Monday Mailbag: Initial thoughts on Aatu Räty, and would the Canucks draft Matvei Michkov with the 4th overall pick?

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
1 year ago
The Canucks were back in action this past week and we are beginning to see Rick Tocchet’s coaching style show.
Certain players have had a good run under Tocchet, while others are losing ice time and not seeing much in the way of a new coach bump.
Four players have had point-per-game production during Tocchet’s seven games. Elias Pettersson (10), Brock Boeser (8), Quinn Hughes (8), and J.T. Miller (7) have found offensive success under Tocchet. It’s been good to see Pettersson have so much success under Tocchet — he has six goals and four assists through the opening septet of games.
The main point of concern right now is Andrei Kuzmenko — who is averaging 14:07 of ice time in the Tocchet era after being a player who averaged 16 minutes a night with Bruce Boudreau. It’s still relatively early so we’re not too worried about Kuzmenko’s spot in the lineup. Seeing him rotate with Jack Studnicka on the third line during Sunday’s practice is definitely not ideal, but we will see what Tocchet is cooking up for Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
All that being said, it was nice to just take a step back and let the Canucks play hockey this past week. With the Bo Horvat trade completed, we are turning the page and patiently waiting to see what’s next.
With all that being said, we are here for the Monday Mailbag!
You’ve got great questions and I’ll try my best to give good answers. So without wasting any more words, let’s bust open that bag of mail and dive into it like Jalen Hurts into an endzone.
An AHL team always has a lot of turnover every season and for the Abbotsford Canucks’ backend, there are going to be a lot of changes.
Noah Juulsen, Guillaume Brisebois, Wyatt Kalynuk, and Jett Woo are restricted free agents. Brady Keeper and Christian Wolanin are unrestricted free agents.
That means that the only three AHL defencemen that the Canucks have under contract for the 2023-24 season are Jack Rathbone, Filip Johansson, and Riley Stillman.
Johansson should be in the AHL next season and eating up a lot of minutes while also getting power play time.
I’d also expect Joni Jurmo and Jacob Truscott to be in the AHL next season.
Woo is a player who will likely be able to sign a contract with the Canucks, as he has looked a lot better over the past few months. Juulsen is a nice veteran to have on your AHL team, as is Brisebois — and they may or may not want to sign with the Canucks organization. Both have long-standing ties to the Canucks’ organization or the Abbotsford area.
If I had to project the Abbotsford Canucks’ defence corps for next season, I’d guess something like this.
Left DefenceRight Defence
Jack RathboneNoah Juulsen
Riley StillmanFilip Johansson
Guillaume BriseboisJett Woo
Joni Jurmo & Jacob TruscottWyatt Kalynuk
Alex Kannok-Leipert, Quinn Schmiemann, and Chad Nychuk are other names in the system who could very easily be around next year on AHL contracts.
Overall, you feel pretty good about the AHL defence corps. There will be some younger guys on that backend combined with a nice mix of veterans to play in front of Arturs Silovs.
I’d go pretty cheap and utilize the cap space elsewhere like taking on bad money in exchange for draft picks.
Going cheap with guys like Luke Schenn, Troy Stecher, or Andreas Englund.
Maybe check in on Scott Mayfield or Damon Severson if you believe they could help round out the right side of your defence.
I’d just much rather see this team weaponize cap space instead of trying to improve their defence corps with a 2023 free agent. It’s not the time for that.
I’d imagine that they do select Matvei Michkov if they are picking fourth overall.
This kid is a star in the making and potentially a superstar. He would be a massive boost to the Canucks down the road and would be on a very team-friendly contract when the Canucks are heading into the 2026-27 season and hopefully looking like much more of a contender. Adding a player in their young 20s with his talent on an entry-level contract would be a huge boost.
Michkov is the best option at fourth overall.
He looks like a very smart player with how he attacks the net. I mean this by how he goes to the net with the puck or how he moves to find open ice without the puck.
There’s another gear that needs to be unlocked in his skating and he acknowledged that when we spoke on Friday after a game where he had a season-high six shots on net in his debut at the Abbotsford Centre.
He certainly looks like he has the potential to be a middle-six offensive centre in the NHL one day but he’s still so young and development will be crucial for this kid over the next 24 months. There can absolutely be an NHLer here with Aatu Räty and the Canucks’ development team needs to knock this one out of the park.
Räty is certainly enjoying his early days with the Abbotsford Canucks. He has only had one practice with the team but he was able to spend 45 minutes with both of the Sedins and said he is excited to learn from two legends of the game. Räty spoke about the Sedins not being the fastest players but were instead so good at the give-and-go moves. This was something he wanted to pick the Sedins’ brains about during the upcoming months.
Overall, I do like the prospect and he is certainly in contention to be the Canucks’ number-one prospect in the system.
I’d doubt that we see this unless it is under emergency circumstances.
Arturs Silovs is still just 21 years old but he has been simply excellent for the Abbotsford Canucks this season. The current season’s situation is certainly something that was pushed onto his plate and we don’t think he was expecting to be this much of a horse in the crease. Through a tough ask, he has performed extremely well, but thinking that he is ready for an NHL look is probably still 12-14 months away.
He may get a look late in the 2023-24 season but for now, he should be focusing on having a strong playoff run with the Abbotsford Canucks and forcing Jeremy Colliton and his coaching staff to make Silovs their guy for the AHL playoff run.
Yes, they would. If the Canucks were to buy out Oliver Ekman-Larsson on June 15th, 2023, the Arizona Coyotes would be on the hook for $2,800,000 spread out over the next eight years.
Here’s how it would look over the next eight years.
YearCap Hit (Canucks)Cap Hit (Coyotes)
Cap-hit numbers are provided by CapFriendly’s buyout calculator.
Seeing OEL’s number on the books for the 2030-31 season really hits you in the feels, doesn’t it?
That wraps it up for this week’s Monday Mailbag. We will see you next week at the same time for another instalment of this weekly article.
Thanks, as always, for all the questions this week and keep an eye out on Twitter for the call for questions on Sunday afternoon!

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