Monday Mailbag: Lots of Vasily Podkolzin questions, calling up Arshdeep Bains, and bottles of Arby’s sauce

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
8 months ago
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Welcome back to another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy.
I asked, and you delivered in the comments, so we will be including some #MM questions this week.
Since last Monday, we’ve seen the Vancouver Canucks go 1-2-0, the Abbotsford Canucks go 0-1-1 and saw some of the top prospects continue to produce and contribute well defensively in their respective leagues.
It was another week full of Canucks storylines and we are here to answer all of the best questions that came in to our mailbag.
So, without wasting any more words on some silly intro, let’s dive in!
Efficient is the correct word to use here, Fish Dancer. Though he has a short NHL career with only 86 NHL games, no player comes close to Andrei Kuzmenko’s shooting percentage since he came into the NHL and he does a great job getting to the dangerous areas and being effective with the shots he takes.
Through one season plus, Kuzmenko is rocking a 27.5% shooting percentage. He’s able to capitalize on his high-danger chances and though I believe it’s a bit early to call him the most efficient scorer in NHL history, he’s certainly given us nothing in his 86 games to say that he can’t be known as the most efficient shooter one day. It’s just way too early to crown him with that title.
Kuzmenko makes a lot of sense alongside Elias Pettersson, who is such a cerebral player and to have an intelligent finisher like Kuzmenko on his wing, it’s only going to benefit Pettersson.
The sky is still the limit and it feels like Kuzmenko hasn’t even picked up full-steam this season.
Four goals through four AHL games is great but the maximum number of games for Vasily Podkolzin to stay down in the AHL is simply not something we can project at this point.
Being confident and scoring goals is excellent news but this is about him making it a habit. We are seeing a different player this season with Podkolzin but a lot of that comes from him also playing in a different league with a massively different role. The steps are being taken to grow self-confidence with this young man and that could take a full season. I’m sure we will see Podkolzin in the NHL at some point this season and it would be great to see when there’s an opening in the top-six.
One thing I’d like to see more of from Podkolzin during his current AHL stint is some penalty-killing time. He’s not getting much, if any right now on the penalty kill and if he can add that to his game and grow confidence, it will give him another tool in the tool-belt for his return to the NHL.
That’s the way I look at it now, he’s sharpening those tools in preparation for the call-up. Right now, the shooting is impressive and his all-around game certainly pops in the AHL. The question is if he can sharpen those tools to be able to pop in the NHL. That road may be longer than we think and that’s fine because there is now a focus on development, not just results.
To answer the question, I’d say the number does not exist. It’s about NHL fit and AHL growth right now.
I’m sure a lot of you are seeing the points, and that’s great but this kid does it all.
He’s killing penalties, driving a power play unit, and moving the puck with confidence at five-on-five.
Hunter Brzustewicz is certainly punching above his weight class of being selected in the third round.
As an 18-year-old, right-shot defence prospect — I’d say yeah, he’s the real deal. The kid is certainly climbing our rankings and it’s not just from the point production.
If the Canucks need a winger, I’d put Arshdeep Bains at the top of that list.
Bains can kill penalties, in fact, it’s one of the best parts of his game. Bains has clearly added pace to his game and Abbotsford General Manager Ryan Johnson challenged him to add lower-body strength this past summer — that has clearly helped Bains’ game. He moves the puck like an NHLer and if you watch him in the AHL, you can clearly see it. There are certain players who pop in the AHL and you love to see it from a younger player instead of a 31-year-old veteran.
Bains is still improving and he’s call-up number one for me right now.
As for Nils Åman, he’s coming off his first professional hat trick and looks like he’s finding offence at the AHL level on a consistent basis. If the Canucks need a centre, it’s likely Åman who gets the call or potentially Sheldon Dries but Dries hasn’t looked as good as Åman in the early-stages of the AHL season.
Åman did block a shot in overtime on Saturday night and that looked like it could have resulted in an injury. We will have to wait and see what comes in the next few days.
But mark my words.
Arshdeep Bains is the guy.
I 100% will be continuing to do scouting for right-shot defencemen.
It’s part of my job to inform the masses here at CanucksArmy!
There’s a few out of the J20 Sewdish leagues who already have my attention.
Remember the name Jack Bodin. 6’4″, right-shot defenceman who looks great with the puck on his stick.
You heard it here first.

#MM Comments Questions

Defensively, Ethan Bear has the best numbers alongside Quinn Hughes of the three names you mentioned.
It’s obviously a small sample size for Filip Hronek but his numbers reflect what the eye test says about that being the best offensive pairing. There’s an argument for scoring chances from Hughes and Bear but overall offensive creation seems to be higher with Hronek.
Again, it’s a very small sample size but this is what the numbers and my personal eye test says about your question.
As for why we haven’t seen Hughes with Ian Cole, I guess it’s because they’ve loaded up the top pairing with Hronek and seem to have a lot of success with that pairing so far.
We will have to see if Cole coming up to play with Hughes helps create better balance in the top-four but for now, it looks like they will be sticking with the defence by committee formula and that seems to give us a lot of the H2 pairing.
We spoke with Jeremy Colliton about that last week on the Canucks Conversation show.
“It could happen. He’s not going to start there,” said Colliton. “You don’t have to take the faceoff or be put at centre when we release the [lines] on Twitter to play centre… He can give that to us but time will tell.”
So, I guess the answer is time will tell. At least the thought has crossed the AHL coach’s mind.
I’d love to see them try it.
I know you didn’t use the #MM hashtag but I do want to talk about Jett Woo, so I’m grabbing this for the mailbag, Shawn.
We spent a lot of time on Podkolzin in this article so I’m going to focus on Woo.
I’ll start with this. Through four AHL games, Jett Woo has been the Abbotsford Canucks’ most-consistent defenceman.
What has been impressive about Woo is his ability to adjust to his surroundings and blend into what the coaching staff is asking from him. His puck skills have certainly improved but he is fitting into the Abbotsford Canucks’ system extremely well and with all the focus on structure at the NHL level, it makes me believe that Woo should be given a shot to fit into a role at the NHL level at some point this season.
“I think he’s a good player,” said Abbotsford head coach Jeremy Colliton on Friday night. “[Woo] does a great job defending whether it’s the rusher in his own end. He’s become a really important player for us and a really good player in this league. So [he’s] just got to just keep getting better.”
Woo was almost written off as a prospect 13 months ago but after a strong season last year, he’s looked like improvement is on the mind this season once again and he’s been a nice boost to the AHL defence corps. Woo is currently playing on Abbotsoford’s top-pairing alongside Christian Wolanin and if the NHL club needed to call-up a right-shot defenceman right now, my choice would be Woo instead of Cole McWard.

Speed Round

I’ve liked the Hughes-Hronek pairing, so I’d keep it that way. The second pairing may need a shake-up and perhaps it’s time to try Carson Soucy with Ian Cole on the right side.
That would leave Tyler Myers or Mark Friedman on the right side of the third pairing and I’d like to see Christian Wolanin get a go in the NHL on the third pairing.
As for another Greta party, there’s nothing set for a scheduled date just yet but we had so much fun at the last one and because of the ticket sales, Greta is sure on board for another one soon.
Buddy, I buy the bottles of Arby’s sauce from America.
Talent-wise, I’d say the NCAA is significantly better.
Well, that wraps up another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy. We will ask for questions once again here in the comments section and it’s even better if you come back to this article next Sunday and leave your questions then so that they are fresh!
See you all next week.

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