Monday Mailbag: Elias Pettersson 2.0 turning heads overseas, Boeser’s NHL-worst defence numbers, and should Vasily Podkolzin be a centre?

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
1 year ago
After a pair of horrible performances that resulted in home-ice losses, the Vancouver Canucks followed it up with a somehow worrisome 3-2 overtime win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.
The Canucks grinded their way to victory over the potentially Bedard-bound Coyotes but still sit 23rd in the NHL with a 10-12-2 record. Even with this big win on Hockey Night in Canada, Elliotte Friedman had the biggest news story of the night — reporting that Brock Boeser’s agent Ben Hankinson has permission to help with a Boeser trade.
Boeser scored the game-tying goal in the middle part of the third period.
It’s been a tough start to the season for Boeser, who had minor surgery on his hand at the end of September. Though he has put up 15 points in 19 games, he only has four goals on the season and has the worst goals-against numbers at five-on-five in the entire NHL with a 5.67 goals against per 60 rate.
Though his defensive numbers are the worst in the league, it doesn’t help that his goaltenders’ save percentage at five-on-five has been .848% this season. But even when we look at expected goals, Boeser is still fourth-worst in the league in xGA/60.
It’s clear that Boeser is an excellent offensive producer when he is in the correct environment and the problem may be that the fit here in Vancouver just isn’t the best for him. Whether it be the coach, the personnel around him, or another outside cause, things aren’t going great for Boeser this season, and it’s not really a surprise to see Elliotte Friedman make a report about agents getting involved to facilitate a trade.
We will have to see where this story goes in the near future, but we are still very much in the camp that the Canucks need to begin to make some moves to get them closer to being able to compete for more than just a wild card spot.
Boeser may be one of the first pieces to fall in that movement toward retooling the roster.
The 25-year-old winger does not have trade protection in his contract until July 1st, 2024 but with the agent reportedly getting involved, this story isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. We just saw Ryan Reaves’ agent get a trade done for his client within days, it may be a bit longer with Boeser’s contract status but you’d have to imagine that there are at least a handful of teams who would love to add Boeser to their roster.
Well, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dive into the ol’ Twittersphere and see what the wonderful people of Canuckland had to ask this week.
The idea of Vasily Podkolzin making the transition to centre has been thrown around for years but in my four-plus years of watching him play in the KHL, VHL, NHL, AHL, and in international competition, I have seen Podkolzin maybe have one game where he has played centre.
I understand the idea behind moving him to the middle and having him be your 3C of the future would be pretty damn awesome. I just don’t think this is something that is going to happen.
Should they give him a run at centre in the AHL? I guess they could, but I very much doubt that it happens.
Podkolzin is a winger and as much as we think his skills could translate to the middle, it feels like the transition to centre is much more difficult than many of us know. I’d love to see this organization try it and I’m sure that Podkolzin would be open to any challenge because that’s just the type of player that he is.
Depending on how long Filip Johansson’s SHL season/playoffs go, he could be an option.
General Manager Patrik Allvin has mentioned Joni Jurmo by name as well.
Lucas Forsell has another year remaining on his SHL contract so I doubt he comes over.
There aren’t really any other names that spring to the top of mind when you talk about Europeans coming to play professionally in North America this season.
When it comes to NCAA players, you have Aidan McDonough who will be playing pro hockey after this season.
If the Canucks want to get Jacob Truscott into the AHL, it would be surprising to see him go back to school with his defence partner Luke Hughes likely leaving after the season.
Aside from those players, Connor Lockhart might be a player who earns a contract after his OHL season.
Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) has had the most impressive rise out of the Canucks’ picks from the 2022 NHL draft. Pettersson was playing 25+ minutes a night in the Swedish J20 league earlier in the season while bouncing around the J20 and SHL leagues.
Now Pettersson is starting to secure a spot on his SHL team — an impressive feat for a kid who is still just 18 years old.
D-Petey has averaged 14:29 of ice time over his last three SHL games and holds strong possession numbers with a 57.8% Corsi and 64.4% control of expected goals.
He’s playing great hockey in the top Swedish league and has an outside shot of making the World Junior team for Sweden this December.
We will be releasing a new ranking of our top Canucks prospects in early January and Pettersson is making a push toward the top. Pettersson has shown well no matter which league he has played in since being picked up by the Canucks in July. If he is able to make team Sweden for the WJC, his stock is set to rise even further.
That wraps up our Monday Mailbag for this week. As always, thanks for the great questions and let’s have a fun week of discussion about this Canucks organization.

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