Blackfish: Aku Koskenvuo’s rising stock for the World Juniors, Arturs Silovs is the AHL starter, and Linus Karlsson continue to trend upwards in Abbotsford
Photo credit:Nick Barden
By Faber1 year ago
Sometimes covering prospects is a nice escape.
Winning doesn’t matter as much, it’s fun hockey, and there’s excitement whenever a prospect makes a nice play or scores a goal.
The Canucks prospect pool may not have had the best week we’ve seen this season but there were a few performances that drew excitement. We will have a look into the world of Canucks prospects and show you some clips of what we saw this past week.
Let’s dive into the Blackfish Prospect Report, recapping the week that was for Canucks prospects!
3 Guys at the 5-Nations
The past week saw the 5-Nations tournament take place in Czechia. The name of the tournament did not describe the play well as there were three nations there, with two nations having two teams and Sweden only sending one team.
It was confusing as heck but there were three Canucks prospects there!
Goaltender Aku Koskenvuo was part of Finland’s U20 team. This came as a bit of a surprise as he made his debut with Harvard in the NCAA last weekend but also because though he has had a chance to play with Finland’s U20 team in the past, he has not been the goalie that Finland has primarily used in the past year.
Niklas Kokko (SEA) and Topias Leinonen (BUF) have been used as Finland’s top goalies in U20 play over the past year but it’s great to see Koskenvuo’s name in the mix.
Koskenvuo has outperformed Kokko and Leinonen this year in U20 international play and this should bode well for his chances to have a chance at making Finland’s World Junior team.
Koskenvuo played a great game against Sweden in the 5-Nations, saving 25 of 26 shots against what is projected to nearly be Sweden’s World Junior team.
Speaking of Sweden, the Canucks had two prospects on that team in this tournament. Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) and Jonathan Lekkerimäki both played in the tournament. Pettersson played in all four games while Lekkerimäki played in the first three games.
We will start with Pettersson, who had a poor first game in the tournament but played fine for the final three games. He is used as a depth defenceman for Sweden and is likely tracking towards being more of an impact player for his home nation at next year’s WJC.
He scored a goal in the game against Czechia’s U20 team on Thursday.
As for Lekkerimäki, we had high expectations for what he could do in this tournament. The four opponents were Finland’s U20 team, Finland’s U19 team, Czechia’s U20 team and Czechia’s U19 team. This tournament and the opportunities that Lekkerimäki received in it should have given him a chance to be a points machine, in a similar way to how he was at last year’s U18 tournament.
Unfortunately, this was not the case for Lekkerimäki, who only scored once and added an assist in his three games — both points coming on the power play.
His goal was a rocket, as he wired a one-timer into the top of the net, popping the bottle off the sagging netting.
The power play goal is nice but the worries in which we have about his game showed up once again as he was not a great driver at five-on-five and just doesn’t seem to have the pace or aggressiveness at even strength that is required to have success.
Again, we hope to see him show well at the World Junior Championships but since the beginning of the season, he has been playing with linemates who he clearly has chemistry with but just can’t seem to be the key driver at five-on-five.
This was a nice play, though!
It’s been nice to see Arturs Silovs take the reigns on the starting role in the AHL. Silovs made consecutive starts over the past week and showed extremely well in a 2-1 win on Thursday night. Silovs stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced and was the best Abbotsford Canuck on the night, earning first star of the game.
The workload for Silovs has been impressive this season as he has started seven of Abbotsford’s 10 games this year.
He is posting a 2.83 goals against average with a 0.891 save percentage and a 3-3-1 record on the year.
Don’t let his sub-0.900 save percentage fool you — for the amount of high-dander scoring chances he faces in the AHL, this 0.891% is pretty impressive.
Another positive note out of the AHL is Linus Karlsson, who is looking like the best Abbotsford Canucks player through 10 games this year. He is a point-per-game player and doing more than just scoring on the power play as he did in the SHL last season. Karlsson is much more physical than I thought he would be and though he lacks high-end skating ability, he makes up for it with his on-ice intelligence and recognizing where he needs to be on the ice to create and continue offence.
It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks play out for Karlsson.
He has been the best forward but if the Canucks want to continue to build his confidence, they will likely keep him in the AHL and not bring him up to the NHL, where things are not going great for the Canucks. I’d expect Justin Dowling to be a player that the NHL team leans on if they need a player due to poor performance, and injury, or the thought of a young player like Nils Höglander or Vasily Podkolzin heading down to the AHL for some seasoning.
Finally, we will chat about Danila Klimovich, who didn’t see any ice time in the final 15 minutes of Abbotsford’s game on Thursday and then was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
The 19-year-old has now been healthy scratched twice and it’s clear that the coach needs to see more from Klimovich for him to get into the lineup on a consistent basis.
Quick shoutout to Arshdeep Bains as well, he is now up to seven points in nine games and looked very good for Abbotsford over their two games this past week.
Abbotsford is now on a Canada-wide swing that will take them to Laval for a game, Toronto for two, then back to Laval for another game before hitting Calgary on their way back west.
Sweden always gets its own heading
It was quiet in Sweden this week but they still get their own heading because that’s tradition…
Lucas Forsell was held pointless in two Allsvenskan games.
Filip Johansson did not play as his team had a week off.
Maybe Sweden shouldn’t always get its own heading…
Cleaning up the rest
Kirill Kudryavtsev has five assists in his last six OHL games.
Aidan McDonough had a single assist in a two-game set against Boston College.
Connor Lockhart had one assist in four games. Maybe he should go back to being a defenceman. I kid…
Jacob Truscott, a defenceman, had an assist over two games against Notre Dame.
Joni Jurmo and Viktor Persson both had weeks off in Liiga as it appears as it was an international break for many European leagues.
So yeah, it was a quiet week for the Canucks prospects once again and let’s hope we have more goals and highlights to write about next week.
If you’d like to hear from a prospect, let me know in the comments. We will work on getting some information on Dmitri Zlodeev for you as I’ve seen his name in the comments section. Let me know who you’d like to hear more about!
See you all next week.
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