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Blackfish: Another SHL goal for Jonathan Lekkerimäki, projecting the Abbotsford Canucks’ lineup, and the OHL prospects popping off

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Photo credit:Nick Barden
Faber
By Faber
1 month ago
Welcome back to another Blackfish Prospects Report here at CanucksArmy.
This is where we recap the week that was in the world of Vancouver Canucks prospects. We will include stats, videos, tidbits and takes on what happened this past week.
We’ve got a lot to get to this week with the CHL running hot into their regular season, Jonathan Lekkerimäki and Lucas Forsell having some highlights from the SHL, Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) moving down to the Allsvenskan, the two OHL defencemen lighting up opening weekend, and much more!
It’s a big one this week, folks. So, let’s dive right on in!

Stats

There are the stats, now, let’s go!

AHL

We got a big roster update on Sunday morning, as the Canucks sent almost all of their AHL-bound players down to the farm with five players needing to pass through waivers.
Jett Woo is the only prospect on our list who had to pass through waivers and he was not claimed on his way down to the AHL.
I thought it would be fun to do a projected lineup for the AHL team this week in the Blackfish so that you can get a feel for where some of the AHL prospects will be on the depth chart.
Here goes nothing…
Forwards
LWCRW
Vasily PodkolzinSheldon DriesLinus Karlsson
Aidan McDonoughMax SassonTristen Nielsen
Arshdeep BainsAatu RätyDanila Klimovich
John StevensChase WoutersJermaine Loewen
Defencemen
LDRD
Akito HiroseJett Woo
Jack RathboneNoah Juulsen or Cole McWard
Matt IrwinFilip Johansson
And then we expect Arturs Silovs to be the starter with Nikita Tolopilo being the backup. Zach Sawchenko will be around as well and if he becomes the backup, expect Tolopilo to be in the ECHL.
Obviously, some things can change due to which players are sent down but for now, this is a rough guess on what we see in Abbotsford this season.
And to close out the AHL stuff, there’s still no news about Dmitry Zlodeyev. He will need an AHL contract to play with Abbotsford or Kalamazoo in the ECHL.

Allsvenskan

Hugo Gabrielson played in three games last week and did not record a point. He’s in a tough spot as his team is 0-0-1-3 on the season and has only scored four goals through the first four goals of the season. The good news is that he is holding an even plus/minus through those four losses and played 20:01 on Wednesday. Friday’s game saw 14:58 of ice time and then 16:30 on Sunday.
Gabrielson is looking fine. Nothing is making us excited and nothing is making us worried.
The bigger news out of the Allsvenskan, or in the Allsvenskan, is that top-five prospect, Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) has been loaned to Västerås and will join his Allsvenskan team this week.
D-Petey averaged 43 seconds of ice time through his four SHL games this season and the hope is that he will be closer to 20 minutes a night in the Allsvenskan.
What we liked in this transaction is that the Canucks were proactive with getting Pettersson ice time in a men’s league. He’s too good for the J20 league but not quite at the level to get ice time with Örebro in the SHL.
This was from the Örebro press release. It had to be translated.
“We have for some time, in consultation with Vancouver, tried to find a solution for Elias to get playing time in a senior environment. Now we have found a solution where Elias is loaned to Västerås, where he gets the opportunity.”
Ice time is great but ultimately, we want to see Pettersson gain some confidence in the Allsvenskan and the World Junior Championships before returning to the SHL to get some legitimate ice time with Örebro this season. That’s the hope. We will see how it plays out.

Liiga

It was a quiet week out of Finland this week. Viktor Persson continues to not be suiting up for the Pelicans while Joni Jurmo was held without a point this week.
Jurmo played 15:38, 14:24, and 17:54 in his three games this past week. He held a 49.1% Corsi and had a 52.1% control of expected goals at five-on-five. Jurmo played on Ilves’ penalty kill again this week and that’s a nice wrinkle that we are seeing this season from Jurmo.
We haven’t gotten to a highlight yet, and that makes me sad. So, let’s see Jurmo’s three shots on net this week.

NCAA

Still nothing… We may have an interview with a prospect later this week.
The NCAA season begins on October 7th.
We are close!

OHL

Alright, this is a good section. We had three prospects play in a total of six games and combine for two goals and seven assists.
Folks, WE’VE GOT HIGHLIGHTS!!!
Let’s start with the big man, Vilmer Alriksson.
Alriksson is playing in the Guelph Storm’s top-six and also receiving power play time on the right half-wall. Here’s his power play goal from the weekend.
Let’s talk about the 2023 draft pick, Hunter Brzustewicz and the defenceman’s four-point night in an 8-0 route.
We saw some very pretty passes from Brzustewicz as he continues to impress with his ability to move the puck with tremendous accuracy. He played on both the power play and shorthanded units this weekend and is a huge part of the Kitchener Rangers’ defence corps.
Our top performer of the week is left-shot defenceman, Kirill Kudryavtsev.
The 2022 seventh-round pick is going to put up a lot of points this season in the OHL and he had a good start to the year with a goal and three assists in two games.

SHL

We’ve got another Jonathan Lekkerimäki goal to share with you.
Lekkerimäki is now up to four goals in six games and continues to shine on the left half-wall of Örebro’s power play unit.
He also held stronger possession numbers this week, compiling a 54.8% Corsi and a 54.1% control of expected goals at five-on-five over his two SHL games. Lekkerimäki also saw his ice time rise this past week. He played 15:16 on Thursday and 13:34 on Saturday.
Now, let’s go under the hood.
There were quite a few things that we liked from Lekkerimäki in his game on Thursday, September 28th. His pace was good and it showed up with how he was able to gain possessions in the defensive zone. We saw him commit to blocking shots and when he was fresh at the start of a shift, his forechecking was pesky. He even threw a nice hit at the end of this clip. We just pulled together a couple of things and highlighted Lekkerimäki in the following video.
We really liked his game on Saturday. Lekkerimäki had three clean zone exits in the first two shifts and continued to do a good job getting the puck out of his zone and through the neutral zone in this game.
He had an aggressive forecheck even though he bounced off a couple of defencemen in the corners due to his lack of size and strength. There was a stretch in the second period where he got knocked over five times over two shifts but it was from hustling for the puck and sacrificing the body to attempts to gain possession. There’s a way to go before he’s strong enough to battle with NHL players but the work rate is certainly higher than we saw last season.
A lot to like here from the kid. He obviously needs to continue to add strength and size but for now, he is showing a good base of aggressiveness for a guy who’s strength is scoring goals on the power play. This is progress.
We promise to spend more time on Lucas Forsell soon. We will give him the Lekkerimäki treatment soon, I promise!
For now, Forsell is back in the Blackfish report with another point in the SHL.
He had a wonderful saucer pass on one of the prettier goals this week.
Forsell now has one goal and one assist through six SHL games this season. He has continued to be used in a fourth-line role and has only seen 57 seconds of power play time through six games.
We hope to see this hard-working kid get a chance in Färjestad’s top-six soon. He’s playing great hockey but can’t seem to find a ton of offence in his current fourth-line role. As much as we’d like to see Forsell in the top-six, he’s got his work cut out for him as Färjestad is currently atop the SHL standings with a 5-0-0-1 record and is holding onto a 23-9 goal differential.
It’s going to be tough for Forsell to get the ice time but he’s playing well in a fourth-line role and could see more ice time his way if he can continue to find some offence as a grinder.
Again, we will do a deeper dive into Forsell soon.

WHL

It was a tough home opener for Sawyer Mynio and the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Mynio was used on Seattle’s top-pairing but his Thunderbirds fell 6-1 in the home opener but the bright spot was that Mynio held an even plus/minus in the game.
It’s nice to see him on the top-pairing for Seattle and he was used in droves on the penalty kill.
The bad news was that Mynio took two minor penalties in the game — both of the stick infraction variety.
Ty Young picked up wins on back-to-back nights in his return to the Prince George Cougars from Canucks camp. Young stopped 16 of 18 on Friday night and 25 of 28 on Saturday night.
This wraps up another Blackfish Prospects Report here at CanucksArmy. 
We are just a week or two away from getting AHL and NCAA prospects consistently showing up in the Blackfish report and once we get there, this article is going to get even more jam-packed full of clips and insight into the world of the Canucks’ prospects.
I’m off next week and that means our new acquisition Dave Hall is going to take over Blackfish.
Good luck, Dave! I know you’ll crush it.

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