me [here], no.”
Podkolzin was joking around about being a good luck charm for Klimovich, who just turned 20 on Monday. But Podkolzin was serious in his praise for Klimovich and sees NHL potential if he can continue to work as he has been of late.
“I’m kidding,” said Podkolzin as he was laughing about being the reason for Klimovich’s success. “He’s a great player. He has a great shot. He should be a great player for this organization. If I need to help him, I always will. We are talking in our language because that was something that helped me as well. It’s a good thing. He has a really good shot. That’s the big thing for him. It’s a big plus for him and he uses it well. He’s just building his game and I’m sure he will get a chance in the NHL. He’s still pretty young but he’s played with old guys.”
Klimovich had a two point night on Friday and we caught up with him after the game to talk about his success over the past few weeks.
“I’m rebuilding my mind,” said Klimovich. “And coach told me, told me, told me and I think I thought, ‘yeah, I need to do it’. Then just something turned in my head and it just happened. Yeah… and I’m now playing better.”
He’s also been taking some advice from the Sedins, who have been spotted around Abbotsford a bit more now that the AHL team is back home after some road trips in December.
As for Podkolzin being a good luck charm, Klimovich doesn’t buy it.
“Maybe,” said Klimovich with a smirk. “It’s not about him being here. I’m just learning and learning a lot right now.”
The now 20-year-old has 15 points over his last 17 games and is finding a lot of chemistry with his linemates Chase Wouters and Arshdeep Bains — the trio was originally formed back in the summer at the Penticton Young Stars tournament.
In other AHL news, the trio of Nils Höglander, Nils Äman, and Linus Karlsson now has a nickname.
The Swedish House Mafia line has been as electric as the first word of EDM and have fans saying don’t you worry child about the prospect pool because the Swedish trio is going to save the world with what’s going on out in Abbotsford.
Karlsson has been in the AHL all season long and was putting up points before the Nils’s arrived. Karlsson is now up to 27 points in 33 games. He believes the chemistry is growing between these players and that he is having a great time on the farm with them as his linemates.
“We have played like four or five games together now and I feel like we have found some chemistry,” said Karlsson. “It’s really nice to have them here. they are really good players, both have played in the NHL. And yeah, we can try just to use our strengths — Nils Aman’s speed and Hog’s strong on the puck and can do whatever out there. It’s really nice to play with them.”
He later mentioned how helpful it is being able to just speak Swedish out loud to each other on the ice but also said they need to lock it into English when they are chatting with a defenceman. Karlsson also told us that Nils Höglander is the boss when it comes to all the fancy moves with the puck on the ice. He said that he learned the between-the-legs move that he scored on Saturday night from Höglander.
As for Höglander, who is in his first AHL stint after being an NHLer for two and a half seasons, he’s doing fine and enjoying having the puck on his stick a lot more. Höglander praised Abbotsford Canucks head coach Jeremy Colliton for the situations that he is giving Höglander so far in Abbotsford.
“He’s good,” said Höglander when asked about his coach. “He likes the way I play and lets me play my game too. So, I’m happy.”
The Swedish House Mafia line has been together for 6 games and has combined for 15 points through those six games.
Sweden always gets its own heading
Now that the World Juniors are behind us, Jonathan Lekkerimäki and Elias Pettersson have returned to their pro teams in Sweden.
Lekkerimäki’s Allsvenskan team is back into action on Wednesday and Pettersson’s SHL club returns to play on Thursday.
Both players are expected to hop right back into their spots in the lineup when they get back to play.
Lekkerimäki will likely go back with the young third line while Pettersson continues to work his way up the SHL depth chart.
Pettersson can take away a nice boost to his confidence as he was hovering around the ceiling of our expectations for him at the World Juniors. As for Lekkerimäki, he was quiet and saw some setbacks at the World Juniors but needs to stay healthy and dial it up in the Allsvenskan upon his return to the league.
Now onto right-shot defenceman Filip Johansson.
He scored an SHL goal on Thursday.
The 22-year-old is now up to four goals and eight assists in 32 SHL games. That’s sixth in scoring out of all U25 defencemen in the SHL.
Lucas Forsell cooled down a bit as he went pointless in his three SHL games this week. The 19-year-old was stunning in his return to the SHL and now looks to be holding onto a roster spot with the big club.
Odds and ends
Daimon Gardner is now up to 11 points in 12 USHL games. He scored a goal last week.
Connor Lockhart seems to be back to his scoring ways as he had two goals and two assists in three games this past week. Lockhart now has 17 points in his last seven games.
Sticking in the OHL, Kirill Kudryavtsev is still throwing up points. He had two assists on Sunday in a big 6-3 win over the London Knights.
Jacob Truscott put up an assist in a big 2-1 win over rival Michigan State.
20-year-old defenceman Joni Jurmo scored another Liiga goal on Wednesday. He now has four goals and five assists through 34 games — that’s sixth in the league for scoring from a defenceman who is under 21.
Goaltender Arturs Silovs had a strong week in the AHL. The 21-year-old netminder had two starts and only allowed three goals on 66 shots — that’s a 0.955% save percentage.
That wraps up another Blackfish Canucks Prospects Report here at CanucksArmy we will be back next week to fill you in on everything that happens in the world of Canucks prospects over the upcoming seven days.
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