Monday Mailbag: The best defenceman for the Canucks at #15, Podkolzin joins Abbotsford, and Pettersson’s strong penalty killing

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
1 year ago
The season has reached its conclusion and is being wrapped up with end-of-season media availabilities and reflection on the year that was.
Here at CanucksArmy, there is no downtime. We will continue to roll through the summer with our articles, which include the Monday Mailbag. There’s plenty of draft talk, trade chatter, and roster discussion to be had and we will look to answer Canucks fans’ questions throughout the offseason.
It was a season we won’t soon forget and will continue to talk about all the way up until this coming fall’s training camp. Luckily, we have a ton of great followers and readers who give us a big dump of questions every Sunday night.
So, without wasting any more words, let’s open up the mailbag and see what the great people of Canucks’ Twitter have to ask this week.
Elias Pettersson has impressed in his short time on the penalty kill. There were only three goals scored against in the 50 minutes of shorthanded time that Pettersson played. He used an active stick and high effort level to keep the puck out of scoring areas for opposing power plays.
The numbers are quite astonishing on how good Pettersson actually was on the PK.
Pettersson had a team-low Corsi against per 60 minutes, shots against per 60, goals against per 60 and was second on the team in expected goals against per 60.
Penalty kill stats provided by NaturalStatTrick (minimum 20 minutes)
The only worry about Pettersson on the penalty kill has to be the chance of him getting injured while blocking a shot or another possible freak incident. An injury from blocking a shot may not be as worrisome as many believe it will be. In the 50+ minutes of shorthanded time that Pettersson played, he only blocked one shot. Pettersson is able to find a way to be effective without being an old-school penalty killer. Pettersson likes to use his hockey IQ on the penalty kill and believes that thinking like a scorer can boost his skill on the penalty kill.
“It’s fun playing on the PK,” said Pettersson at Sunday’s end of season media availability. “I like to think how their power play is thinking — where they are going to put the puck next. I always like trying to anticipate and read where the next play is going. That’s why I’m pretty aggressive because I kind of sense where the puck is going next. I’m happy I was able to be a pretty good penalty killer. I know I have a lot to work on there but I’ll keep working on it.”
Pettersson didn’t kill penalties in the SHL or even much when he was playing junior hockey in Sweden. He is quite proud of being able to contribute to an NHL PK and captain Bo Horvat believes that Pettersson gets engaged in the game quicker when he is being used as a penalty killer. When a game has a few early penalties, it can take a scorer out of the game due to the team having to use their penalty killers. Now that Pettersson has become a player who can be used when the team is shorthanded, it will do nothing but help him when it comes to getting engaged in a game.
I’d be lying if I didn’t cringe a bit whenever I see him go to block a shot but as the stats show, that only happened once this past season.
We will have to see if it affects him negatively when he is relied upon to be a penalty killer all season long.
Personally, I’m not worried about it. More ice time for your smartest and most skilled players always makes sense.
The opening round of the AHL playoffs is definitely a strange situation but having 23 of your 31 teams make the playoffs is also definitely a strange situation.
That is the case for the AHL as so many teams make the playoffs but nine of the 23 teams who qualified for the playoffs skip the opening round and get a bye into the second round of the playoffs. This opening round is more of a play-in-style playoff round than anything.
Abbotsford is set to play their three-game series in Bakersfield against the Condors and that series begins with games on Tuesday and Wednesday followed by a potential game three being played on Monday.
Why the long wait between game two and game three, you ask?
CanucksArmy has learned that Bakersfield booked Disney on Ice for the weekend and the AHL will have to take a back seat to Mickey Mouse and his Disney pals.
It’s a little bit Goofy, if we’re being honest.
Sticking with the AHL, CanucksArmy can also confirm that Vasily Podkolzin, Sheldon Dries, Will Lockwood, Nic Petan, Arturs Silovs, and Spencer Martin joined the Abbotsford Canucks in California on Saturday. Their availability is still not confirmed for Tuesday’s game but I don’t believe there will be a problem with Podkolzin, Dries, Petan or Martin playing on Tuesday.
The Canucks should really look to add the best player available with their first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. That being said, there will be some quality defencemen still available when they take to the podium.
Owen Pickering is a name that’s been basically a lock for a first-round pick since the first mocks of the draft emerged.
I like what I am hearing about Kevin Korchinski out of Seattle in the WHL and need to watch more film on him to formulate a true opinion.
Sam Rinzel is a 6’4″, right-shot defenceman who has shown that he can move the puck and be physical. He will be joining the University of Minnesota next season and it will be interesting to see where he stacks up on their tremendous NCAA defence group.
The Russian OHLer Pavel Mintyukov has also shown well this season and might have the highest potential of the four defencemen mentioned here.
We will have deep dives into each of these prospects as the offseason goes on.
I’m currently working on a Scouting with Faber article about winger Marco Kasper as well. I like him to be a winger across from Nils Höglander in a few years. We will have tons of scouting reports in the coming months but those are the four defencemen who I like the most of the group that could be available for the Canucks at 15.
Mackenzie Braid is doing excellent work out in Abbotsford.
Remember the name, he’s important to the development of prospects in the AHL.
Jett Woo may find himself on the outside looking in when it comes to the Abbotsford Canucks’ six defencemen. Woo looks to be the seventh man on the depth chart with Ashton Sautner, Jack Rathbone, Guillaume Brisebois, Noah Juulsen, Madison Bowey, and Devante Stephens on their defence core.
Alex Kannok-Leipert has also shown well but I’m sure Woo will have his name called if the Canucks go on a long AHL playoff run.
Canucks prospect Jacob Truscott was asked to wear a lot of different hats this season with Michigan. I’ve heard that Michigan was very happy with the versatility that Truscott has shown and with the big turnover on their roster, I’d expect to see Truscott in an elevated role next season.
Truscott showed that he can kill penalties, be paired with the top defenceman, and play on the right side if needed. I’d expect to hear his name a lot more next season.
J.T. Miller.
There should be high expectations for Arshdeep Bains in the AHL. He has a lot of skill and can make plays at full speed in the WHL. There will definitely be an adjustment for him when he makes the jump to professional hockey but expectations for him in the AHL next season should be high.
I’d project him being a lock in the middle-six and he will likely get a long run in the top-six with some of the Canucks’ top players.
The hope is that he can have enough success and eventually warrant a shot in the NHL, but he needs to prove himself in the AHL before that discussion arises. He has a bright future but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet —  I am excited to see what he can do in the AHL.
Well, that wraps up our first Monday mailbag of the offseason! We will be back next week with another instalment of the article that leads off every week at CanucksArmy.
Thanks to everyone for sending in their questions and keep your eyes on the CanucksArmy Twitter account every Sunday to get your questions in!
Finally, thanks to Quads for filling in while I was away with a family matter. I love writing these mailbag articles and look forward to it every Sunday night. It was good to know that Quads is a decent fill-in while I’m away.
Editor’s note: Quads is a fantastic fill in*

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