Faber’s top ten Vancouver Canucks prospect rankings summer 2022 edition: #10-7
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber6 months ago
Now that the dust has settled on the Vancouver Canucks’ development camp and the NHL draft, we have a new outlook on the prospect rankings.
A handful of players impressed in camp and will be moving around in the rankings but we are also basing our placement in the top 10 on what these prospects did last season and how we rate their potential to make an impact at the NHL level.
We are going to be keeping Jack Rathbone in the rankings as he is 23 years old and is still eligible to be recognized as a rookie when he makes his jump to the NHL this season. As for Will Lockwood, though he still qualifies as a rookie, we are going to graduate him from the prospect list. Lockwood is now 24 years old and it’s time for us to start looking at him as a professional hockey player more than a prospect. We’re giving Rathbone one more go at the rankings but he will be off this list hopefully soon.
That all being said, let’s hop into my top-10 rankings and work out what makes these players the top prospects in the Canucks system.
#10: Arturs Silovs, G, 21 years old, 6’2″, 200 lbs
Coming in at number 10 on our list is Latvian goaltender Arturs Silovs. He spent last season with the Abbotsford Canucks in the AHL while also being loaned to the ECHL for 10 starts with the Trois-Rivières Lions.
Silovs has impressed us since the first camp we saw him at — which happened to be training camp in Victoria just months after he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Silovs has length in the crease and is extremely athletic. We saw him show well as a 20-year-old rookie in the AHL last season but because of the emergence of Spencer Martin, Silovs was the odd man out in the trio and needed to be sent down to the ECHL for games because of Mikey DiPietro being ahead of him on the depth chart.
There’s uncertainty around DiPietro’s future as we have seen Rick Dhaliwal report that his agent Darren Ferris has permission from the Canucks to talk to teams and help with a trade. The writing is on the wall for Silovs to move into a battle for the starting role in Abbotsford with newly signed NHL-AHL tweener Collin Delia.
We know that Silovs and goaltending coach Ian Clark have a great relationship. You could see it on display at development camp and from a raw skill view, Silovs looks like the type of goalie that Clark wants to work with. Silovs was able to steal the show for Latvia at the World Championships this past summer when he put up a 0.952% save percentage over four games. He was able to come up big for Latvia after Elvis Merzlikins was letting them down.
This coming season could end up being another challenging one for Silovs but it feels like he has finished the steep part of his early career. Two seasons ago, Silovs played one AHL game through the COVID year and then he only got into 10 AHL games this past season.
With Collin Delia in the mix, Silovs will have to earn his starts this season but his strong performance at the World Championships and continued improvement with Ian Clark’s guidance gives us a real positive outlook into Silovs’ future. If he is able to get 25-35 starts in this season, that would be a massive win for the 21-year-old and sets him up to be the AHL starter for the 2023-24 season.
DiPietro is still in the mix with Abbotsford but we are expecting to see him traded before training camp. If he is not traded, this could put a wrench in Silovs’ AHL usage. We will see how it goes with the AHL goalie situation but we believe that Silovs has the potential to rise to the top by the end of this season if he plays like we believe he can.
#9: Linus Karlsson, RW, 22 years old, 6’1″, 194 lbs
After scoring 26 goals in the SHL and being ninth in scoring out of all the players in Sweden’s top league, Linus Karlsson is coming to North America and we expect him to play a big role in Abbotsford this fall.
There was a lot to like from Karlsson in our first in-person viewings of him at Canucks development camp. He clearly has good hands and possesses a shot that was elite in the SHL and will likely shine in the AHL this fall. We don’t have much doubt that he will have offensive success with Abbotsford this season.
We liked the hands, liked the shot, but do have some concerns about his foot speed. His agility shouldn’t cost him at the AHL level but it will need to improve before we can see him being successful at the NHL level. Luckily for him, Abbotsford skating coach Mackenzi Braid has done an excellent job improving the skating skill of plenty of current Canucks and Karlsson should get a lot of time to work with Braid this fall.
Our expectations for Karlsson is to be a top-six winger in Abbotsford who will definitely be getting power play time but should also get some opportunities on the penalty kill. Getting a chance to help the shorthanded unit in the SHL was rewarding for Karlsson last season as he told us that he was proud to earn the coach’s trust and be used in those defensive situations.
From what we’ve seen at the SHL level as well as in development camp, Karlsson is going to play hard in the corners and he may surprise some people with how physical he can be. It’s not like he is going to throw huge open-ice hits but he is good at being the lower man when heading into a board battle and using a quick stick with good body leverage to push players off the puck and win possession in 50-50 battles.
If he can add some quickness to his feet, we could see Karlsson in the NHL as soon as this season. He’s got some very interesting skills and is a good development story to follow down in Abbotsford with Jeremy Colliton and his crew.
#8: Lucas Forsell, RW, 18 years old, 6’0″, 165 lbs
There are a bunch of reasons to be excited about Lucas Forsell, who is coming off a year where he began the season as a 17-year-old junior player and finished as a pro hockey player with 30 SHL games under his belt. He’s one of the cleanest players you will see as he didn’t take a penalty in those 30 pro games while being impressive on the forecheck and showing the willingness to impose his light body into the corners on much bigger defencemen.
Forsell scored four goals in 30 SHL games and is hoping to be a top-nine SHL forward as soon as this fall after signing a two-year extension with Färjestad. The best traits in his game are the way he sees the ice and his ability to skate around defenders. Forsell is also not afraid to go to the dirty areas and often pays the price due to his lack of size and strength. It’s going to be a long road before we are talking about Forsell coming over to North America but that will give him a couple of years to really work on getting his body ready for the daily grind of AHL or NHL hockey.
We’re expecting a big year for Forsell, who really earned his coach’s trust after Färjestad made a coaching change in the middle of their season. The new coach used Forsell in top-six situations, gave him power play time and really allowed the teenager to flourish in a new role. There was a three-game stretch that saw Forsell score in each of those games recently after the coaching change.
There’s a lot of good offensive instincts in Forsell’s game but the reason that we first really liked his game was just how hard he skates and works. Though he is small, he doesn’t play like it. Forsell will go into the corners, go hard to the net and is not afraid to take physical punishment if the reward is a scoring chance.
In the coming years, he should be able to add weight to his current 6’0″, 165lbs body. Once he adds some size, he is going to be a force on the forecheck and should be very strong in his play on the boards as he already looks like he can fit in at the SHL level.
Forsell is still so young and there’s already a lot to like about his skill and how he plays the game. We will definitely be following him as his season goes on.
7: Aku Koskenvuo, G, 19 years old, 6’5″, 181 lbs
I can’t say this enough, we were blown away with Aku Koskenvuo at Canucks development camp. He is a physical specimen whose legs are as long as the waiting list to a Joey’s in Edmonton. Koskenvuo impressed us in his pre and post-practice work with Ian Clark and as he heads to Harvard next season, there’s a lot to like about the big Finnish goalie.
Koskenvuo had a sub-.900% save percentage in the Finnish J20 league this past season but that is a league that is bombarded with scoring chances. He did not allow a goal in his two games of international play with Finland’s U20 team. It’s a hope for him to be able to represent his country at this December’s World Junior Championships.
There’s just an incredible look to the stances of Koskenvuo. He covers up so much of the net and his extremely long legs make him a goalie coach’s dream to work with.
We believe there was a big push from Clark to management to draft Koskenvuo because he was the goalie that Clark wanted to develop over the coming years. After playing overseas for all of his hockey career, Koskenvuo is coming to Harvard this fall and will be competing for the starter’s role. We will definitely be keeping an eye on Koskenvuo this coming season and have high hopes for what he can do with Ian Clark in his corner. He has all the raw talent in the world and we are excited to let Clarkie cook.
That wraps up the first four players in our top-10 countdown of the Canucks’ top prospects. Tomorrow we will get into the fourth, fifth and sixth best prospects in my eyes.
See you then!
7. Aku Koskenvuo
8. Lucas Forsell
9. Linus Karlsson
10. Arturs Silovs
8. Lucas Forsell
9. Linus Karlsson
10. Arturs Silovs
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