Canucks Prospect Rewind: Danila Klimovich took a massive step during his sophomore AHL season
Photo credit:@abbotsfordcanucks on IG
By Faber3 months ago
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There’s legitimate reason to be excited about Danila Klimovich after his strong play this season.
After being selected 41st overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the 6’2″ Belarussian sniper jumped right into the AHL as an 18-year-old and went down a bumpy road in his rookie season. He was benched, he was healthy scratched, and he didn’t get the call to play in any of Abbotsford’s playoff games that year.
This past season, Klimovich was still benched, he was still healthy scratched, but he did play in playoff games. There’s still so much to improve on when it comes to Klimovich, but he saw his goal total more than double this past year and his defensive play took an even bigger jump than his goal-scoring under new head coach Jeremy Colliton.
Klimovich was second only to Linus Karlsson (24) in goals with 17 and scored 13 of his 17 goals at even-strength.
Something clicked between Klimovich and head coach Jeremy Colliton this past season. Klimovich was much more comfortable in Abbotsford this year and after spending the 2022 summer in Vancouver, his English improved a ton and that seemed to help with coaches communicating their wants to the teenager.
Our pal, Jacob Stoller builds game score player cards for the AHL and you can see a massive jump in Klimovich’s play this year compared to what he did as a rookie in 2021-22.
There are some interesting numbers to look at from Jacob’s game-score cards.
First off, the finishing jumping from the 15th percentile to the 84th percentile is exciting. Klimovich was much more consistent with his shot this year. Two seasons ago, it felt like Klimovich got a good shot off maybe 50% of the time, even with time and space. This past year, Klimovich showed consistency with his shooting and he was able to get good wood on a much higher percentage of his shots.
The next big jump to note is Klimovich’s defensive numbers, including his Corsi against, expected goals against, goals against and blocked shots. Klimovich was a much better defensive presence this season. He will still have some brain farts and Colliton makes sure to let him know what he did wrong. Klimovich will often find himself sitting on the bench for 10-minute stretches after making mental mistakes but it seems like what the coaching staff did with him this season worked well.
Klimovich led the Canucks in plus/minus this season with a +15 this year. A lot of his ice time was spent in the offensive zone and we saw chemistry develop between Klimovich and rookie Arshdeep Bains.
The hope for the future is that Klimovich develops at a similar rate to how he did this past season. If he is able to continue to improve his defensive play while simultaneously producing more offence, we will be talking about an NHLer in a year or two.
One thing we want to see more of next season is power play ice time. Klimovich is at his best on the man-advantage but Colliton rarely used Klimovich on his power play units. When Klimovich got the opportunity to get power play time, he thrived. We think the reason why Klimovich didn’t see much power play time was because there is a long-game plan here for this kid. He spent about 90% of the season in the bottom-six but that should change next year. Klimovich is now at the point in his development where he is deserving of more ice time and is more than deserving of some power play time.
The road is looking much less bumpy now that Klimovich has spent nearly 24 months in the Vancouver/Abbotsford area. He’s solidified his spot at a top prospect for the Canucks and coming into his third AHL season as a 20-year-old, he should be able to put up 20-30 goals and begin to put himself in the conversation as a call-up option if the Vancouver Canucks need a top-six winger.
Prediction for 2023-24 season
55 games played, 26 goals, 21 assists in AHL
One game played in NHL.
One game played in NHL.
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