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Josh Bloom gets tips for Abbotsford and Jackson Dorrington looks good ahead of the WJSS: Day two recap from Canucks development camp

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Faber
By Faber
9 months ago
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Day two of the on-ice portion of Canucks development camp is in the books and we saw some prospects continue to impress with Wednesday’s scrimmage just around the corner.
Let’s just dive right in today and talk about what we liked from some of the prospects in attendance.
Jonathan Lekkerimäki found his shot on day two. The 18-year-old Swedish winger had a bit more jump in his stride Monday after shaking off the rust on Sunday. Lekkerimäki has a couple of different go-to shots and he used both of them early and often during Tuesday’s skate. The forwards were on the ice first and Lekkerimäki shined in the morning skate. He looked to have a bit more pace in his game and used both his loaded shot and quick shot to beat goalies during drills.
Lekkerimäki’s two go-to shots are when he loads up weight onto his stick and releases a harder wrist shot that is very difficult for goalies to react to. This shot is the one he often uses on the power play and he typically shoots for top corners when he has the added power. In a lot of Monday’s drills, Lekkerimäki was doing his quick little flick of wrist shot — this is the shot he usually uses to beat goaltenders over the pads and under the glove or blocker.
We saw Lekkerimäki and Tom Willander matchup a lot during today’s drills and the two first-round picks pushed each other during many of the drills. Willander used his strong pace to win a lot of those battles and on top of being quicker, he showed that he had a strength advantage on Lekkerimäki during many of the times they matched up.
One of the standouts from day one rode his momentum into day two as Dmitri Zlodeyev once again looked like a top forward on the ice. Zlodeyev and Lucas Forsell spent a lot of time together during drills and even had a good laugh together after their skate was done. The two players are extremely aggressive during drills and you can tell that they do not take any shifts off — even if it’s just at a summer development camp. I personally love to see players like Zlodeyev and Forsell bring the competitive level up in this type of camp scenario.
Zlodeyev has been locked in with his shot and is often beating goalies through the one and two holes. We’ve liked a lot of what we’ve seen from Forsell and Zlodeyev and the two should definitely play together during the scrimmage. That would make for a fun line that will bring a ton of energy to every shift.
In general, it felt like the players’ shots were more accurate on day two. The goalies all were on-ice a couple of days prior to the players joining them and you could tell there was some rust on the players’ shots during day one’s skate. On day two, players like Forsell, Zlodeyev, Lekkerimäki, Max Sasson, Jackson Dorrington, Cole McWard, Christian Fitzgerald, and Ty Mueller all consistently found the back of the net on their shots. We will touch on each of them later in the quick hit recap of the day.
Let’s spend a bit of time here talking about Jackson Dorrington. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Dorrington was selected in the sixth round of the 2022 draft and played his first NCAA season last year alongside Aidan McDonough at Northeastern. Dorrington is a 6’2″, left-shot defenceman but in our viewings of him last season, we saw him spend a lot of time on the right-side of his defence pairing.
Dorrington is one of the four players at this camp who have been invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase — Hunter Brzustewicz, Elias Pettersson and Lekkerimäki are the other three. Dorrington is an American and played his junior hockey in the USHL. He finished his freshman year at Northeastern with 35 games played and added six assists. He’s a big, tough defenceman who’s best trait is his physicality. There were some really good board battles on Monday that featured Dorrington, including one with Willander that saw both of the teenagers giving 100% on their cross-checks in the corner.
Getting a chance to play with team USA at the summer showcase will be a great opportunity for Dorrington to get more eyes on him and his play style. He’s a long-term project for the Canucks’ pipeline but you have to like his profile of being a big defenceman who loves to protect his crease and hates when the opposition gets near his goalie.
Dorrington played on Northeastern’s penalty kill as a freshman and with many of the Huskies’ defencemen graduating or moving on to pro hockey, he should get even more minutes and be relied upon as more of a leader in the defence corps.
We will be seeing his name a lot more in our Blackfish reports this coming season.
None of the goalies really caught our eye on day two. The skaters kind of won the day if you want to call it that but there were some other tidbits that I took notes on and let’s bang them out quickly here and call it a day!
  1. I really liked the way that Hugo Gabrielson shot the puck today. He had a lot of power behind his shot and had a couple of times where he went post and in during some drills that featured point shots. In the final skate of the day, the defencemen spent a lot of time working on their wrist shots from the top of the zone and Gabrielson was one of the best shooters in the crop. Gabrielson was a sixth-round pick in 2021 and is expected to be back with Västerviks in the Allsvenskan next season. He had a shoulder injury that delayed his start date this past year and finished the season with six assists in 35 games.
  2. Another defenceman who had a good-looking shot during the final skate of the day was Cole McWard. He was making a conscious effort to be keeping his eyes up with the puck on his stick. You saw a lot of the defence prospects need to keep their eyes down on the puck but McWard was one that stuck out as he always had his eyes up during that point-shot drill.
  3. Tom Willander continues to show off his speed. The kid is clearly the best skater on the ice at this development camp.
  4. Joni Jurmo was better on day two. He has such a good set of skills but we need to see him put it all together in a game scenario. Jurmo had some of the stronger shots during the defencemen point-shot drills and he looked good in some of the full-ice skating drills that the defencemen ran through.
  5. There was a two-against-five drill where the two try to cut off the five from exiting the zone after a dump-in. Max Sasson and Josh Bloom were the two and they just dominated possession and even got a scoring chance off while outnumbered five-to-two. Sasson-Bloom for PK time in Abby next year. Bet on that.
  6. Aiden Celebrini was strong throughout the drills today. He doesn’t really have a certain skill that sticks out in this bunch but he seems to be just very solid at everything. He was one of the players who did a good job of keeping his eyes up with the puck on his stick — in a similar way to what we talked about with McWard earlier.
  7. I don’t think we’ve had Daimon Gardner on the ice through the first days and I stand to be corrected but I don’t believe that Jacob Truscott was on the ice for day two. Truscott was definitely on the ice on day one but I either didn’t notice him on day two, or he wasn’t out there.
  8. Akito Hirose earned the biggest cheer of the day as his team was a closely contested drill that saw the losing team have to do some skating for the loss. He spoke about the big win, “It was a nine-seven game. You get a point for a shot on net, two points for a goal and a single point for a block. We were at nine, the other team was at seven. I was like ‘Man, it’d be electric if I ended this with a shot block. Sass [Max Sasson] had the puck and I just baited him into shooting it and that was probably the second shot block my career. But you know what, I’ll take it.”
  9. Lynden Breen is a 22-year-old camp invite from the NCAA. He had 21 goals and 15 assists to be a point-per-game player in his 36 games last season. Breen had a hell of a finish to his season, with five goals and five assists in his final five games. He’s 5’9″, so the size clearly isn’t there but I thought he handled the puck extremely well on Monday and had some good finished during drills.
  10. Kirill Kudryavtsev looks like he’s got a lot of confidence at this camp. He is at his best when the puck is on his stick and he may be the most consistent passer on the defence corps through the first two days. He is very good at receiving and passing pucks. There’s just a calmness to how he handles the biscuit.
  11. Ty Young was probably our goalie of the day. None of the goalies really stuck out but Young looked like he was moving well and made some big glove saves during some the drills along with the small ice three-on-three.
  12. Ty Mueller caught our eye on day one and the 2023 fourth-round pick was good again on day two. He’s also been pretty impressive with how he handles the puck. The 20-year-old did have 25 points in 34 NCAA games last season — he’s been impressive through the first two days of camp.
Tuesday’s skate should see the competition level rise even higher and with Wednesday’s scrimmage just down the hall, we expect to see the prospects kick it into high gear so that they can show off their skills.
One final note. It was a full house at the rink today. The viewing area was full of fans and almost all of the management staff was in attendance. Today, we saw head coach Rick Tocchet and owner Francesco Aquilini in attendance as well.
We will be back tomorrow to recap what we see from day three of camp. Be sure to check back around 4:00 pm tomorrow to get day three’s recap article here at CanucksArmy.

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