Karlsson’s feed to Nils Höglander, a World Juniors wrap, and more, in Blackfish: The CanucksArmy Prospect Report
Photo credit:Nick Barden
By Faber1 year ago
We’re back again with another Blackfish Prospects Report here at CanucksArmy.
We will look back at the week that was for Canucks prospects and continue to look ahead to see where certain prospects will be playing as well as what our expectations are for them with their 2022-23 teams.
Let’s take a trip around the Canucks’ prospect pool!
World Junior Wrap
The 2022 World Junior Championships concluded on Saturday night with Canada beating Finland in an exciting gold medal match that saw the game go to overtime.
Left-shot defenceman Joni Jurmo wrapped up his junior career with a silver medal around his neck.
Jurmo’s strengths were on display throughout the tournament as he used his high-end skating to get away from the U20 competition with ease. He was the fifth-most used defenceman for Finland in the gold medal game and was one of the best on their team at breaking out the puck.
We saw a single assist in seven WJC games for the 20-year-old defenceman and he will now report to his pro team Jukurit in the Finnish Liiga.
Last season was a difficult one for Jurmo as he began the year as one of the biggest minute munchers on Jukurit but saw his role and minutes drastically drop as the season went on. Over the first nine games of the 2021-22 Liiga season, Jurmo averaged 20:37 of ice time per game. He struggled with decision-making and that resulted in a plethora of scoring chances and goals against. Over the final 13 games of the season, Jurmo only averaged 8:16 of ice time.
He will need to lean on his strengths while working on his weaknesses to earn the trust back from the coaches at Jukurit as he moves into his sophomore season as a pro in Finland’s top league.
Next up is the Canucks’ top prospect Jonathan Lekkerimäki. Sweden beat Czechia in the bronze medal game at the WJC and Lekkerimäki finished the tournament with three assists.
It was a relatively quiet tournament for the 18-year-old but we now look forward to the beginning of the Allsvenskan season, where Lekkerimäki will be relied upon to be one of the offensive leaders for Djurgårdens. Lekkerimäki is one of five drafted players on Djurgårdens. The team will compete hard to get back into the SHL and Lekkerimäki should get top-six minutes as well as significant time on the power play.
As for his play at the WJC, there were some games where he looked very engaged in the play but other times where it looked like his teammates had to develop the play for Lekkerimäki to get involved. It’s clear that he has a powerful shot that shines with the man-advantage. There were many shifts where he just was too much of a perimeter player who didn’t work hard enough. This perimeter style of play was a trend throughout team Sweden and it will be interesting to follow Lekkerimäki’s play when he returns to Djurgårdens.
The final WJC player is American defenceman Jacob Truscott, who had a strong tournament for a player who didn’t find the scoresheet.
Truscott is now on his way back to Michigan, where he will be Luke Hughes’ partner on what is expected to be one of the best defensive pairings in the NCAA. Truscott will continue to grow his game in his third NCAA season and we are beginning to believe that going pro at the end of this season could be a possibility.
There’s a lot to work to go for Truscott before we have confidence that he can be a pro player but this season should be very telling on how far away his game is from making the jump from the NCAA to the AHL.
Sweden always gets its own heading
Let’s start with a quick highlight out of Sweden that caught our attention last week.
In an exhibition game, Linus Karlsson set up Nils Höglander for a sassy through-the-legs goal.
Now, let’s get to the top right-shot defenceman in the system, Jonathan Myrenberg continues his play with his Allsvenskan loan team Mora. He played second pairing minutes in another exhibition game that saw them fall 6-2.
It was a quiet string of games for Myrenberg this week but he did see a bit of time on the penalty kill and that was a nice change from his first game with Mora. His skating continues to shine in exhibition play, we continue to have our expectations met and exceeded from watching him play with his new team. It’s still just pre-season exhibition play but the early returns on what type of impact he will have this season are high for the 19-year-old Swede.
Our belief is that the Canucks could end up having three prospects for Sweden at this coming winter’s WJC.
One of the other names we are keeping an eye on for that WJC team is Lucas Forsell. He is without a game this week but we found the stats from his exhibition game on the 13th of August and were happy to see him total up 14:26 of ice time, including 4:23 on Färjestad’s power play. He scored in that game and will continue to work on securing a spot in the SHL team’s top-nine group.
Our last Swedish prospect to talk about this week is 18-year-old, left-shot defenceman, Elias Pettersson, who was on his SHL team’s fourth defence pairing twice in the past week. It’s exhibition season, so the team is icing eight defencemen but you’ll see SHL teams use seven defencemen in regular season play once we get there.
The new Pettersson played under 10 minutes in both games and didn’t really have much of a positive or negative impact. It’s nice to see the 18-year-old in SHL action and we will see what happens with his ice time once the regular season commences.
The Canucks will have five of their prospects playing in the NCAA this season. So, as the college season is fast-approaching, let’s have a quick look at each of the four players and their expected roles with their teams.
Goaltender Aku Koskenvuo is heading to Harvard to fight for the starting role. He will be in tough as Harvard is returning their starter from last season. Koskenvuo is ultra-talented and should become the starter for Harvard eventually but it would surprise us to see him win that role to begin the 2022-23 season.
The biggest name of the Canucks’ NCAA prospects is Aidan McDonough. The fifth-ranked prospect in the Canucks’ system is coming into his fourth year with Northeastern and is expected to be one of the top-scoring players in college hockey this season. He will be captaining the Huskies as they embark on a season where the players hold high hopes for a shot at a national championship. McDonough will be the trigger man on the power play, where he is lethal from the right half-wall.
Sticking with the Northeastern Huskies, 2022 sixth-round pick Jackson Dorrington is making his debut in NCAA hockey and from speaking with some sources around the Huskies, there is an expectation for Dorrington to play a lot as the Huskies will be seeing big turnover on their defence core from last season. Dorrington is a 6’2″, left-shot defenceman who is known for playing a smart game with a focus on being defensively responsible.
McDonough and Dorrington will be playing in front of Devon Levi, the best goalie in the NCAA — this should help make their defensive numbers look even better and it will be interesting to see how Dorrington can transition to this new level of hockey.
We’ve already talked about Truscott, who will continue to have a big role with Michigan this season.
Jack Malone is a 6’1″, right-shot centre who showed well at development camp after having a relatively quiet freshman season with Cornell last year. He is now going into his sophomore season as a 21-year-old and should be a top-six contributor.
Malone scored eight goals and added 12 assists in 32 games last season. We’re going to keep an eye on his production and will talk about him more if he starts to grow his offensive game. As we mentioned, he looked good at development camp and is down the list of top prospects but will have our attention this season more than he did last year.
That’s it for this week’s Blackfish Report.
We will be back with more next week and are looking to chat with a couple of prospects to bring some quotes for next week’s article.
Here’s the video to go with the article, be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, subscribe and, drop a like to let my boss’s boss know that you enjoy the Blackfish YouTube videos!
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