Blackfish: Jonathan Lekkerimäki scores twice, Arshdeep Bains continues to impress and we tracked 25 games of Max Sasson
Photo credit:Nick Barden
By Faber8 months ago
We are back with another Blackfish CanucksArmy Prospects Report.
If you’re new here, we recap the week for Vancouver Canucks prospects. We will see what’s going on in Sweden, in the OHL, down the road in Abbotsford, and more!
Prospect profiles will be done in separate articles. This is more of just an update piece where we show you many clips from the prospects.
Let’s dive in with something that those who aren’t new here, know is a crucial piece of the Blackfish report.
It’s time to go to Sweden.
Sweden always gets its own heading
The prospects’ biggest story of the week is 2022 first-round pick Jonathan Lekkerimäki returning from injury to join his Allsvenskan team in the playoffs.
Lekkerimäki didn’t just return to the lineup from injury, he returned with a hot hand and buried a goal in each of his two Allsvenskan playoff games this week.
It’s always good to see Lekkerimäki scoring goals and doing it in the Allsvenskan playoffs has to be a good boost for his confidence as the offseason approaches.
His team swept the opening playoff series and now awaits their second-round opponent.
Lekkerimäki was injured at the beginning of February and missed six weeks of play due to a foot injury. He is being given top-line minutes in the playoffs and that trust from the coach is a real positive at the most important time of the year.
Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) played in six games this past week. The 19-year-old was busy locking up games played but wasn’t challenged with a lot of minutes. He played in four SHL games, where his minutes totalled only 5:39 of ice time.
Pettersson did see a lot of minutes in the J20 league. He played in two J20 games and averaged 24:10 over his two games.
The battle between childhood friends Filip Johansson and Lucas Forsell continues in the SHL playoffs. Their SHL playoff series is not off to game seven, which will take place on Tuesday morning.
Johansson was the better player this week, he had a three-point game on Thursday — picking up a goal and two assists.
Here’s one of his assists.
Here’s his goal.
Here’s a photo of Loui Eriksson, whom Johansson set up late in the game for his third point of the match.
The king still has it.
Forsell had a quiet week, he didn’t find the scoresheet in the four games played after having a red-hot start to the SHL playoffs.
Aatu Räty continues to produce in the AHL after his re-assignment. The 20-year-old centre now has 8 points in the 10 games he’s played since he was sent back down to Abbotsford. Räty is showing well on the forecheck and on the boards. I think people will come to see that he is tougher than originally predicted. He may not be a player who seeks out physicality but he definitely doesn’t shy away from it.
The man of the month in the prospect pool might be Arshdeep Bains, who picked up a pair of goals this week.
Both of his goals came in highlight form.
He scored his second goal from a nice charge to the net.
There’s been a ton to like in Bains’ game of late. He simply has that NHL look to him with how he processes the play and makes all the right passes in the offensive zone.
We’re starting to take passengers for the Bains Hype Train, hop on.
Jett Woo continues to play well and we wanted to shout him out again.
He picked up another assist and continue to throw the body around. We are almost at a point where Woo is throwing a big hit in every game.
Odds & Ends
Connor Lockhart picked up three goals over three OHL games this week.
He scored the same type of goal in his two-goal game on Saturday.
Josh Bloom picked up a goal and two assists over his two OHL games this week.
Here’s his shorthanded assist from the week.
Kirill Kudryavtsev was up to his scoring ways this week. The left-shot defenceman picked up a goal and an assist and is starting to have a signature style of goal as he is consistently going coast-to-coast on his scoring efforts.
We like that we are seeing these types of plays in his draft plus one season. Kudryavtsev should be an absolute force in the OHL next season.
USHL forward and 2022 fourth-round pick Daimon Gardner was named the USHL’s forward of the week this past week.
As you can see from the graphic, Gardner picked up a goal and five assists this week in three USHL games.
Gardner has been rolling over his last dozen games, picking up 16 points over his last 12 games. This brings Gardner’s season total up to 48 points in 46 games.
After a knee injury and a slow start, Gardner is heating up. He is set to join Clarkson University next season and begin his NCAA career.
Now, let’s get to Max Sasson.
The 22-year-old signed with the Canucks last week and will join the Abbotsford Canucks on an amateur tryout. This means that he will be eligible for the AHL playoffs and his entry-level contract will slide to next season.
We tracked 25 of Sasson’s games this season and have some interesting stats to get to.
First off, Sasson had a tremendously high Corsi and control of expected goals. His 61.8% Corsi for percentage is a great number to indicate his ability to keep the puck moving in the right direction. It certainly benefited him that he was playing on one of the bets lines in the NCAA this season but you have to be a good player to be on a good line.
Sasson’s 61.8% Corsi was bested by his expected goals for control of 68.3% this season. When we see a jump like this from your CF% to your xGF%, it can indicate that a player plays well in the defensive zone of limiting scoring chances and that is exactly the case with Sasson.
He was only on the ice for seven goals against at even-strength in the 25 games we tracked. Sasson averaged 19:45 a night and averaged 2:25 of shorthanded ice time.
One worry was his work in the faceoff dot. Sasson is a centre and he plays the position well but his faceoff skill needs work. Sasson won just 44.6% of his faceoffs in the 25 games we tracked and was even worse in the dot while shorthanded, picking up a 34.8% win percentage in the faceoff circle when shorthanded.
It will be interesting to see Sasson adjust to pro hockey but we aren’t worried about his play when the puck is dropped. He’s positionally sound and skates at a good pace. This is a solid 22-year-old to add to the organization’s depth and we expect to see Sasson land on the Abbotsford Canucks’ fourth line soon.
Typically, playing on an AHL fourth line isn’t the ideal spot for a player to be but Danila Klimovich is going to be the right winger on that line and the organization wants to see continued success from Klimovich. If Sasson can blend well with the Belarussian, this signing is already a win.
We don’t know about an NHL future for Sasson. He was an effective NCAA player but will need to make big improvements in certain parts of the ice to be a legit NHL prospect. For now, we like the addition to the AHL team and have high hopes for early success from Sasson.
This wraps up the Blackfish CanucksArmy Prospects Report.
Here’s the video version. This week’s video was over 11 minutes long. Be sure to subscribe to CanucksArmy’s YouTube page for more Canucks news.
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