Blackfish: More than points from Lekkerimäki, Brzustewicz’s hot streak, and Vasily Podkolzin’s AHL clapper
Photo credit:Nick Barden
By Faber1 month ago
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Welcome back to another Blackfish Prospects Report here at CanucksArmy.
It’s my favourite time of the week because we get to talk about the week that was for the Vancouver Canucks’ prospects.
Once again, there are a lot of highlights to get to and we’re going to show as many of the goals and assists as we possibly can. I’m working on getting The Stanchies’ pay-per-video rate.
If you’re looking for a lot of those highlights right when they happen, be sure to follow our new acquisition Dave Hall on Twitter. He will be back in the Blackfish chair soon as well because though this article is a lot of fun, it sure takes a long time to put together but you commenters are worth it and I love seeing the feedback in the comments section.
This week, Jonathan Lekkerimäki looks pretty in pink, Hunter Brzustewicz continues to shine, Vilmer Alriksson finds his scoring touch, Ty Young keeps winning, Josh Bloom debuts in the AHL, and much much more!
Let’s hit the stats and then get right into the report.
The Abbotsford Canucks had two games with their rival, the Calgary Wranglers over the weekend. It was two losses for the AHLNucks but there’s still a lot to talk about in terms of prospect production.
Let’s start with the sort of prospect, sort of not prospect, Vasily Podkolzin.
Podkolzin seems to have found something that he likes, and that thing is a one-timer clap-bomb from the right half-wall.
He scored via the one-timer on Friday night.
And then scored via the one-timer on Saturday night.
It should be noted that all of the Abbotsford Canucks goals that we will be showing this week were against back-to-back goaltender of the year in the AHL, Dustin Wolf — who is certainly an NHL calibre goaltender. I don’t know why the Flames aren’t moving mountains to get this kid in their lineup, he’s an excellent goaltender.
Back to Podkolzin — he is certainly gaining confidence in his shot as he is currently ninth in the AHL for shots on net and seems to be developing that one-timer nicely. He’s also been playing with added physicality and just seems to be thriving in a top-line role at the AHL level. Where he goes from here is important. Though the offensive numbers are impressive it’s still about the work that he puts in over the coming months as he develops new skills and higher confidence for his return to being an NHLer.
Arshdeep Bains is the team’s leader in points with three more assists over the weekend. He’s got to cut down on the penalties, as he is now up to six minors through four games but some of those calls were pretty weak. He’s clearly added pace to his game and nobody on the Abbotsford Canucks is showing better playmaking skills than Bains right now.
He’s one of the forwards who is seeing double duty on the special teams units and we expect him to continue to progress and be a legitimate NHL call-up soon for the big club. The best news is that he is still just 22 years old.
It was a tough weekend for Arturs Silovs, who got both starts for Abbotsford.
Yeah, unfortunately not all of these Blackfish reports can be uber-positive. Silovs allowed three goals on 27 shots in Friday’s game and gave up seven goals against on 37 shots in Saturday night’s 7-6 overtime thriller. It’s great to see young Silovs getting back-to-back starts but he will have to have a bounce-back night between the pipes.
Josh Bloom made his AHL debut over the weekend and looked good but also looked like he was making his AHL debut at other times over the weekend. He did a good job on the penalty kill and was able to get a few high-quality scoring chances — which was great to see. We like how he can play a solid defensive game but the speed of pro hockey seemed to overwhelm him a bit at times. He will continue to grow his game along with his confidence over the coming months and we need to remember how difficult that jump from junior to pro is on a 20-year-old.
Speaking of 20-year-olds, Danila Klimovich was a healthy scratch on Friday night and then Rick Dhaliwal of Donnie & Dhali reported that Klimovich was injured for Saturday’s game.
It’s kind of like the scene in ‘Friday‘ about getting fired on your day off, I guess. We hope to see Klimovich bounce back as the healthy scratch has motivated him in the past. Look for a hungry 20-year-old this week.
Jett Woo is the last name of note for our AHL report. The 23-year-old, right-shot defenceman has been looking strong in a top-pairing role alongside Christian Wolanin. Woo has done a good job improving his defence of the rush and looks like he’s much more comfortable with the puck on his stick. The part that we like the most about his puck possession skills is his confidence in the offensive zone. Woo is now confident enough to move with the puck instead of immediately looking for the easy passing option. With the movement, Woo is getting more shots on net and has been doing a good job firing those shots with traffic.
Woo now has three assists through four AHL games and has taken just one minor penalty through those four games.
Abbotsford is in action tonight (Tuesday) as well as Wednesday when they host the Colorado Eagles at the Abbotsford Centre.
The Allsvenskan continues to be good for Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) as he picked up three assists in two games this week.
Dave is bang-on with his take on D-Petey’s stretch passes becoming something we often see from him.
Left-shot defenceman, Hugo Gabrielson scored his first goal in 85 career Allsvenskan games on Friday.
Gabrielson is starting to eat up some big minutes in Sweden’s second-best professional league. We’ve seen him have 20+ minutes in three of his 10 Allsvenskan games this season.
Joni Jurmo had two games in Liiga this past week and is seeing his ice time drop as the season goes along. He played 12:46 and 13:35 this past weekend.
Jurmo did have a lot of ice time in their Champions League game one Wednesday, where he played 21:22 in the game but was a -2 in a 6-1 loss.
Aiden Celebrini and Tom Willander were once again paired up on Boston University’s third pairing. They had two games against Notre Dame and were held off the scoresheet on Friday before Saturday’s game opened up for Celebrini to shine.
Celebrini was a +3 on Saturday and contributed to the offence with a goal and an assist in an 8-2 whooping.
A few of the Canucks’ NCAA prospects had the weekend off or didn’t produce any points over the weekend.
Willander had a secondary assist in the game but I wasn’t able to watch him this week — I’ll be honest. So, I don’t have much to say about his play over the weekend.
Jacob Truscott picked up an assists in a 7-1 win over Ohio State on Friday. He is now up to four assists through six games.
I’d watch for him to go pro at the conclusion of this NCAA season.
2023 fourth-round pick Matthew Perkins had a big night on Friday — picking up a goal and two primary assists in a 5-4 overtime win.
Over the past few weeks, Hunter Brzustewicz is on the top of mind for Canucks fans who enjoy following the prospects.
Brzustewicz is ripping up the OHL — he’s currently leading the league in points with five goals and 15 assists for 20 points through 10 games.
Since last Tuesday’s report, Brzustewicz has played in three OHL games and has one goal and six assists. Here are all of those points.
This kid is just a points machine right now for the Kitchener Rangers, who are averaging over five goals a game with Brzustewicz picking up a point in 39% of their goals scored this season.
He’s played a strong two-way game in our viewings this past week and just continues to take steps that have been impressive for a player in his draft-plus-one season. There’s just a lot to like from the right-shot defenceman so far this season. We will have to see if he can keep this up for the entirety of the OHL season.
The new Big Fella, Vilmer Alriksson scored a pair of goals this past weekend as he is now up to four goals and two assists through nine OHL games with the Guelph Storm.
What we’re liking about Alriksson is that the OHL has had an immediate impact on him going to the dirty areas for goals. It felt like he was a bit of a perimeter player in the J20 tape that we watched but the OHL is making get to the net and his hands are getting him goals. It’s a great combination to have for a 6’6″ forward.
It was a quieter week for Kirill Kudryavtsev but he still picked up a pair of assists through three OHL games with the Soo Greyhounds. Kudryavtsev is now up to nine points (1g-8a) through 11 games with Soo.
Lucas Forsell got a chance to play on Färjestad’s top-line earlier this week before heading back down to the fourth line on the weekend. He did have a goal this week, that came in Champions League play and it was a nice goal not because of the skill but instead, because of the effort.
Nobody is moving more than Forsell on this shift and that’s probably a big reason why he gets the goal on this play.
This kid has great habits and dominated in his CHL game this week with an 83% Corsi and an 88% control of expected goals.
We’d like to see him pop off a bit more in the SHL but he averaged less than 10 minutes of ice time in the SHL this past week. Färjestad is the best team in the SHL right now, with an 8-0-2-2 record, so ice time is going to be difficult to come by but this kid is working his ass off on every shift and looks to have the motor that should excite fans about his potential.
Now for the Lekkeri-party.
Jonathan Lekkerimäki is currently tied for the SHL lead in goals after scoring in each of his two SHL games this past week.
Once again, Lekkerimäki is going to get our deep dive this week in the Blackfish Report.
First, let’s show you his two goals and one assist from the week before diving into some clips where he doesn’t change the scoreboard.
Goal number one of the week was an absolute snipe into a tiny pocket over the goaltender’s shoulder.
Goal number two was just a pretty but this time in pink as he showed great mobility and worked his way into the slot, where he made no mistake burying his seventh goal of the season.
Here’s his assist from Saturday’s game.
It’s more than just the goals and assists with Lekkerimäki this season. He is effective at moving the puck out of his own zone or extending offensive zone possessions on almost every shift. He’s also throwing the body around a lot more and though he doesn’t quite have the strength to put much force behind those hits, he’s at least trying to do so.
This kid has taken big steps from what we saw last season and his play continues to impress us this year.
He’s making a serious push to be the Canucks’ top prospect and may already be there with how well he has played this season.
Comeback season engaged.
Sawyer Mynio got back into the Seattle Thunderbirds’ lineup this past week. He scored a goal and added an assist in his return to the WHL.
Mynio battled a lower-body injury but is now back with the Thunderbirds and is getting time on the second power play unit as well as eating a ton of minutes — and pucks — on the penalty kill.
In net, Ty Young has a share of the WHL lead in wins with seven. He holds a 7-2-0 record on the year and has been good but not great for Prince Geroge this season. He holds a 2.81 GAA and a 0.887% save percentage.
Young had a great outing on Saturday, stopping 24 of the 25 shots he faced in a win and then ended up picking up another win despite giving five goals on 28 shots against Medicine Hat.
Well, that wraps up another Blackfish report here at CanucksArmy. I believe that Dave Hall will be taking over next week’s report so look forward to that, Dave has done an awesome job taking on the challenge of covering all of the Canucks’ prospects.
He will see you all next week!
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