Monday Mailbag: Abbotsford’s best replacement for Mikheyev, the Canucks’ break, and Jonathan Lekkerimäki’s future

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
1 year ago
Well, that was arguably the wildest week I’ve ever seen since I started covering this team.
Over the past seven days, the Canucks have fired Bruce Boudreau and Trent Cull, hired Rick Tocchet, Sergei Gonchar, and Adam Foote, got destroyed by the Seattle Kraken, won two games, extended Andrei Kuzmenko on a two-year deal with an average annual value of $5,500,000, shut down Ilya Mikheyev due to an ACL injury that requires surgery, and on top of it all, Reddit user CleanerHubby got this tattoo and posted it with the caption, “I’m a franchise”.
I think die-hards and casual fans can come together on something…
The Canucks desperately need this All-Star break.
The fact that Patrik Allvin held a media availability at 9:35 pm on the Friday going into the week off was just the stem, on top of the cherry, on top of the icing, on top of the cake, on top of the table, on top of the floor that was this wacky week in Canuckland.
Now we sit and wait for Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat to take part in the All-Star week festivities and show off their skill. The All-Star break is typically a slow week for trades as it feels like a week off for many in the hockey world. We will have to see what that means for the Canucks though, as they have been anything but predictable this season.
We will be dropping our first prospect ranking of 2023 over the next 10 days, so I’m excited about that. I’m also excited to get to some of the great questions from the tremendous people of #CanucksTwitter.
So, without wasting any more words, let’s get to the mailbag!
My expectation is that the Canucks will call up Vasily Podkolzin sometime after he plays what I expect to be his final AHL game on February 4th. The Vancouver Canucks are not in action until February 6th and having a fresh Podkolzin jump into the lineup would be a nice boost for the here and now. He’s likely the best long-term option for the team as well.
Personally, I’d go with Linus Karlsson for a test to see how he performs on a line with Andrei Kuzmenko and Elias Pettersson. I’m pretty damn confident that Podkolzin is going to be the better NHL player in the long run but Karlsson has been marinating in the AHL all season long and continues to rack up the points. Karlsson is currently third in the AHL for points from a rookie — he has 14 goals and 17 assists through 41 games and would surely bring his best if he was given an opportunity with Pettersson and Kuzmenko. I’m also in the camp of believing that it’s a time in the season when the Canucks need to try some new things out.
Karlsson is playing a physical game down in Abbotsford and has consistently shown that he has the hands to finish if playing with a strong playmaker.
Throwing Karlsson a bone here from his good play in the AHL is something new and for Karlsson to be successful in the NHL, he’s likely going to need to play with top-nine players.
On the other side of the situation, Podkolzin is shooting the puck more than he has all year, he is coming off a season-high of six shots on goal this past Saturday and is finally getting consistent time on the special teams’ units.
If I had to make the call, I’d get Karlsson up for a couple of weeks or even just a few games. With Abbotsford so close to Vancouver, you can bring up Podkolzin whenever you want but for now, the kid is just starting to find that confidence that we were looking for from him in the minors. And as the kids and cool 20-somethings say, let him cook.
A first-round pick, a top prospect and a player who could jump into the Canucks roster.
I love this question because if the Canucks were to finish the season somewhere near 24-28th in the overall standings and not win the draft lottery, I believe that drafting Matvei Michkov is the best scenario that is legitimately plausible.
Teams are going to be scared to pick Michkov even though he has superstar potential. He has a KHL contract and will play three full seasons in Russia before coming over to North America. That is going to very difficult for a General Manager to be able to justify using their top-five pick on.
There is a world where the Canucks have the seventh overall pick in the 2023 draft and Michkov is available. I think with Allvin new on the job and having his president and coach now in place, he likely feels pretty good about his job certainty. If Michkov slides out of the top five, he would be a great selection for the Canucks and would make my life a hell of a lot easier when it comes to talking about Canucks prospects.
In addition to getting a kid with superstar potential, drafting Michkov forces you to wait and not want to dive too deep into being competitive as quickly as possible.
Simply put, drafting Michkov is a rebuilding power move for teams that have a top pick in the 2023 draft.
With the influx of Russians on this team, it would absolutely help with Michkov’s transition to the NHL but I don’t think that puts the Canucks in a position where they are more likely to select Michkov. It’s more about a team willing to make a pick now and wait three full seasons to call this kid their own. It also pushes Michkov’s entry-level contract down the road for a few extra years. With that, you are getting a quality 22-year-old who is making under a million dollars.
I absolutely am on the Arby’s email list.
How else would I know about the iconic cherry turnover making its Canadian debut?
There’s an option to bring Jonathan Lekkerimäki over to the AHL or NHL next season. If the Canucks aren’t happy with Lekkerimäki’s progress with his Allsvenskan team and Lekkerimäki is comfortable making the move, the Canucks can sign him and have him play over here in North America and have a lot of options.
Lekkerimäki will be available in this upcoming CHL import draft and the Canucks may even look in that direction, again, if Lekkerimäki is comfortable with the move.
Right now, Lekkerimäki is playing with friends at an organization that he has been with for years. He is living in Stockholm and still is just a kid. Making a move to North America needs to be a situation where the Canucks do a lot of work to ensure that he feels supported.
If I had to guess, I’d say that he signs his entry-level contract after this season and does end up coming to North America to play in Abbotsford. I don’t have any leads towards this idea but it’s my personal belief for the best development. We have a new Swedish transfer agreement and getting Lekkerimäki in the hands of Daniel and Henrik Sedin as well as the rest of the development staff would be the fastest road to get Lekkerimäki to the NHL.
It’s also a massive draw for the AHL team to have another teenager who was selected high in the draft.
Well, that concludes this week’s Monday Mailbag. We will see you next Monday and do this all over again. Thanks, as always, to the folks who sent in a question.
Be sure to follow CanucksArmy on Twitter to get your questions in!

Check out these posts...