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Dave Hall breaks down the Canucks prospects’ performances at the World Juniors: Canucks Conversation
1 month ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by CanucksArmy’s Dave Hall for an update on prospects Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Tom Willander, and Elias Pettersson. All three prospects play for Team Sweden, and all three have given Canucks’ fans reasons for optimism. Lekkerimaki scored twice for the Swedes in their 5-2 victory over Czechia in the semifinals, who now look ahead to Friday afternoon for a chance at gold against the States. This is the first time since 2018 Sweden has played in a gold medal game, and on home soil, they’re hungry to bring this one home.
Dave gave his thoughts on Sweden’s performance against the Czechs: “You can tell this group wanted it, especially Lekkerimaki. Every single shift he went out there with purpose. He was buzzing; in the second period, he had 3 shots and then 6 in the 3rd. That 3rd period was absolute domination.”
“What have you learned about Lekkerimaki from this tournament?” asked Harm.
“He’s got some heart,” Dave answered. “He came out with a chip on his shoulder; there’s a lot of pressure on him not only as a first-round pick for the Canucks but also as a third-time World Junior participant, and it’s in Sweden as the host team. If he’s not performing, Sweden is probably not going to be winning. He’s got a ton of pressure on him, and he’s responded extremely well. He had every excuse to mail it in and not work off what he’s already accomplished this year so it’s nice to see him thrive and showcase what he can do.”
Quads: “What have you made of Tom Willander’s tournament so far and the role he’s played?”
“He’s been quiet, but that’s also kind of a good thing,” Dave responded. “If you watch him closely, he hasn’t been that quiet, but I can see how some people think that; he’s not out there doing the flashy things or scoring big goals in the pressure moments. Still, he has a huge presence and is playing a ton of minutes; he’s increased his minutes as the tournament has gone on. Overall, he’s playing a really good shutdown role; he tosses out a few hits every game and doesn’t allow a lot of opponents to get past him. He’s doing a tremendous two-way job, quiet but very effective.”
Quads: “We haven’t talked a lot about Elias Pettersson, or D-Petey, what have you seen from him?”
“He’s the shutdown guy,” said Dave. “He gets at least 1-2 massive hits a game right now and is intimidating the heck out of his opponents. Playing tons of minutes and penalty killing. He’s shocked me with how defensive and aggressive he’s been. I had noticed in his season there are some moments where he’s lackadaisical and not as urgent as we’re seeing him at the World Juniors, so it’s been really good so far. He hasn’t shown much on offence, but there is some there; he has a really good first pass, a pretty decent shot, and he’s a good skater. Overall, there’s a lot to be excited about as a number three defenceman in the NHL for sure.”
You can watch the full segment in the video below:
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