Canucks Prospect Rewind: An incredibly slow year for Aku Koskenvuo doesn’t worry us one bit
Photo credit:@michaelriley.arw on IG
By Faber3 months ago
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One of the Vancouver Canucks’ lesser-known favourite prospects is 6’5″, Finnish goaltender Aku Koskenvuo.
Koskenvuo was drafted in the fifth round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and just wrapped up his first year at Harvard.
It certainly wasn’t a good statistical year for the 20-year-old netminder, who only played in a couple of games with Harvard, and his stats aren’t even really worth mentioning. (they weren’t good)
On top of his freshman season with Harvard, Koskenvuo played in the World Junior Championships with Finland and got into two games, both being losses, against Switzerland and USA.
Koskenvuo is not a ready-now prospect. He is a long-term project who was hand-picked by goaltending coach Ian Clark and when we got to see Clark work with Koskenvuo at development camp last summer, there were some flexibility and movement things that we loved in his game.
I’ve made it clear that I am not a goalie expert, and honestly, I don’t even really like the position. It’s certainly the last spot I’d want to play and it feels like a position where even the best fall down sometimes and have to rebuild their game in the middle of their careers.
One thing we quickly saw with Koskenvuo that made sense was his flexibility. Now, as I’ve said, I’m not a goalie expert but I do spend a lot of time listening to Kevin Woodley or InGoal magazine talk. There’s something that Ian Clark likes with his goalies and it’s the ability to have both pads flush on the ice and be able to cover post to post. Koskenvuo is able to do this and when you see him without gear on, he literally looks like the perfect body type for a goaltending coach to want to work with.
Koskenvuo has long legs and arms and still remains athletic and flexible. He doesn’t have all the mechanics locked in that you want to see from a professional goalie but Koskenvuo is still a couple of years away from going pro.
Honestly, there’s not a lot to recap about his year. He played a couple of games in the NCAA but was the third-string goalie behind some veteran NCAA backstops. Then, at the WJC, he was the backup who got into a couple of games but was unable to get hot at the right time and seize the starter’s role.
This coming season is where we are excited to follow the kid.
With Harvard’s starter moving to pro, Koskenvuo is now in a battle for the starter’s job and if he is able to win that role or even be a steady contributor, we expect him to impress with his raw athleticism and skill. Development camp will be a great opportunity for Koskenvuo to work with Ian Clark and be able to put together a development plan for if he is the starter or if he is the backup at Harvard.
We hope to see him in the crease for Harvard but know that his competition for the starter’s role (Derek Mullahy) has been with Harvard for the past two seasons as their backup. Mullahy was also 5-0-0 last season with a 1.70 goals-against-average and it may take a slip-up for Koskenvuo to get the crease for a stretch next season.
We look at Koskenvuo playing two more seasons in the NCAA before jumping into the AHL and working his way up the depth chart there. We just simply just Ian Clark’s expertise and have to think that there’s something there with Koskenvuo aside from just the length and athleticism.
Arturs Silovs was similar in the way that he was very athletic and long as a teenager but allowed a lot of bad goals early on in his pro career. Koskenvuo isn’t going to be a speedy developer like Silovs but we like the slow burn with this kid and he gets an opportunity to earn a Harvard degree in his development process.
If he can get some starts and look good, he will earn himself some more starts but for now, we are just excited to see him get time with Ian Clark at development camp and then build a development plan for next season.
We hope to see Koskenvuo as the starter for the 2024-25 season with Harvard but for now, let’s just celebrate his wins in a year where there still aren’t very high expectations for production. He’s so young and Clark is beginning to show that he has the book on developing netminders. I say, let him cook.
Predictions for 2023-24 season
Nine starts, 0.894% save percentage, 3.32 GAA in NCAA.
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