Blackfish: Canucks prospects’ training camp report, Forsell and Lekkerimäki score, and more
Photo credit:Nick Barden
By Faber2 months ago
After a mammoth return of the Blackfish prospect report last week, we are back with more good news from the Vancouver Canucks prospect pipeline.
A pair of prospects earned themselves entry-level contracts, five CHLers participated in Canucks training camp and Jonathan Lekkerimäki keeps on scoring.
So, grab a seat and let’s dive right in!
We’ve got a couple of changes this week after some feedback from last week. Please keep the feedback coming and let’s make this the best column possible.
- Two stat sheets for easier reading.
- We will work in order through the article in the same order as the stat sheet. You’ll get duplicates of the second stat sheet before we dive into the Liiga, NCAA, OHL, SHL, J20, and WHL players so that you don’t have to scroll up to the top to look at the sheet.
So, hopefully that helps!
Dmitri Zlodeyev gets his own heading
There has not been any news about where Dmitri Zlodeyev is going to play this coming season.
The team has been quiet on the situation and our assumption is that they are evaluating the prospect and seeing if he is deserving of an AHL/ECHL contract.
Ultimately, we’d be surprised if Zlodeyev isn’t good enough to earn an AHL contract. He may end up beginning the season in the ECHL with the Kalamazoo Wings but he will get a chance to play his way up into the AHL. Zlodeyev came to North America to play hockey and we expect the Canucks to find a place for their 2020 sixth-round pick.
Zlodeyev skated with the ‘C’ group throughout training camp at an alternate location to the main groups so we didn’t get a chance to see how he fit in.
Time will tell here about what Zlodeyev’s future is in North America. We think he’s a nice addition to the AHL/ECHL team in the Canucks organization and helps bring some depth at centre, which is a big need for those teams.
Thoughts on the AHL prospects at training camp
We will gloss over the 10-0 loss in the debut of the preseason as Rick Tocchet looks to turn the page and move on from that debacle.
Let’s highlight some players who we liked throughout training camp and preseason.
Aatu Räty had himself a strong training camp and ended up being one of the only bright spots in the 10-0 loss on Sunday in Calgary. Räty showed well in board battles and played tough against a close-to-NHL lineup from the Calgary Flames. Throughout training camp, Räty played centre. This is a key point of how the Canucks develop the young Finn. He looks to have added some pace to his game and showed well in many of the drills at the Save-On-Food Memorial Centre.
Räty should play some NHL games at some point this season but for now, we are excited to follow him with the Abbotsford Canucks in the AHL.
Josh Bloom really wants to make the AHL team and not go back to junior hockey as an overage player. Bloom showed well in the scrimmage on the third day of Canucks training camp. He drew a penalty that resulted in a penalty shot. Bloom found paydirt with his penalty shot and opened the scoring in the scrimmage. The scrimmage was a good spot for Bloom to show off his strengths of being tenacious on pucks and he got some space on the ice to show off his above-average pro speed.
Arshdeep Bains didn’t play in the first preseason game of the year and that’s a good thing. He was on a line with Pius Suter and Conor Garland throughout training camp and we’re curious to see if Bains continues to play on an NHL line throughout the preseason. Vancouver head coach Rick Tocchet spoke about hearing a lot of good things about Bains from Abbotsford head coach Jeremy Colliton. This was likely a big reason why Bains got a big opportunity at training camp and this is promising for the future of the local kid.
We may see Bains get a few NHL games this season and you have to bet that he and his family would be incredibly proud of the Surrey-born Arshdeep Bains. I know I’m supposed to be impartial as a journalist but you can’t help but root for this kid. He’s got a great story.
Another impressive player from training camp was centreman, Max Sasson. The 23-year-old has a lot of transferable skills that should be able to fit in with the NHL game. It’s really strange, he doesn’t have one skill that impresses but doesn’t have anything to worry about either. Sasson is a nice addition to the centre depth for the pro teams and right now is probably slated to be a top-line centre in the AHL depending on if Sheldon Dries, Jack Studnicka, or Nils Åman are sent down to the minors.
Danila Klimovich had a quiet camp after a quiet Young Stars tournament. He did see power play time in the preseason game against the Flames but overall, Klimovich didn’t make as good of an impression as he did last season. There’s a ton of skill there and he ripped an 86 mph wrist shot in the preseason game. The worry we had was his inability to be consistent with the puck in drills and during the scrimmage. It was a lot of the same things we talked about last week from his performance at Young Stars. The hope is that Klimovich can get a reset in before the beginning of the AHL season and then kick things off as one of Abbotsford’s most potent scorers.
Cole McWard had some ups and downs over the past week. He was one of the better defencemen in the preseason game in a game where players like Jett Woo and Noah Juulsen looked rough. McWard was able to at least not look bad in a 10-0 game and he looked like a true pro at the camp and in the scrimmage as well.
The goaltending duo of Nikita Tolopilo and Arturs Silovs didn’t look great in the scrimmage and Silovs let up seven goals in Sunday’s game. There’s some uncertainty about Spencer Martin and where he fits with the organization right now but we could see a Tolopilo-Silovs pairing in the AHL to begin the season. The team may ride with three goalies in either the NHL or the AHL but neither Tolopilo nor Silovs really impressed in camp or during the one preseason game. It was interesting to note that Silovs and Tolopilo both got time in the scrimmage while Martin didn’t play but instead worked with Ty Young and the goaltending coaches after the Saturday scrimmage.
It seems like the young goalies will be playing a lot in Abbotsford this season unless one of them can steal the backup job from newcomer Casey DeSmith.
Hugo Gabrielson drew into the Västerviks lineup for the first time this past Friday. He played 16:52 and was a +1 on the day.
We saw some things we liked and some things we didn’t. Gabrielson is solid as a defender and he moves the puck well enough but seems to have lapses of judgement at times that lead to him icing the puck. He did it a couple of times in this game but still was pretty effective in terms of his puck retrievals and zone exits.
Here’s just a bit of what we clipped from his game. It’s certainly not a highlight reel but there are some notable clips to show. We clipped one of his shot attempts where he works into the slot and finds space but the shot is blocked. He had a couple of shots that were blocked in the game. Gabrielson also blocked a goalie goal late in the game. It is good to see him get ice time late in the game when his team had the net empty and was pushing to make it a one-goal game.
There’s still no Viktor Persson sighting as he has not played a game for the Pelicans.
Joni Jurmo picked up his first point of the season on a nice zone entry that led to a primary assist.
Jurmo played in three Liiga games last week and saw his ice time rise throughout the three games. He played 14:36, 17:03 and then 20:09.
There’s still not much to report from the NCAA, which has a later start than the European or CHL leagues.
Here’s a photo of Tom Willander at Boston University.
The OHL guys are heading back to junior after Canucks training camp
Kirill Kudryavtsev, Hunter Brzustewicz and Vilmer Alriksson were each sent back to their junior teams on Monday morning.
Kudryavtsev looked like the best of the bunch as there wasn’t much from Brzustewicz or Alriksson to like during camp. Each spent time with the ‘C group’ so we didn’t see a ton of them in action. The OHL season begins on Thursday and we are excited to follow the offensive numbers from the two defencemen while keeping a close eye on how Alriksson adjusts to hockey in North America.
Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) got his first shift in the SHL on Saturday, he ended up having four shifts and had a shot that was blocked.
The good news is that he is finally seeing some ice time in the SHL but four shifts is not really much to get excited about just yet. We are taking baby steps, though. D-Petey didn’t play in any J20 games over the past week.
Jonathan Lekkerimäki continued his scoring ways last week and found himself in some impressive company.
Lekkerimäki became the fourth J20 player to score in three games to begin an SHL season. He joins Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund and Thomas Gradin on that list.
The 19-year-old’s scoring streak came to an end at three games as he was unable to find the back of the net on Saturday. He held a 40% Corsi over the week and had a 33% control of expected goals while on the ice — so, it wasn’t the best week for him in terms of possession at even-strength but his goal did come at five-on-five, which is awesome to see.
Our final prospect out of the SHL is Lucas Forsell, who scored his first goal of the season on Saturday.
Forsell wired a loose puck from the slot and then went on to throw the monkey off of his back in the celebration.
Though Forsell isn’t playing a lot in the early stages of the SHL season, he’s averaging about 10 minutes a night, he is making an impact away from the puck and we love to see that from a kid who is primarily known as a scoring winger. Forsell plays extremely hard and still has a lot of room to add muscle to his frame. He is not yet seeing consistent time on Färjestad’s power play units but you can bet he will work his way up there at some point this season.
WHL guys get their ELCs
The Canucks’ two WHL prospects earned entry-level contracts since our last Blackfish report.
Left-shot defenceman, Sawyer Mynio‘s contract was announced by the club on Sunday and goaltender Ty Young received his ELC on Monday afternoon.
Both players were sent back to their junior clubs on Monday when the Canucks announced the first five cuts from their training camp roster.
The WHL season began this past weekend and it was a good experience for Mynio and Young to get a chance to attend Canucks training camp but their WHL clubs will be happy yo have them back as the WHL season rolls along.
We will be down in Seattle on January 5th to watch Young and Mynio play against each other.
This wraps up another Blackfish prospects report here at CanucksArmy. We are seeing regular seasons commence around the world and in a few weeks, we are going to have a lot more to talk about. The AHL regular season begins on October 13th and the NCAA season begins on October 7th. There will be even more updates to come after those dates.
For now, we will talk NHL preseason, European pro leagues and Major Junior Canadian leagues.
See you next week and please leave me some feedback on the new stat sheets, other changes to the Blackfish report or just something else you’d like to see. We will begin interviewing prospects next week and will include some stories from those interviews.
Let’s work together to get you exactly what you want from this column.
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