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Monday Mailbag: Coaching changes to the Canucks, Aatu Räty’s development, and Abbotsford’s playoff defence corps

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Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
Faber
By Faber
10 months ago
The 2022-23 NHL season has officially wrapped up for the Vancouver Canucks and now we focus on the offseason and the AHL playoffs.
We’ve got a lot of time to talk about the offseason, and we certainly will in this mailbag over the next few months.
But for now, let’s spend a bit of time on the AHL playoffs.
The Abbotsford Canucks kick things off against the Bakersfield Condors on Wednesday. There are a lot of storylines in this matchup, beginning with the fact that the Condors swept the Canucks in last year’s opening round of the AHL playoffs. It was a tough ending to an inaugural season that had so many positive news stories. Abbotsford has 16 players on their current roster who were on that team for that sweep. This series means a lot to them and as Jeremy Colliton told me on Saturday, “Whenever you play a team in the playoffs, you don’t forget…Especially if you lose. So certainly, guys will be ready.”
In goal, Arturs Silovs just won team MVP and the 22-year-old is our projection to get the starter’s job to begin the playoffs.
Spencer Martin has been really good lately too. The goaltending situation for Abbotsford is very strong as you can just ride the hot goalie and make a swap if needed. With a three-game series to kick off the postseason play, they may need to make a quick swap if they aren’t fully committed to riding Silovs the whole way. And from what we’ve heard, the team is not fully committed to riding with Silovs through the playoffs. This could easily turn into a rotating tandem but we believe Silovs will get the first crack at the Condors. If Silovs plays well, it’s his net until his game slips.
The impact of Vasily Podkolzin, Christian Wolanin, Noah Juulsen, and Phil Di Giuseppe will be huge as well. These four players are eligible for the AHL roster for the playoffs.
Wolanin and Juulsen have joined the Abbotsford squad but Di Giuseppe requires waivers to go down and Podkolzin still has not been assigned to the AHL.
These four players could swing the pendulum of the winner in this short series.
The addition of Filip Johansson is also a nice boost for Abbotsford. The 23-year-old, right-shot defenceman was eliminated from the SHL playoffs on April 10th and arrived in Abbotsford over the weekend. He took an optional morning skate with the team on Saturday morning and his status for Wednesday is still a day-by-day decision. He should be ready to play by Wednesday but Colliton has a lot of options for his defence corps.
It’s going to be a fun series, and it’s the only playoff action Canucks fans will see this spring. We will have you covered and are looking forward to a series of redemption for Abbotsford.
Now, let’s get to the questions from the wonderful people of #CanucksTwitter.
We will do a few longer answer questions and then a speed round as we did last week. Give me your feedback in the comments, we want to mould the mailbag into what you want to read!
No more wasted words, let’s go!
It’s kind of a 50-50 thought for me. We see that Rick Tocchet brought on Adam Foote and Sergey Gonchar. Those two are locks to be back next season if they wish to return.
Mike Yeo and Jason King are also here and it feels like King is the most likely to be changed from the group.
He’s the only coach remaining from the Jim Benning management group and if Tocchet and his staff want a different guy running their power play, moving on from King is a quick decision.
I’m not so sure that it will happen. King is very well-liked in the Canucks organization and at times, he has shown that he can make this power play one of the top-10 in the league. The Canucks finished the season with the 11th-most effective power play — clicking with a 22.7% efficiency. That’s solid but we will see if Tocchet has ‘his person’ that he wants running his man-advantage unit.
Dylan Crawford is the video coach and Ian Clark is the director of goaltending and both those guys aren’t going anywhere.
We know the Sedins will be here, King lives in Vancouver as well.
Tocchet has talked a lot about staying and working with his players and we will ultimately learn more on Monday, when the head coach and general manager speak to us.
The main coach who will be working with the guys in Vancouver is likely Yogi Svejkovsky. He is the skills coach and the players like working with him. He’s a local guy who works with a bevy of NHLers and prospects in the summer.
It’s certainly possible that Aatu Räty pushes for an NHL job next season but we don’t see it happening out of training camp.
Räty has a lot to work on in his game before he can be a consistent NHLer but his strong play in the AHL of late is certainly showing some promise. The kid is adjusting well and once he is back next season, we expect him to be a big contributor to the minor league club. This upcoming playoff run is a tremendous place for Räty to send a message to the organization about his upside. My answer may be different if he lights the AHL playoffs on fire.
There have been some flashes that get me excited about Räty but it’s not like his play in the AHL is screaming that he should get an NHL job next season. The kid is still very young and needs some time to develop the weaker points of his game. Some extra time with the Sedins will help and if he continues to work on his skating with Mackenzie Braid, he will improve some of those weaknesses.
My guess is that Räty will play in 12-30 NHL games next season.
  1. The penalty is probably a lot of money. I’m not a lawyer or a doctor so I can’t really give you more than that. If he can’t resume his NHL career and it was because the medical situation wasn’t handled correctly, I’m sure he’s got a case and his union will have his back.
  2. Spencer Martin would be my pick to be the Vancoucver Canucks’ back up goaltender as of today. He’s really found his game in the AHL and is still deserving of a chance to be in a backup role. The starter’s gig was too much for his this past season and it affected him mentally as the year went on. He’s cleared his mind now and is looking very good in AHL action.
  3. I’d really hope they take David Reinbacher. The big right-shot defenceman could immediately jump into the AHL and develop down Highway 1 with the Abbotsford Canucks. This would add another young and exciting player to the minor league team and if Reinbacher develops to his ceiling, he is a perfect partner for Quinn Hughes.

SPEED ROUND!

My guess:
Christian Wolanin – Noah Juulsen
Jack Rathbone -Zach Giuttari
Jett Woo – Filip Johansson
Brady Keeper and Alex Kannok Leipert will be in the mix as well.
My guess: 85%
He absolutely will.
Not very likely out of camp. He may get the opportunity at some point in the season but he’s going to need some more time in the AHL.
Nothing, he’s back in my top-10 now. Jett Woo has really shown well over the past four months.
They are pretty good. Abbotsford won three of four this season against Bakersfield. Abbotsford had a +26 goal differential this season while Bakersfield had an even goal differential on the year.
Right now, it’s Danila Klimovich because he has taken big steps in his development and when he is on his game, he is electric. His shot has so much power behind it.
All-time, it’s got to be Vasily Podkolzin. Those 3 am KHL games were a fun time and his final playoff run with SKA was a real treat.
Jo’s Italian Deli has excellent focaccia and their prices are unbeatable.
Pepino’s meat sauce is excellent and I used to really like The Pawn Shop’s tacos but they haven’t been as good in the last two times I’ve gone.
David Reinbacher all the way but he may not be there at 11.
IF not Reinbacher, I’d go with Will Smith or Andrew Cristall.
Well, that wraps up another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy. Thanks to all the great folks who sent in a question this week.
Leave your thoughts, suggestions or anything else in the comments section.
See you next Monday!

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