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Joni Jurmo and Dmitry Zlodeyev’s ETAs for the AHL: Recap of day 3 at Canucks development camp

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Faber
By Faber
1 year ago
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It was definitely the quietest day of the week at Canucks development camp.
Day three saw the groups split into their teams that we will see match up against each other on Wednesday night for their end-of-camp scrimmage.
We don’t believe the Canucks tweeted out the rosters, so I’ll just run down the two groups here before we dive into what we saw on the ice and heard from the prospects. This could end up being the rosters for the scrimmage but we weren’t guaranteed it — there may be some changes before the scrimmage.
Group A: Jonathan Lekkerimäki, Vilmer Alriksson, Josh Bloom, Christian Fitzgerald, Lucas Forsell, Matthew Barbolini, Jackson Kunz, Lynden Breen, Kirill Kudryavtsev, Akito Hirose, Hunter Brzusrewicz, Jackson Dorrington, Hugo Gabrielson, Joni Jurmo, Aiden Celebrini, Nikita Tolopilo, and Ty Young.
Group B: Jacob MAillet, Matthew Perkins, Max Sasson, Ty Mueller, Colby Saganiuk, Max Namestnikov, Cooper Walker, Jack Randl, Dmitry Zlodeyev, Elias Pettersson, Sawyer Mynio, Cole McWard, Quinn Schmiemann, Tom Willander, Christian Felton, Chad Nychuk, Mathis Rousseau, Sam Richard, and Aku Koskenvuo.
We have a lot to get to in terms of off-ice stuff, so let’s just breeze through the on-ice portion of the recap because there wasn’t really a ton to get into. The drills we saw on Wednesday saw a lot of work focused on positioning as well as rotations in the offence and neutral zones. There was a small three-on-three scrimmage and we have some clips from that to share but I’ll be honest, this on-ice recap won’t be that long but we did speak with Joni Jurmo, Dmitry Zlodeyev, and Nikita Tolopilo — we will spend a good amount of this article speaking on our conversations at camp with those prospects.
Lucas Forsell continues to impress in his play throughout camp. He’s been getting better and better as the camp goes on and we had a short conversation about his hopes for next season before he was taken away to go for a team workout.
Forsell talked about how last year, he was on the hottest line in the SHL for a month and hopes to be with the same linemates this coming season. Forsell has been with the same organization throughout his junior career and is now set to be a full-time SHLer and is hoping to be a lock in Färjestad’s top-six next year.
“I feel a lot better,’ said Forsell on his outlook for the 2023-24 season. “I know the coaching staff really well. I’ve had two seasons with them now and I got much more confidence from them last year. The playoff experience was huge, and the last games of the season as well, it was tough to get into that top-six and those games at the end of the regular season were like playoff games for us. I feel a lot of confidence in myself now. I know I’m really capable of playing the way I did like after Christmas. That’s a level I want to play for the whole season. And maybe take another step or two.”
Forsell had 13 goals in his first 27 SHL games after Christmas. He was the hottest U25 scorer in the SHL during that timeframe and we still need to remember that he just 19 years old. Getting locked in a top-six role next season will be huge as he will turn 20 just as the SHL year is beginning.
There’s one year left on Forsell’s SHL contract. After that, he may be on a year-by-year contract situation in Sweden because there’s a good chance that the Canucks want to get him over to Abbotsford to develop his game for the NHL.
A name that keeps coming up at this development camp is Christian Fitzgerald. We’ve talked about him a bit in each of the past two recaps and we will talk about him once again today. He has been the most consistent forward throughout the camp and there’s an argument to be made that he’s been the best player on the ice after three days.
As a camp invitee, the Canucks are getting their foot in the door with him and his advisors before he heads into his second NCAA season and there’s a good chance he decided to turn pro at the conclusion of the year and will be looked at as one of the top college free agents. It’s great that the Canucks have him here ta camp and the fact that he is from Coquitlam gives the Canucks a step up on the competing bidders when he becomes a free agent.
Let’s hit my notes and see who else caught my eye on day three.
  1. Nikita Tolopilo is a monster. We had a media scrum with him and he made me feel short. (I’m 6’4″). Ian Clark likes this kid. He will get a good year of development in this season with Abbotsford.
  2. Jonathan Lekkerimäki had some rust on day one but has continued to improve throughout the camp. His shot really popped during day three’s skate. This kid needs some confidence before he heads back into the SHL this fall. There’s also the summer showcase tournament for him. That tournament begins on July 21 — just a couple of weeks from now.
  3. Though he hasn’t blown us away, there’s just a lot to like about Kirill Kudryavtsev. He’s so calm with the puck on his stick but we did notice that he has to gain a lot of power on his shot before he can be looked at as a true NHL prospect. A season in the OHL as the premier number-one defenceman with the Soo Greyhounds should definitely help him.
  4. It was another good day for Jackson Dorrington. He’s probably the toughest player on the ice and we want to see how physical he plays in Wednesday night’s scrimmage. We are kind of hoping that he doesn’t hold back. He could throw some huge hits against these other prospects if he decided to let loose on his teammates.
  5. Jackson Kunz’ shot looked good on day three. It’s certainly his best attribute but didn’t really show it off on days one and two. Today, his shot was popping off. It’s a heavy shot but takes a while to load up.
  6. As the prospects split into groups, the big takeaway from the teams was that Elias Pettersson and Tom Willander have a chance to be defence partners. They were spending a lot fo time together during group B’s skate and if they are on the same team for the scrimmage, we would love to see the two Swede’s skate together.
Now that we’ve handled the on-ice stuff, let’s get into our conversations with Jurmo, Tolopilo, and Zlodeyev.
We will kick things off with Tolopilo. The 6’6″ Belarussian goaltender had ridiculously good numbers in the Allsvenskan (Sweden’s second-division) last season. Tolopilo led the Allsvenskan in games played with 45 and held strong numbers with a 2.10 goals against average along with his 0.924% save percentage and four shutouts.
Tolopilo had many NHL teams interested in him but chose Vancouver because of goaltending director/coach Ian Clark and AHL goalie/development coach Marko Torenius.
“There were some [NHL] teams to choose from and the biggest reason why I chose Vancouver was because of Ian [Clark],” said Tolopilo when asked about his decision to sign with the Canucks. “I’m super excited to work with him and Marko [Torenius]. I really believe that will help me to make another couple of steps in my development.”
When asked about his big workload from last season, Tolopilo cracked a smile and just said that he loves to play in games. He spoke about learning how to manage a busy schedule this past season in Sweden and that he likes to add small things here and there to be able to support himself in being able to play a lot of games in a year. Tolopilo also mentioned that he has worked with former NHL goaltender David Aebischer and was able to ask him for some advice on coming to North America.
Ian Clark loves this kid’s size and we’ve noticed that he moves extremely well compared to the other goaltenders at the development camp.
We caught up with Joni Jurmo and asked him about his goals for next season. He has a one-year deal with the Liiga powerhouse Ilves and said that he is going there because he will have the same coach that he had for the 2022 World Juniors and that the coach wanted him to come to play with Ilves. Jurmo also mentioned that he is looking forward to the challenge of playing on a bigger and better Liiga team.
“Ilves is a bigger, more challenging place to play,” said Jurmo. “I have to battle for my ice time and I feel like that’s what I need right now in my in my career.”
Jurmo mentioned that his coach is looking to lean on Jurmo’s biggest strength, which is his ability to skate with the puck on his stick. It will be interesting to follow Jurmo’s season because in our years of watching him as a teenager, the best he has looked was when he played in the World Juniors.
We asked Jurmo what he is looking to accomplish in what he hopes is his last year in Finland.
“I want to improve on all aspects,” said Jurmo. “My ice time was almost there, I need to be closer to 20 minutes and at Ilves, I need it to be close to 20 minutes [a night]. I think the points will come because it’s such a good offensive team. I have a plan that I’m going play one more year in Liiga and then my plan is to come over here so that’s what I’m aiming for.”
We followed up and asked if he would be willing to play in the AHL.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah, yeah, yeah. That would be unreal,” said Jurmo.
Now finally, we did what we promised and went to talk to Dmitry Zlodeyev. His English is not the best but we are lucky to have a relationship with him and he was willing to talk to us. Zlodeyev confirmed that he signed a two-year KHL contract this summer and will be joining Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk this season.
In the past, Zlodeyev has told us that it is his dream to come to North America and play professional hockey. He has also said that the AHL is an option that he would be willing to do and in fact would look forward to being able to play in the AHL.
His new team should give him a lot of ice time as they will look to the 21-year-old to help bolster their centre position. We will be following closely how Zlodeyev performs this season as he fell off our radar a bit last year but had shown up to development camp and looked like one of the top forwards on each day.
That wraps up another recap from Canucks development camp. The morning skate has been cancelled for Wednesday but the 40-man group will split into two teams and compete in a scrimmage at 6:00 pm on Wednesday.
Limited tickets are available as the rink is small so use this tweet to get to the link and use code ‘CAMP23’ to unlock your access to the tickets.
Maybe we will see you there! If you see me, please come say hey! (If I’m not busy getting clips from the scrimmage)
We will recap the scrimmage Wednesday night and hopefully will have access to all of the goals scored from the prospects battling.

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