Monday Mailbag: Potential Canucks PTO invites, what prospects can do to climb the rankings, and more

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
11 months ago
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It’s been a slow week for the Vancouver Canucks’ news cycle but that has worked out perfectly for our release of the top-10 prospect rankings.
We will see the final four over the coming days and it feels like a good time to just let it hang here about some thoughts on each prospect. I thought I’d just say a quick sentence or two on what would shoot each prospect up the rankings, including the honourable mentions. This should eat up some words and I think we can have some fun with setting a high bar for each prospect because at least one or two of them will be able to hit this bar and in doing so, rise up our rankings.
So, what we will do here is just give a sentence on what a player can do in the 2023-24 season to substantially raise their stock in our rankings.
Josh Bloom: Bloom will be moving up if he eats up a lot of shorthanded minutes in the early stages of his jump to the AHL and eventually finds himself in the top-six by the end of the season.
Joni Jurmo: We just need to see an offensive explosion this season in Liiga. If he can get over eight goals and something like 30 points, we will move him into the top-10.
Jett Woo: It’s all about Woo making that jump to the NHL this season. He won’t be on our next list but let’s see how he looks in NHL games.
Jacob Truscott: With Owen Power and Luke Hughes now gone from Michigan, Truscott will be asked to be the leader of the defence corps. He is also being tasked with the captaincy — we would say that if he can lead Michigan to a frozen four appearance, that would mean that he played extremely well and therefore, he will move up our rankings.
Jackson Dorrington: The young, big defenceman will need to find some offence next season. Five goals and 15 assists would excite us but we just want to see him continue to build his defensive game up.
Kirill Kudryavtsev: We’d love to see him be the leading scorer out of OHL defencemen. That would launch him up our rankings.
Max Sasson: Sasson has to cook as the top-line centre in the AHL. He will have good linemates, now, he needs to produce, and produce BIG.
Dmitry Zlodeyev: Consistently playing in a KHL top-six would get us excited. Seeing a good 30+ point season is also something that could propel him into the top-10.
Now for the 10-5 prospects.
10. Hunter Brzustewicz: We’d love to see him be the leading scorer out of OHL defencemen. That would launch him up our rankings.
9. Arshdeep Bains: Stick in Abbotsford’s top-six for most of the season and continue to be effective on the penalty kill. Those things will get him to the NHL — or at least higher up on our rankings.
8. Cole McWard: Dominate defensively in the AHL. If McWard does this, we will be very jacked up about his future. There are no NHL expectations from us this season, let’s see him cook on the farm.
7. Lucas Forsell: 15 goals and 15 assists in his SHL season. It’s simple as that.
6. Danila Klimovich: Score 25 goals in the AHL and get us really excited. He will be top-three if he hits 25 next season.
5. Arturs Silovs: Win AHL goaltender of the year if Dustin Wolf finally moves on.
Okay! That ate up an introduction. We have a lot of speed-round questions this week, so let’s not waste any more words.
It’s time to rip open the bag of mail and write this mailbag.
It’s an interesting thought experiment. Why don’t we just look at like three names who could work their way onto the Canucks’ roster.
I’d look at Mark Pysyk. He’s a 6’1″, right-shot defenceman who may be looked at as an NHL/AHL tweener at this point in his career. He did play in 68 games with the Buffalo Sabres last season. He may still earn a league-minimum deal somewhere as the weeks go on and teams look for right-shot defence depth. If not, I’d like to see Pysyk get a player tryout.
Scott Harrington is a 30-year-old, left-shot defenceman who might be in PTO territory this coming season. Perhaps he finds his way to be a 10-12 defenceman in the Canucks’ depth chart.
As for a forward, is Wayne Simmonds a player we can see needing a PTO? I could see it happening. He was an everyday player in 2021-22 but only played in 18 NHL games last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 34-year-old can bring some grit to camp. He’d be someone I’d like on a PTO.
Obviously, there aren’t many homerun options, and we will still likely need a month or two to see which players can’t find a contract. I’d also just watch for Dan Milstein clients. Maybe Evgeny Svechnikov?
With a healthy Thatcher Demko, I can see Arturs Silovs spending the entire season in the AHL.
Spencer Martin is due for a bounce-back. Maybe not to the level of how he performed in his short NHL stint during the 2021-22 season, but he isn’t as bad as he looked this past year. I thought Martin looked much more confident and under control during his AHL starts this past season and hopefully he can bring that confidence into next season.
It would be good to let Silovs just run the crease in Abbotsford. I’d love to see him in an NHL game or two but if the Canucks are clicking next season and are getting enough from Martin, the view from Silovs’ perspective should continue to be development instead of NHL production. I can see him not being called up at all if Demko stays healthy all year long.
Tristen Nielsen can kill penalties, play in a fourth-line role, be a centre, or play on both wings. His versatility certainly helps when a call-up situation presents itself.
It’s going to depend on how Rick Tocchet looks at players like Arshdeep Bains, Linus Karlsson, Aidan McDonough, Aatu Räty, and Danila Klimovich. I can see Nielsen winning over Tocchet pretty quick and if Nielsen brings his confidence and can piss off the opposition like he has in the AHL, he will be fine in the NHL for some spots next season.
The big thing will be penalty killing. If the Canucks suffer an injury there and have to look to Abbotsford, it’s a battle between Bains, Karlsson, and Nielsen. Only one of those guys plays centre — that’s Nielsen.
From my understanding, the organization certainly helps guide players, but ultimately, it’s their decision on who they work with and how they want to go about with their offseason training. Rick Tocchet is in constant communication with the players and even wants them to reach out to him more.
Due to CBA regulations, the team cannot work out with the players but we do see that Arshdeep Bains, Danila Klimovich and Vasily Podkolzin all have been here in Vancouver working out with local coaches.
There’s a big group of pros in Kelowna as well as Michigan and Massachusetts.
We don’t know of any team programs but the end-of-season meetings probably had some sort of challenge or map for what the organization expects from a player and their offseason training.
I think they will if they can avoid major injuries to their stars while also moving their penalty kill up from 32nd in the league.
Worms. Easily.
Driver or pitching wedge.
I could see Max Sasson being the second-line centre because I believe one of Jack Studnicka or Sheldon Dries will be Abbotsford’s first-line centre.
I’d predict that Aatu Räty is the third-line centre and Chase Wouters will be the fourth-line centre.
Wyatt ‘The Stanchion’ Arndt is both the most shredded and also the one who just lets it hang.
I think Elias Pettersson will be a Selke finalist in each of the next two seasons. I can see him winning it after the 2025-26 season.
It was certainly easier to get 10 players on the list. We’ve had it much tougher in past years.
Sometime in the 2025-26 season unless they marinate him in the AHL for that entire year. If that’s the case, 2026-27 for sure.
Between 22 and 33 goals.
I expect to see Ty Mueller go pro after the 2024-25 season. The AHL club would probably begin with him in a fourth-line role. He has good hands but I haven’t seen enough to believe there’s an actual role for him to fill on the farm right now.
I love sports and the Canucks are Vancouver’s biggest sports team. When I hit my peak in baseball and couldn’t make it to pro, I had to find a way to continue to work in sports.
I’m a cat person for sure but I love them both. I just always had the best cats growing up and have not had a bad one yet.
That wraps up another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy. Thanks to all the wonderful people of #CanucksTwitter who sent in a question this week. Even though I forgot to tweet out my ask until late in the day.
We will be back next Monday with a whole new mailbag and a whole bunch of new answers. See you then!

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