Monday Mailbag: Super sophomore Podkolzin, Russians in the 2022 draft, and which prospects to watch at Canucks development camp

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
1 year ago
We are back again for another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy!
The Canucks boosted their development staff with the additions of former NHLers Mikael Samuelsson and Mike Komisarek. Samuelsson will be a big addition to the development staff as the organization will now have boots on the ground in Europe and will be able to work more closely with prospects like Lucas Forsell, Hugo Gabrielson, and Jonathan Myrenberg.
Komisarek played over 500 NHL games and has stuck around the game in a development role with the University of Michigan as well as a few years with the Buffalo Sabres. Komisarek will be working with defence prospects and can help these young players get closer to playing professional hockey in North America.
Speaking of defence prospects as well as Swedish prospects, Jonathan Myrenberg has joined Mora IK in the Allsvenskan league after suiting up for 15 SHL games this past season. Myrenberg is a 6’2″, right-shot defenceman who will benefit from the new additions to the development staff and should get plenty of playing time in the Swedish second division.
The only other tidbit I’ll share before getting into the questions is about the NHL combine.
We have a question about the combine later in this article but due to COVID-19 restrictions leaning off, teams were able to send their own staff members from the human performance department to work out the draft hopefuls. The Canucks sent their director of applied sports science Bryan Marshall to the event and he has been coaching the prospects on the floor for their workouts.
Along with Marshall, the Canucks sent assistant general manager Derek Clancey and director of amateur scouting Todd Harvey for the player interview portion of the NHL combine.
That’s enough for a preamble because we have a ton of great questions this week. Let’s see what the wonderful people of Canucks’ Twitter had to ask this week.
For the first time since 2019, the Canucks will host a development camp this summer. The camp will take place out at UBC from July 10-15th and will feature the Canucks’ best prospects as well as some local invites to fill the camp roster.
There are a handful of prospects that I am very excited to see at development camp. The kid I am looking forward to seeing the most is Lucas Forsell.
Forsell has all the skills that should help him shine in a camp situation and he had a chance to play in 30 SHL games with the playoff champion Färjestad BK team last season. This 18-year-old has shown that he can keep up with the SHL speed and isn’t shy to play a physical game as well.
Two of the top forwards at this camp should be Aidan McDonough and Linus Karlsson. I’m interested in seeing how the teenagers like Forsell, Danila Klimovich, and the 2022 draft class stack up against guys like McDonough and Karlsson — who look like they are more than ready for AHL hockey.
After a wrist injury kept him out of the SHL playoffs, I’ve got high hopes for the Swedish winger. This will be the first time that Canucks’ upper-management and development staff will be able to see Forsell play in-person and he wants to put on a show and have a competitive camp.
Building on a rookie season seems to be a difficult task for young players in the NHL. We talk so much about the “sophomore slump”, and we do it for good reason. Some players seem to struggle to take a step in their second year after bursting onto the scene as a rookie where everything they do is rainbows and lollipops. When the sophomore season hits, there are expectations and Vasily Podkolzin’s rookie season has Canucks fans believing that Podkolzin can do even more in his second NHL season.
A successful season can be looked at in a thousand different ways but one of the areas where Podkolzin can have more of an impact is on the special teams units.
Podkolzin played 52 minutes of power play time last season. Over his 79 games, that averages out to 39 seconds a game. Podkolzin should be a consistent piece on at least the second power play unit next season and could push to be the net front presence on the top unit. He has a ton of experience in that position on the power play and does a good job of not just being a body to stand in front of a goalie but also add to the power play with the ability to be a passing option and be strong on the boards as he chases down loose pucks.
A spot where Podkolzin can exponentially add to his value on a roster is if he is able to kill penalties next season.
The good news is…
There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be on the penalty kill.
Podkolzin has shown that he does everything you could ask for in a penalty killer. The only thing he doesn’t have is experience.
During his playing career prior to the NHL, Podkolzin was praised as a strong penalty killer. He blocked shots, challenged the puck at the point, and has enough breakaway speed to create scoring chances the other way if the opposition fumbles the puck for a half-second.
It would surprise us if he didn’t get a chance on the penalty kill now that he is a year older and has earned a lot of trust from head coach Bruce Boudreau.
As for simple points, If Podkolzin were to get to 35+ points or 20+ goals, that would be a successful offensive season.
We’d also love to have two or more media availabilities next season because his one and only English availability this season was a lot of fun.
My big three are Danila Klimovich, the Canucks’ 2022 First-Round pick, and Arturs Silovs.
I’ve spent the past few weeks watching this Gleb Trikozov kid and he is very talented with the puck on his stick. Because of the situation with Russia, he may slide late into the first round but in our eyes, he is too talented to fall out of the top 32.
Trikozov is another option for the Canucks if they were to trade down. He is a winger but is still just 17 years old and is already filling out his 6’1″ frame. I did find it interesting that he is ranked 64th on Bob McKenzie’s latest rankings but is ranked 18th by EliteProspects.
Dan Milstein is his agent and confirmed to CanucksArmy that Trikozov has two years remaining on his KHL contract and will not be able to come to the NHL until the 2024-25 season. By then, the hope is that he has refined his craft in one of the best leagues outside the NHL and will be ready to jump right into an NHL middle-six.
Trikozov plays the game at a very high pace and does a good job using his teammates to create scoring chances. His playmaking is very strong and his shot could use some work when it comes to power but his shot comes off a quick release and is accurate.
If he slides out of the first round, a team is going to get great value with a second round pick. The situation with Russian players in the draft could very easily affect his draft stock.
Another Russian forward with size who could slide into the later rounds and bring value is 6’2″ winger Viktor Neuchev or there’s also the smaller centre Vasili Atansov. Both of these two players are top-100 talents in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft but may slide.
As for defencemen, there’s only one that I can see being a late-round swing with big payoff and that is 5’10”, left-shot defenceman Yegor Savikov.
We are close to having a decision. We spoke with his agent on Sunday night and there are second interviews being had with teams.
His agent, Dan Milstein said that they are deep in discussions and that nothing will be shared publicly.
If he signs with Vancouver, we will have the story up within minutes of the ink drying.
The only name that I heard was Lian Bichsel.
Bichsel is a massive kid at 6’5″, 225lbs. He spoke with all 32 teams at the combine and I heard that his interviews were impressive.
We like Bichsel a lot for his play in the SHL and in international play this past season. He would be an excellent defence prospect to add to the Canucks’ prospect pipeline.
The Red Wings losing Alex Cotton could be a big gain for the Abbotsford Canucks.
Cotton is a 6’2″, right-shot defenceman who brought a ton of offence in his final WHL season. He scored 15 goals in 54 regular season games and then added six goals in 12 games with the local Vancouver Giants. He should find a job somewhere in the AHL and as a right-shot defenceman, Abbotsford should definitely be calling.
My sources in the Giants organization speak very highly of the defenceman and his offence in the WHL shouldn’t go unnoticed.
As for Adam Hall, he is a very smart player. Hall came up huge for the Giants during their playoff run and he is consistently praised for thinking the game one-pass-ahead in the WHL. Hall had 10 goals in 12 playoff games and scored some of the Giants’ biggest goals of their postseason.
Hall definitely needs to add a step to have success in the AHL but his smarts could go a long way if he is able to find a role in an AHL team’s bottom six.
After seeing how many players the Abbotsford Canucks had to go through last season, they should absolutely be targeting these two local players.
I’m leaning to Pavel Minkyukov because of the potential being a bit higher than Denton Mateychuk’s. I like Minkyukov’s two-way game a bit more but know that Mateychuk is just an incredible skater.
In all honesty, both of these players would be great picks for the Canucks if they are available for them at 15th overall.
That wraps up this week’s mailbag. Thanks, as always, to the great questions on Twitter from Canucks fans. We will continue to roll through our draft coverage as well as patiently wait for the Andrei Kuzmenko decision to come down.
See you all next week!

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