Monday Mailbag: Dark horse prospects, is Matvei Michkov worth the risk at 5th overall, and will Aidan McDonough be a Canuck?
Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber9 months ago
With the trade deadline just a few days away, we are at another critical point in the Vancouver Canucks’ 2022-23 season.
The team is being devastated by injuries and the chase for the highest percentage in the draft lottery has actually been kind of fun.
It’s always fun to scoreboard watch and the Canucks will have a lot of significant games down the stretch as they have the third-easiest schedule for the remainder of the season. That means those three games against the Anaheim Ducks, as well as the two against the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes have the potential to be massive in the Canucks’ pursuit of landing the best odds for the lottery.
We will continue to report back every Monday with questions in one hand and answers in the other.
So, without wasting any more words, let’s crack open the mailbag and see what the wonderful people of #CanucksTwitter had to ask this week!
There aren’t many candidates to burst onto the scene and become NHL players, but there are a few who have a small chance of playing NHL games next year.
We will name three.
Filip Johansson is the right-shot defenceman who has taken a big step in the SHL this year and will be coming over to North America next season. He has been consistently playing over 20 minutes a night in the SHL for Frölunda and his offensive skill should translate nicely to the North American game.
Johansson plays decently tough and will be given a good chance to crack the Canucks with their lack of depth on the right side of the defence.
The part playing against him is how the new management group has used the AHL. Gone are the days of forcing a player into the NHL a la Adam Gaudette or Jake Virtanen. It seems like the Abbotsford Canucks are going to be the final stage for Canucks prospects and we will likely need to see Johansson prove himself in the AHL before any NHL minutes are given.
Next up would be Joni Jurmo. The left-shot Finnish defenceman has been seeing more and more ice time in Liiga this year and all we’ve heard over the past few months is that he is eager to come to North America next season.
Jurmo is going to take some time to adjust to North American pro hockey but he has the size and speed that you love to see in a defenceman. He will need to fit into the Canucks’ system play but could end up surprising a lot of people and gelling well in the AHL. If he looks good in the AHL, he certainly has some traits that will help him succeed in the NHL. It’s going to be about his transition and how much he has really improved over this season and onto the summer.
Jurmo has taken big steps and could be a dark horse prospect to play some NHL games next season if he has a remarkable run in the AHL to begin his pro career here in North America.
Our final guy is also a defenceman, which is actually pretty interesting for the Canucks.
Jacob Truscott is in his third year with Michigan in the NCAA and we are pretty sure that he is going to go pro after his season concludes. He will have to have a big offseason of training to even have a sniff of the NHL next year but he is a support defenceman and that is the type of defenceman that all teams love to have. Truscott doesn’t need to be fancy or flashy, he just needs to play the game that he has been playing with Michigan over the past few seasons. He’s looked good as Owen Power’s partner in the past and has been strapped with Luke Hughes throughout this current season.
Truscott hasn’t played since January 21st and we have not heard why but are trying to get an update.
If the Canucks were to possess the eighth and 17th picks in the draft, I would love to see them draft two defencemen.
There’s a lot of talent in the top 10 and we wrote about David Reinbacher just last week. He would be a nice pickup at 6-9 in the draft and then picking up Axel Sandin-Pellikka in the 16-20 range would be great for the future of the Canucks’ defence corps.
Reinbacher is going to climb the rankings over the next couple of months, while we expect to see Sandin-Pellikka slide.
It’s been a tough go for Sandin-Pellikka since the world juniors, and his size may end up being another reason why he slips out of the top-15.
It all depends on which player is available. You should definitely draft the best player available in the top-15 of the draft, but maybe the Canucks need to stay away from another skilled winger after drafting Jonathan Lekkerimäki, who according to the top scouting sites, was the top prospect when the Canucks went up to make their selection at the 2022 draft.
This team needs centres and defencemen. So, unless Matvei Michkov slides a bit and is there for the Canucks, I’d be content with them going for a centre or defenceman with both of their first-round picks.
I totally believe his skill is worth the risk at fifth overall.
We are working on putting together a big article with lots of video on him to really showcase his skill instead of people just seeing his height and some Michigan goals here and there.
Drafting Michkov is a full commitment to a rebuild and if he is there at fifth overall, you need to think long and hard about it.
In our eyes, there’s a dip after Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson, Will Smith, and Zach Benson. Michkov is the wild card, so he’s the right pick at sixth overall, but could be the second best point producer in this draft class when all is said and done.
It’s going to be a wild draft day, that’s for sure.
Canucks fans have been following the Aidan McDonough situation for a while now and we can’t confidently say that we believe he is going to sign with the Canucks or not.
Our feeling on the situation is that he is still unsure about if he is going to sign with the Canucks or potentially explore free agency as a 23-year-old.
We know that the fact the Canucks drafted him means a lot and McDonough is a very loyal guy. He was also loyal to Northeastern University and now with him so close to free agency, maybe other options are more appealing.
There are a lot of wingers in the Canucks’ organization. It’s not the easiest path to the NHL and holding out for a better opportunity could be the way for McDonough to get himself into the NHL.
It’s a toss-up at this point. I’d hedge my bet on 55% he signs and 45% he doesn’t.
If the Canucks don’t end up signing McDonough, they will have some slots open for NCAA players.
Keep an eye out on NCAA free agents Sam Malinski (RD), Jake Livingstone (RD), and Ryan McCallister (W).
It’s been a tough go this season for Aku Koskenvuo. He hasn’t been able to get a lot of action with Harvard and in the times where he has been in the crease for the Crimson, he hasn’t exactly played well enough to steal starts from the other two goalies.
He’s a work in progress and just turned 20 years old on Sunday.
Ian Clark is going to get his hands on this kid and work his magic, it just may be another year or two until we see some in-game numbers to back up the work he’s putting in.
Expect Vasily Podkolzin to be back down with Abbotsford.
Nils Höglander will be a leading man for them as well as Phil Di Giuseppe.
Arturs Silovs should be the starter and the backend will be led by Christian Wolanin and Jack Rathbone.
These players have all had some time to gel together and the hope is that they will have a much better go at the AHL playoffs than they did last season.
Young players like Aatu Räty and Danila Klimovich will be relied upon to support the middle-six and bring some offensive punch while bottom-six guys like Arshdeep Bains, Chase Wouters, and Tristen Nielsen will be the other youth to watch.
Linus Karlsson is another name to watch. He should be one of the leading offensive producers on Abbotsford by the season’s end.
When you sprinkle in AHL vets like Justin Dowling, Vinny Arseneau, Noah Juulsen, John Stevens, and more — you feel pretty good about the Abbotsford Canucks making a go at the Calder Cup this year.
That wraps up another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy!
Thanks again to everyone who sent in questions. We will be back next week to wrap up the trade deadline and answer your questions about the Canucks’ future after some decisions may be made about Brock Boeser, Luke Schenn, or others.
No matter the case, we will be back bright and early on Monday to give you this Mailbag.
Thanks for reading and we will see you in seven days!
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