Monday Mailbag: Höglander’s sophomore season, the 2021-22 scoring leader and my favourite Canucks prospect from the 2021 draft

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
2 years ago
The offseason continues to truck along and we are now only seven weeks away from Vancouver Canucks training camp out in Abbotsford.
The roster looks to be set barring any bold trades or late free agent signings. The Canucks have vastly improved their squad and will make a strong push in 2021-22 where the goal shouldn’t just be making the playoffs but to also make some noise once they get in.
It’s another Monday and we all know what that means, it’s time for another CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag.
So let’s hop right into what the wonderful people had to ask this week.
I, like many scouts, was intrigued by Danila Klimovich after what he did at the U18’s. Since that tournament, I have been able to watch some of his games in the Belarussian top league as well as a KHL scrimmage when he was on a trial contract with Dinamo Minsk. There’s a lot to like about this kid. The highlights from the U18’s showcased his shooting abilities but the part of his game that I have come to like most is his combination of size and speed. He’s got a good stride that generates a lot of power and the next step that he takes in development has the potential to be his biggest.
This coming season, Klimovich is likely to play in the KHL, AHL or QMJHL. All three of those leagues give the young Belarussian a chance to work with some world-class organizations where it will be a night and day difference in training compared to what he had in the Belarussian second league. The joke that I heard from a Russian connection was that he and his teammates had to bring their own jerseys to practice last season in the Belarus Vysshaya league.
If Klimovich is able to come to the AHL or the KHL, I will be very excited to see how he matches up against men in the second or third best league in the world. If Klimovich heads down to the QMJHL, it will be a different feeling for me that. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing as he will be on a longer runway towards the NHL but to say that he is my favourite prospect, I’d like to see him compete against men, not boys. I know that the QMJHL will give him a chance to be the team’s top star and he will rip up the league but from watching him play, there looks to be enough talent o play in the KHL or AHL and have success.
With all that being said, I always love a good late-round pick, so I’ll say that my favourite drafted player from the 2021 draft is Hugo Gabrielson. The two-way defenceman is going to play in the Allsvenskan league next year after looking like an absolute stud in the Swedish J20 league last season up until that league shut down. If the J20 season would have continued on, I believe that Gabrielson would have gone much higher than 169th overall. The Canucks got themselves a nice prospect in the fifth-round and his training camp is already underway with Västerviks.
I had a deep-dive breakdown into Gabrielson’s game a week ago, so, I won’t get into it too deep here. You can read the whole article HERE.
To keep it short, Gabrielson is strong with his defensive reads, he can snap the puck out of his own zone on breakouts and is very smart with how he adds to the offence when in the attacking zone.
Celery is the worst food in the world.
It’s stringiness and lack of any taste makes it not only the worst vegetables in the world but the worst food as well. The easiest way to ruin a good chili is to put celery in it. Some vegetables are much better when they are cooked but somehow celery gets even worse as it becomes slimy but somehow retains its disgusting stringiness.
One of the planet’s worst mistakes was letting celery be edible.
This season, none of them get traded.
Next season and onwards, none of them get traded if the Canucks are able to make the playoffs and continue on the path of competing for a playoff spot next year.
I can see J.T. Miller walking away from the team in free agency as he will likely look to get paid and because of contracts like Tyler Myers’ and Brock Boeser’s, the Canucks will not be able to afford Miller because they will prioritize Bo Horvat and Nils Höglander’s next contracts.
If the Canucks take a step back next season, there is no chance that Miller isn’t on the trade block. Both he and the organization will be looking to move him on so that he can compete for a Stanley and the team can get some future value back from his trade worth.
I’d love to think that Myers could be moved down the road but his six million dollar cap-hit is just way too steep. Myers will be a UFA after the 2023-24 season.
As for Boeser, there are always rumours about him getting traded but I personally haven’t heard anything substantial. Of course his name is going to come up when the Canucks call on big name defencemen or centres that are on other team’s trade blocks. Boeser is a valuable asset and teams will want to ask about his availability. The Canucks value his ability and know that he is a first-line calibre winger, they don’t want to move on from him but other teams want to move him on to them. That’s why his name is constantly brought up in trade rumours, it’s because teams are asking about him.
This is easy, a hot dog is not a sandwich. It’s a hot dog
If you went up to a hot dog stand and asked for a sandwich, you’d look like a real dumbass.
Same goes for if you went to you local baseball concession and asked for wiener sandwich.
I know the definition of a sandwich is two pieces of bread meat, cheese or other filling in between them but a hot dog is not a sandwich. It’s a hot dog.
Hey, this is a fun and quick one!
I’m going to guess that Brock Boeser leads the Canucks with 36 goals next season.
As for points, I’d say that Elias Pettersson leads the Canucks with 85 points next season.
It is entirely possible that Nils Höglander takes a step back next year as teams will now have a book on how he generates offence and where he can hurt you.
I just don’t see it happening. The exciting thing about Höglander is that his offence is consistently inconsistent. When I say that, I mean that it doesn’t come from the same part of the ice.
He scatters his shot attempts all around the offensive zone and isn’t a one-trick pony when it comes to his work in the offensive zone. We saw how much more comfortable he got as he played through three seasons of SHL hockey. Höglander was awarded with the goal of the year award in each of his three SHL seasons and that came from his confidence level growing and showing his creativity to score some highlight reel goals.
After a year where he was apart of two of the largest COVID outbreaks in professional sports (Canucks and Rögle BK), I’d expect a new level of confidence and comfortability once he is able to actually live a normal NHL player life. He found chemistry immediately with Bo Horvat and if he can continue to play with Horvat, his offence will continue to grow as he evolves as an NHL players. The other option is to get easier matchups in a third-line role and if Höglander is able to play with Jason Dickinson and Vasili Podkolzin, that third line is going to feast on weak competition.
His 27 points in 56 games doesn’t stand out as an overly impressive season but it should be noted that he only had one power play point last season. Höglander’s rankings on the Canucks at five-on-five were nothing but impressive:
-1st in shots on net
-1st in individual scoring chances
-1st in goals
-2nd in points
-1st in Corsi for (50.43%)
-2nd in expected goal share (49.9%)
All while being 7th in ice time
Höglander was great offensively but the exciting part about his game is that he can play well at both ends of the ice. He was one of the best defensive forwards for the Canucks last season and that had a big reason on why he was the only Canucks player with a positive Corsi for percentage last season.
A sophomore slump is possible but from everything that Höglander does on the ice, there is no indication that his game will take a step back next season.
We will just have to wait and see which line he fits on out of training camp.
I’m always betting on Höglander.
Well, that wraps up another Monday Mailbag! Be sure to keep an eye out for the call for questions on Twitter. I’ve got a lot of exciting articles coming this week as we work our way through the dog days of the offseason and begin to lock in on the team’s prospects.
A re-ranking of the Canucks prospects will be coming soon with the addition of this year’s draft picks and the loss of projected NHLers like Vasily Podkolzin and Jack Rathbone.

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