Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Hall provides updates on prospects Podkolzin, Lekkerimäki, and Aatu Räty: Canucks Conversation
26 days ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by CanucksArmy’s Dave Hall for the latest on Vancouver’s prospects.
Quads kicked off the discussion: “Is there anybody in Abbotsford that could be a legitimate top 6 upgrade that they could call up right now?”
Dave: “The short answer is no. There are two different questions here; the one you’re asking is top 6, and there’s if they can come up and play in the NHL at all – the answer to that is yes. But in the top 6, that’s a lot to ask from any of these guys. I don’t think I’ve seen anything from any of them that suggests they could just hop in right now in a pretty critical time in the season and play top 6.
Quads: “How is Podkolzin doing this season?”
Dave: “The first half of the season was going pretty well. Between October and December 31st, he scored 16 points in 21 games coming off an intense head injury. In January, he’s got 4 points in 10 games and overall hasn’t shown anything that could suggest he would contribute stepping into the NHL. He’s a volume shooter, we love all the shots he’s taking; that hasn’t been an issue. The issue has been his inability to score off those shots. He’s the only person in Abbotsford to surpass the 100 shot mark, and a game where we don’t see him get 2 shots on net is a rare one, but we haven’t seen him score goals from it. It’s one of those things where he’s getting a lot of shots, but he just hasn’t produced the points. That’s concerning. The question is if he can come in and play low-utilize minutes, do the old Podkolzin thing that we’re used to, that’s one thing. Asking him to come in and play some top 6 minutes and hope to contribute to this offense is a little suspect.”
Harm: “How has Autu Raty performed this year? He has 23 points in 38 games, which is solid in the sense that it’s the type of production that typically leads to a future NHL career, but given that he’s 21, it’s not the type of production that screams future top 6, or even middle 6 potential. Where are you at with the season as a whole, and the big picture potential of the NHL player he could be one day?”
Dave: “It’s the same as Podkolzin; his numbers are fine, but in terms of that elite prospect we’re hoping for, it’s just not up to snuff. For Raty, there’s been flashing mid-season when he was moved to the wing, looked fantastic, the issue was that he wasn’t the one driving the play. As much as I like a lot of his game – he’s got really good vision, he’s been utilizing a lot of quick passes, he’s been on the vision; so there are elements we like in his game. Overall, the thing that really concerns me is his projectable future at the center position. His skating concerns me; it’s gotten better since last year but it still feels like he’s trying to catch up all the time. From what I’ve seen, I find he’s more productive when he’s on the wing, which I know isn’t what everyone wants to hear. I haven’t seen anything in his game that suggests he can hop in this year, either.
Quads: “What should we make of Danila Klimovich?”
Dave: “At this point, I don’t think you can take too much into anything that’s happened this season. It’s been so tough for him; he’s been battling injuries, when he’s not battling injuries he’s battling healthy scratches, when he is in the lineup he’s getting fourth-line minutes. There’s just not a lot there to go off, right now it’s more about getting him back on track and his confidence going and hope he can have a better second half. I’d like to see him slot in on the power play at some moment; Klimovich is playing his best hockey when he’s not only forechecking but when he’s taking shots, and he’s not getting that chance to take a lot of shots.”
Harm: “What type of timeline do you expect for Lekkerimaki?”
Dave: “Let’s see how it goes next year, around Christmas, around this time of the year is when you start to take a long look at how his first half has been, how the Canucks are looking, if it’s worth it. I don’t see the point in trying to speed up the process; at this point, he’s had a really good season, but there’s still so much to learn and translate into the North American game. Let’s get him over, have a good summer with the Canucks development team, get him in Abbotsford and see where we are at Christmas. Hopefully, he translates seamlessly, and we have him up scoring goals at the NHL level by January next year, but I think it’s more realistic to give him that wiggle room.”
You can watch the full segment in the video below:
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