Blackfish: CanucksArmy Prospect Report — August 16th, 2022
Photo credit:Nick Barden
By Faber5 months ago
We teased it back in June, and now that the World Juniors and overseas preseason action is giving us Vancouver Canucks prospect content, we can fire up the CanucksArmy Blackfish Prospect Report!
The goal is to have a YouTube video to go along with each of these articles as the year goes on.
You can find this week’s YouTube video at the bottom of this article if you don’t feel like reading.
We should be able to obtain enough prospect content to make this a weekly article and plan to drop it every Tuesday. Some weeks may be light on prospect news but it’s a fun article to write for myself, and the history of the Blackfish Report makes me proud to write it and keep the series going.
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All that being said, let’s look at some news and notes in the world of Canucks prospects.
The World Junior Trio
Even though the tournament isn’t gathering as much hype as it usually does in December/January, the August World Juniors are giving Canucks fans noteworthy information on left-shot defence prospects Joni Jurmo and Jacob Truscott as well as the team’s top prospect, right wing Jonathan Lekkerimäki.
Let’s begin with Jacob Truscott, who has been the most impressive of the World Junior trio. Truscott has been playing as Team USA’s second pairing right-side defenceman throughout the tournament. Truscott has seen a bit of time late in games alongside Luke Hughes as they like to get Hughes on the right side for his good shot and ability to slip down the right wall to generate offence.
We’ve loved the way that Truscott is playing so far. There are some similarities to Chris Tanev in Truscott’s mindset to being a defenceman. He may not have the shot-blocking prowess like Tanev but there’s just a simple style of play on the backend that makes us think that Truscott may have a pro future.
Truscott has been held without a point in his first four games but has been excellent at breaking the puck out of his own zone and as he did at Canucks’ development camp, he is showing that is more physical than we thought.
He hasn’t provided many highlights with his defensive style of play but we will be putting together a big article about his breakouts once the tournament is over. The closest we have to a highlight is Truscott coming within an inch of finding the scoresheet.
Truscott will be back at Michigan this fall for his junior season. The expectation is that he is relied upon to be a penalty killer as well as being the partner of Luke Hughes, who will arguably be the best defenceman in the NCAA this coming season.
Now let’s go to the other defenceman, Joni Jurmo.
Jurmo struggled to begin the tournament but has drawn high praise for his ability to skate with the puck and be athletic when defending.
It’s clear that Jurmo is extremely athletic, and he also happens to be 6’4″. He has used his size at this tournament to push the opposition around on the boards. His long reach and quick feet have given him a chance to be in the right spot defensively even if he makes a mistake on his reads. We worry a bit about how he processes the game but hope that the 20-year-old can improve on thinking about the game when he returns to the Finnish Liiga this fall.
For now, we are enjoying his flashes of speed as well as how much he has improved since he had a trainwreck of a beginning to the tournament — three poor shifts to start his first game led to him getting benched with only one shift in the final 14 minutes of the first period.
Now, let’s get to the youngster Jonathan Lekkerimäki.
The 18-year-old is playing regular shifts with Sweden but not making the impact that many hoped he would. He began the tournament on Sweden’s second line but struggled to engage in play early on and was moved down to the third line to play with his Allsvenskan teammate Liam Öhgren.
Lekkerimäki has had some flashes but hasn’t consistently been involved in the play as much as other players in his age group or younger. For example, Öhgren, who was drafted four spots later in the draft, has been very engaged in play at even-strength and does a good job of getting under the opponents’ skin. Joakim Kemell, who was selected 17th overall, is second in scoring at this tournament with three goals and six assists through three games.
It just feels like Lekkerimäki could be much more engaged in the play in the offensive zone. He is often on the perimeter of the zone and not consistently engaging in battling for pucks in the corner or driving to the net during a cycle to score dirty goals.
When evaluating Lekkerimäki before the NHL Entry Draft, we saw that he was a player who thrived on the power play or when he was the main character of a line. At this tournament, he is more of a passenger on his line. He is still very young, but there are players his age who were drafted after him that are doing more at this tournament and that’s simply a fact.
We have really liked the way that he’s played on the power play. Lekkerimäki is being used on Sweden’s second power-play unit and is effective as a player on the left half-wall. Lekkerimäki has three assists in the tournament and all three have come with the man advantage.
We want to see more from Lekkerimäki but have already seen enough to be intrigued by his skill.
He showed well in the game against Germany on Monday night. He was working hard and earned a secondary assist on the power play.
His strong play in the first period of the Germany game earned him some more ice time and the effort level was noticeably higher compared to his previous three games.
We’re trying to remember that even though he’s a first-round pick, he’s also eligible to play in the tournament two more times.
This is the warm-up tournament for what we expect will be a much better performance in December as well as December 2023.
Sweden always gets its own heading
Yeah, we will be busy covering Swedish hockey this season and already have some good news out of the Canucks organization’s favourite country.
We’ll begin with the 19-year-old, right-shot defenceman, Jonathan Myrenberg.
Myrenberg made his debut with his new club, Mora IK. It was just an exhibition game for Mora but they played against SHL team Leksands last week and Myrenberg was the 2RD in the lineup.
He played a great game and looked like the best carrier of the puck out of all the defencemen in that game. We also like how he was aggressive in his neutral zone defending and used his body to push the opposition off the puck multiple times throughout the game.
I clipped some of the notable plays from Myrenberg in that game. He is wearing number 28 for the team in the red jerseys.
We’re excited to see Myrenberg get a lot more ice time now that he is loaned to the Allsvenskan league for the 2022–23 season. He already fits in well with his team in this one exhibition game and it was even more impressive because they were matched up against an SHL team.
Now let’s go to the youngster Lucas Forsell.
The 18-year-old is already on our radar after what he did in the SHL last season at his young age. Now, his goal is to be a top-nine forward in the SHL. If he is able to achieve that goal, it’s massive for a kid who wasn’t even born when the Canucks traded Peter Schaefer to the Ottawa Senators for Sami Salo.
Forsell is off to a good start in the preseason as he is getting time on one of Färjestad’s power play units. He scored a goal on the power play in a preseason game this week and as we saw last year, he scores in bunches so we will keep an eye on more of his preseason action.
The kid has a great motor in his play and hands that get us excited. It’s going to be a fun year to follow Forsell, who should be in consideration for Sweden’s world junior team this December.
Zlodeyev is hot hot hot
As preseason games are now taking place in some of the European leagues, the most pleasant surprise might be 20-year-old centre Dmitri Zlodeyev.
We have already seen three goals from Zlodeyev with his KHL team in preseason action. We love to see the way this kid goes to the net hard and he is being rewarded for his willingness to go to the net early on.
He had a one-goal game and then doubled up with a two-goal performance in his next outing. Cracking a KHL lineup as a 20-year-old is impressive enough in its own right but scoring goals is something that definitely piques our interest.
Canucks prospects finding new homes
We had heard rumblings that Connor Lockhart was going to be on the move this offseason and that happened last week as he was traded from the Flint
Tropics Firebirds to the Peterborough Petes. Lockhart didn’t have a lot of talent around him with Flint last season. He was the only drafted player on his OHL team and should have much more talented linemates with the Petes.
The Petes have multiple drafted players on their roster and should be a much stronger team than the Firebirds were last season. It should be a bigger offensive year for Lockhart this season after he put up 23 goals and 25 assists in 64 OHL games last season.
Viktor Persson is the other prospect on the move. He has found a home with the Pelicans in the Finnish Liiga after playing last season with the Kamloops Blazers. Persson is 20 years old and aged out of the WHL after last season. He will join some familiar names with the Pelicans as they are the home of Lukas Jasek and Toni Utunen.
Persson is one of the two right-shot defencemen on the Pelicans’ roster, so we are assuming that he should get some ice time in this competitive league.
It wasn’t a great season for Persson but he seemed to play a physical game in the WHL and hopefully, he can get back some of his offence that we loved when he played J20 hockey in Sweden.
That wraps it up for this week’s Blackfish Report.
Give us a comment if there’s a prospect you want me to check in on or someone you have a question about.
See you next week for the Blackfish: CanucksArmy Prospect Report!
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- WATCH: Vancouver’s own Connor Bedard strikes first for Canada at WJC
Recent articles from Faber
- Inside Filip Johansson’s promising SHL season after signing with the Canucks: CA prospect rankings #8
- Jacob Truscott is progressing well as a support defenceman: CanucksArmy prospect rankings #9
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