Monday Mailbag: Young Stars’ top prospects, defence pairings without Tyler Myers, and the Canucks’ top sleeper prospect

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
10 months ago
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Welcome back to another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy. It’s the first mailbag of September and the change of months brings us another step closer to the return of Vancouver Canucks hockey.
We are just 11 days away from the Young Stars prospects tournament in Penticton and 17 days away from day one of Canucks training camp in Victoria.
Though we are still tiptoeing our way to the return of Canucks hockey, we have been able to watch some of the prospects begin their preseason play and that was something we locked in on this past week.
Vilmer Alriksson has been up and down the lineup for the Guelph Storm in their two preseason games. The 18-year-old, 6’6″, left winger made the decision to come to North America for the most crucial development years of his hockey career and we like the move out of Sweden to come and get closer to pro hockey in North America. Alriksson played on the second line and the fourth line in his two preseason games this past week. He had an assist in his first preseason game and then scored his first OHL preseason goal on Sunday.
Jonathan Lekkerimäki has continued his strong preseason play with his new SHL club, Örebro. He now has three goals in five preseason games.
It’s still preseason but we have to applaud the strong start for the kid. If Lekkerimäki can find success this season in the SHL, there’s a chance he will be ready for North America at the beginning of the 2024-25 season. Some work in the AHL may be required as he will need to see a different type of hockey aside from the way they play in Sweden but like I said earlier, it’s still just preseason and we need to see him continue to develop throughout the SHL season before there’s too much excitement from us.
Finally, one of the big talking points coming up this week will be Canucks’ players returning to Vancouver from their offseason homes.
We’ve seen videos of J.T. Miller, Tanner Pearson, Carson Soucy, and Thatcher Demko on the ice. I myself have also seen Filip Hronek, Vasily Podkolzin, Danila Klimovich, Ilya Mikheyev, and Nikita Tolopilo around town over the past week.
Now that the calendar has turned to September, expect to see a lot of Canucks in town and we will begin creeping around some of the rinks to see who is here for some informal skates.
All that being said, we’re close folks. We are almost back to being able to talk about on-ice stuff — which is way better than cap space and contracts.
I’m sure we will still talk cap space though. Because it’s the Canucks that we cover on a daily basis.
Let’s hop right into the questions this week and after complaining about last week’s questions, the folks from #CanucksTwitter came through with some good ones to dissect in this week’s mailbag.
No more wasted words, let’s ride.
It was pretty freaking awesome. I tuned in late but it’s great to know that Canada’s basketball team will be in the Olympics. They certainly have the talent to be there.
Alright Josh, I’ll bite and say that a certain tall defenceman has his bonus paid on September 15th and then is traded before the season.
This is how I’d shape my defence corps on opening night.
Top Pair: Quinn Hughes and Ian Cole
It’s not a perfect fit for Quinn Hughes but it’s best for the top-four and Ian Cole has proven that he can be a steady defensive partner for a true number one defenceman in this league. He is capable of playing the right side and should help Hughes let it loose offensively.
Second Pair: Carson Soucy and Filip Hronek
There are questions about how Carson Soucy will fit in a top-four role but playing him alongside a surefire top-four defenceman in Filip Hronek will give Soucy a great chance for success. The two will have to play tough and they have the potential to be very effective in a second pairing role.
The fit feels good between Soucy and Hronek.
Third Pair: Christian Wolanin and Noah Juulsen
At ages 28 and 26, Christian Wolanin and Noah Juulsen aren’t prospects but they also haven’t proven to be full-time NHLers either. They were both excellent AHL defencemen last season and look to be ready to fight for an NHL spot on opening night.
Wolanin won defenceman of the year in the AHL while Juulsen was a physical force on a nightly basis. Both Wolanin and Juulsen have had injuries during their early 20s, which limited their ability to play in NHL games. This coming season, they have experience and know what it takes to stick in the NHL. Both will be hungry for NHL games from the jump of training camp and they will be my projected third pairing if that certain tall defenceman on the Canucks is paid his bonus and then unloaded for cap space.
We don’t expect them to be up for breakout player of the year in the NHL but from players on the Canucks roster, they are two candidates to have a breakout from what they’ve done in the earlier parts of their careers. I’d bet on at least one of these guys being a full-time NHLer throughout the entirety of the 2023-24 season.
I’m going to run off of our last answer and go with Christian Wolanin being the biggest surprise out of Canucks training camp. We can easily see a world where he is on the opening night roster and that’s with or without the tall defenceman who we are apparently not naming in this article.
As for the biggest disappointment, it’s hard to guess on that one. Maybe Nils Höglander is the candidate, as he really needs to make the NHL roster out of camp and earn the trust of Rick Tocchet in a hurry.
My expectation is that Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Conor Garland and Andrei Kuzmenko will be back this week if they didn’t already arrive in Vancouver this past weekend.
We saw that Brock Boeser is back in British Columbia and know that J.T. Miller and Thatcher Demko are already here.
Who am I missing from the “leadership group”? Let me know in the comments.
First off, thank you very much for the kind words. They mean a ton in an industry like this.
My advice would be that the content you make should be what people want to consume. Your own opinions are important and you should be bold with the presentation as well as the premise but most importantly, you need to provide for people. Your content needs to be something that others want to consume or interact with.
For myself, it’s prospects. When Ryan Biech was hired by the Canucks, it left a huge hole in the Canucks community when it came to prospect coverage and I saw that hole and knew I could fill it.
The other thing is to be smart with analytics or new-age measures of the sport. You can lean on specific numbers to help support your opinion but don’t just write an article surrounding a stat you found. You can begin with your own blog or YouTube channel and just try to promote yourself and your work. If you put in the hours and do it with the mindset of providing to an audience, you will be successful. If you’re just wanting a bunch of people to hear your thoughts, it’s going to be tough to gain attention in the beginning.
Finally, the most important trait to have in this industry is consistency.
Make an effort to have a weekly column, even if it’s just on your own blog. It’s the same with audio and video content. If you give the audience something they look forward to, success will come.
It’s not about you getting anything from this. It’s about what you give to others. In the end, it’s still work. Even if it’s really fun a lot of the time.
Colby Barlow is an exciting name to watch from the Winnipeg Jets. He was selected 18th overall in the most recent NHL draft. I’d expect to see Brad Lambert with the Jets again this year but I don’t know if that’s a lock. We still don’t have the rosters for Young Stars.
As for the Calgary Flames, I asked our buddy Ryan Pike from FlamesNation to give me a few names to watch. He said that he was excited to see Samuel Honzek, Matt Coronato, Etienne Morin, and Jeremie Poirier. We’ve watched Honzek a lot and he should be one of the big and dominant players at this tournament. The Vancouver Giants forward is a fun player to watch as we learned from our pre-draft scouting.
As for the Edmonton Oilers, I reached out to Liam Horrobin from OilersNation and he gave me Matvei Petrov, Max Wanner and Xavier Bourgault as his big three to watch.
My takeaway from that… The Oilers’ prospect pool is whack.
Quads singing Backstreet Boys was pretty stellar.
Harman Dayal’s rendition of ‘Closer’ by The Chainsmokers was excellent but Daniel Wagner had some bangers in his repertoire as well. Wags’ performance of Santeria was excellent.
I think we will make the preseason karaoke night for Canucks media an annual event.
My go-to was, and will always be ‘Hero’ by Enrique Iglesias.

Speed Round

I watched four Champions League games last week and the power play rolling on after a goal is scored was really strange, to be honest. I didn’t like it and you could see it made the players feel some type of way as well. I didn’t see a shorthanded goal to end a power play yet though and that’s the rule I like the most. So, as of now, no, I don’t like the new rules but this is a good trial ground for said rules.
You can read about the CHL rule changes HERE.
I’m going to bet on Conor Garland seeing his five-on-five point totals climb with the addition of Pius Suter as his centre on the third line. If Suter and Garland can catch fire with Tanner Pearson, Vasily Podkolzin or Nils Höglander being the third man on that line, they could be exceptional as a bottom-six line.
The Ghost energy drinks from the States are probably my number one. The blue red bull is also very tasty and we have it in Canada, so that saves me a trip across the border.
I’d say Jacob Truscott — the left-shot defenceman out of Michigan.
We expect him to go pro after this season and he plays a solid two-way game. He’s calm around the puck and has added a lot of strength over the past two seasons. He could be a bottom-four, support-defenceman in the NHL in the next three years. He’s the type of defenceman who simply makes his partner better and seems to be able to mend well with different types of partners. A good example would be his last two partners at Michigan, Owen Power and Luke Hughes, each of whom Truscott had great success with.
That wraps up another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions this week and we will be back next Monday to do it all again.
Enjoy the last bit of the offseason, folks.
Hockey is just around the corner!

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