Dave Hall previews the Canucks’ prospects at World Juniors: Canucks Conversation

Photo credit:@orebrohockey on IG
Clarke Corsan
5 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by CanucksArmy’s Dave Hall to preview the World Juniors, which kicks off on December 26th. Canadian Canucks fans’ allegiance may be tested this year as Team Sweden features three Vancouver prospects: Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Tom Willander, and Elias Pettersson, who will compete against Team Canada in the tournament.
Harm: “What should Canucks fans expect from their prospects playing for Sweden at these World Juniors?”
“I guess we’re all honourable Swedes at this point, eh?” Dave answered. “Right off the bat, the focus is going to be Lekkerimaki. I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. There’s obviously a lot of pressure for him to perform in this one; he’s a nineteen-year-old, he’s been doing some great stuff in the SHL. So, as much as we don’t want to say, ‘Don’t take all the stock into a World Junior Tournament,’ I do think this is an important tournament to showcase what he’s been working on at the SHL level.”
“Secondly, Tom Willander,” Dave continued. “Just like Lekkerimaki, I think there’s going to be a lot of expectations as a first-round pick. From everything we’ve seen in the two games they’ve had, I don’t think we’ll see him on the power play. I don’t think we should expect a ton of point production. I think a good tournament for him is showcasing what type of skater he is, how good his gap control is, and overall the toolkit he has rather than just putting up points. I have this fear there’s going to be this huge expectation for him to put points on the board, and I just don’t think that’s what he should be expected to do.”
“Out of all three, although he’s going to be the less utilised prospect, I think Elias Pettersson has the highest potential to surprise quite a few people. He’s going to be playing shutdown minutes on the third pairing and penalty kill, and I just don’t think people have expectations for what he’s going to do. So far, in his two games, he’s looked really solid, a really good two-way defenseman that doesn’t really flash but he’s a no-nonsense guy that gets the job done. I think he’s going to surprise some people with what he can do.”
“Lekkerimaki had a tough tournament last year. What’s going to make this year so much different than last year?” asked Quads.
“Number one is health,” Dave responded. “He’s feeling good, he’s healthy, got his energy back, and he’s ready to produce. He’s also coming in with some good experience; he’s got a full half-year of SHL experience where he hasn’t dominated, but he’s looked really good. Ten goals and 16 points are nothing to scoff at for a 19-year-old. So, he’s coming in with confidence. The thing I love about Sweden is these kids have played together so much, especially this group of forwards. A lot of them are 19 and have so much chemistry together. I think they’re going to come in with something to prove. He’s come a long way, and I think health has a lot to do with it.”
You can watch the full replay of today’s episode in the video below:

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