Danila Klimovich has made significant improvements but still has a tough road to get to the NHL: CanucksArmy prospect rankings #4
Photo credit:James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber7 months ago
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Something has clicked for Danila Klimovich down in the AHL. He has become a much more engaged hockey player instead of just trying to be a sniper.
There are mountains of potential in Klimovich’s game but his play away from the puck gave us worry about him developing correctly in the AHL.
In year two with the Abbotsford Canucks, Klimovich is beginning to figure out what he needs to work on and is being rewarded for his raised effort level instead of having an atrabilious temperament when things don’t go his way during a game. He’s been able to control his emotions and lock in on playing the right way to have success on a line instead of simply as an individual. He’s far from perfect, but we’re starting to see a new version of Klimovich this year and this version of the Belarussian looks like he has NHL potential.
Let’s dive into our fourth-ranked Canucks prospect, Danila Klimovich.
Klimovich is a 6’2″ right winger who was drafted 41st overall by the Canucks in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He just turned 20 years old in January and has now been in North America for about 15 months.
This kid had a great U18 tournament before his draft and has good size to go with a great shot. One of the more underrated parts of his game is his playmaking ability, and of late, he has shown some top-end speed that is impressive.
We saw a tough adjustment year in his rookie season where Klimovich put up eight goals and 10 assists in 62 games. He was a healthy scratch for Abbotsford in the AHL playoffs and the season ended on a bit of a sour note. This year began with a lot of the same warts showing up in Klimovich’s game. He was not engaged in the defensive zone and still needed to be fed the puck for a scoring chance. Something clicked for Klimovich after a few healthy scratches early in the season, and he has looked much better over the past 30 games.
Klimovich came to the AHL as an 18-year-old kid with a good shot and has grown into a 20-year-old with a bright future. He can’t take his foot off the gas pedal when it comes to developing the weaker parts of his game and he is still occasionally a player at the end of the bench for Abbotsford Canucks Head Coach Jeremy Colliton. Klimovich needs to continue to make his adjustments to improve as an all-around hockey player instead of just working on improving his top skills. There’s a lot of room to grow for Klimovich but he already has one heck of a release on both his wrist shot and slap shot.
Let’s just begin with the best thing in Klimovich’s game — his shot.
The kid can absolutely rip the puck and though he struggled with consistency last season, he is beginning to be a much more dependable shooter this season.
For example, this would likely have not been a goal last season.
In conjunction with the improvements he’s made away from the puck, he has found another level of consistency this season with his shot.
Power play time has been sparse for Klimovich aside from the past few weeks. He has created a lot of his offence at five-on-five this season but still can be a nice piece on a power play unit. It’s definitely a spot where you want to see him grow in. It just felt like Jeremy Colliton wanted Klimovich to prove that he was deserving of the power play time instead of just handing it to him at the beginning of the season.
This next clip is a perfect example of Klimovich being rewarded for his effort on the forecheck.
Klimovich is actually an impressive forechecker when he is fresh and engaged. He has a long reach and can be physical when he needs to be.
He has all the tools that could lead to him being a successful NHLer, but there just needs to be a high amount of time and attention put into developing him. This is a massive task for the Canucks’ development staff because it’s so clear that this kid could become something but still needs a lot of work and advice on how to get there.
Though he is a shoot-first player, we have seen a lot of very good passes from Klimovich this year. Whether it be through the neutral zone. from the corners of the offensive zone, or off the rush — Klimovich’s passing is probably the most underrated part of his game.
Here are a few more Klimo-clips before we dive into when we expect to see him get a chance at the NHL level.
From the clips, you’d believe that this kid is elite, and he might end up being that one day. But the worry is about the stuff that doesn’t make it on Twitter. That being said, we haven’t seen nearly as many faults in Klimovich’s game as of late. He still takes too many penalties and is at times rudderless in his own zone at the end of a shift, but all in all, it’s been a great year for Klimovich’s development, and if he can continue to grow and find an extra gear, he will be an NHLer.
Our expectation for Klimovich to get into some regular shifts at the NHL level is near the end of the 2023-24 season.
There may be a spot for him to get a taste of the NHL this season but we don’t believe that he is ready for an extended look just yet. Klimovich has been on a great track for his development this season and we hope to see that continue for the next 12-14 months. If he continues to improve at the rate he has this season, we expect to see him in the NHL sometime around March 2024.
Consistency is key for Klimovich and that’s what we want to see over the next year. He needs to stay consistent in his offseason workouts, his practice habits, and continue his willingness to address the weaker part of his game instead of just looking to improve at shooting the puck.
If he’s able to tie this all together, we could see Klimovich playing in a top-nine role for the Vancouver Canucks one day. If he can get his shot to be more consistent and look as good in games as it does in practice, we think that Klimovich could be a solid finisher alongside Elias Pettersson one day. This should be the goal for Klimovich, and having that carrot in front of him certainly has to motivate the 20-year-old.
This concludes our fourth-ranked prospect report. We will be back tomorrow as we head into the top-three of our rankings!
- Danila Klimovich
- Lucas Forsell
- Aidan McDonough
- Linus Karlsson
- Filip Johansson
- Jacob Truscott
- Arshdeep Bains
Honourable Mentions: Aku Koskenvuo, Joni Jurmo, Connor Lockhart, and Kirill Kudryavtsev.
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