Roundtable: Podkolzin vs Höglander, Price is Wrong rules, and which Young Star will play the most NHL games?
By Faber6 days ago
Welcome back to another CanucksArmy Roundtable article.
I send out the questions and the contributors here at CA send back their answers.
Then, you decide who you agree with and disagree with in the comments.
Simple stuff, right?
Well, let’s get into it!
Which prospect on the Young Stars roster will play the most NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks?
Akito Hirose has the best chance of playing a significant amount of NHL games for the Canucks this season. Hirose looked very solid during his time with the big club at the end of last year and many people are interested to see if he can replicate those results. I think that he will be given another opportunity to play NHL games this year and if he can perform similarly to last season, he will stick around. When injuries inevitably hit the Canucks blueline, that will only fast-track his chance at a large number of NHL games.
Editor’s note (Faber): I was going for over their entire career and not just this season. I should have cleared that up. My bad, Noah!
It’s still Aatu Raty to me (the world’s worst Billy Joel parody song). There’s still a breakout waiting to burst forth from Raty, and because he’s been hyped as one of the best prospects in the world since he was in his early teens, that breakout is long overdue.
It could come at any time! Even next year! Either way, he’s literally the only center prospect in the organization with reasonable NHL potential, and that alone gives him great odds of playing games now and in the future.
Akito Hirose! Mr calm, cool, and collected.
Hirose sees the play and anticipates very well. He doesn’t fall into the trap of passing the puck to a teammate just to evade pressure. Instead, he’ll round the net or take that extra one second to make sure he gets the puck to a safe area. Though Hirose isn’t offensively gifted, he’s a safe bet and reliable — which is what is going to make him last longer in the league.
If Hirose is able to develop his penalty killing skill with the Abbotsford coaching staff, he will certain speed up and potential elongate his time in the NHL. Rick Tocchet has already praised Hirose’s smothering body positioning, which extends itself well to shorthanded play.
To be successful and take the next step toward being a full-time NHLer, Hirose needs to continue to be aggressive, defend the rush with confidence and poise while also being able to make consistently make quick outlet passes. He can work on developing all of those skills at the AHL level this season. And for all of those reasons, he’s my pick to play the most games as a Vancouver Canuck.
For the club’s sake, I hope it’s Aatu Räty. After all, they traded their team captain for Räty, Anthony Beauvillier, and the 17th overall pick in the draft, then shipped that 17th overall pick with their 2nd-round pick (43rd overall) in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft for a right-shot defenceman on an expiring contract in Filip Hronek.
Only a gas leak inside Rogers Arena or the team’s utmost confidence in their scouting departments can explain the team’s preference to move ahead with Räty and Hronek in the near and long term over two cost-controlled 18-year-old prospects in the pipeline.
If we’re talking this season, Hirose is likely the safe bet.
Career-wise? You’d hope it’s Aatu Räty and that he becomes the Canucks’ first major development W in some time.
I’m going to go with Danila Klimovich because I can see him evolving his game and being a fourth-line player who contributes on a power play unit as fourth lines evolve in the NHL over the next few years.
Klimovich has size, speed and a shot that is electric. He’s still growing his game and if the Canucks continue to develop him at the same rate that he has over the past two seasons, I can see Klimovich being an NHLer.
Akito Hirose comes up a lot in these roundtables, huh?
If Hirose plays as well as he did in his short NHL stint last year, he’s going to be able to find his way into the Canucks defensive rotation in no time. Aatu Räty is also probably going to get as long a leash as needed to make the team on a permanent basis, considering the Canucks traded their former captain to get him.
Who will have the more impressive season, Nils Höglander or Vasily Podkolzin?
I think that Vasily Podkolzin will have a better season out of these two youngsters.
I am still very much a believer in Podkolzin and think that the key to unlocking his potential is getting him to unlearn some habits built during his time in Russia when the focus was on winning games rather than developing.
He seems timid with the puck at times and opening up his game with some more creative plays could do wonders for the young winger. While Höglander is super talented, his lack of finish and tendency to go east-west means that I think he won’t have as successful of a season, especially under a coach like Tocchet who will value Podkolzin’s ability to use his size.
Team Nils Höglander over here.
He impressed in Vancouver earlier than Podkolzin, and he impressed in Vancouver more than Podkolzin. A little slump and a demotion that only lasted as long as it did because of waiver eligibility doesn’t change that. I think that both Hogs and Podz will have good seasons, but more folks have forgotten about Hog’s skill level, and that only adds to the impressiveness factor.
If this question asked who will score the most points this season, I’d say Nils Höglander. But it also depends on how well Vasily Podkolzin plays with his two-way game and bounces back offensively this season. He could very easily have the more impressive season of the two.
Höglander was the more impressive of the two during his time in Abbotsford — leading the team in playoffs with a point-per-game run through six games.
I’m excited to see how he does in the NHL once more. It’ll be a steeper climb but his confidence benefited from his time in the AHL. It sure wouldn’t surprise me to see him at his best this upcoming year after some development time being spent on the young Swede.
Nils Höglander will have a more impressive season simply because it will have taken chiefly in the NHL.
Vasily Podkolzin was fine in the AHL last season but was not dominant. Nils Höglander, on the other hand, was a force to be reckoned with every time he took a shift. Because Höglander looked head-and-shoulders above his peers during the AHL regular season and Calder Cup Playoffs, I have to give him the edge over Podkolzin in terms of having greater success next season.
I have high hopes for Vasily Podkolzin. He seems like he could fill the role that Phil Di Giuseppe and Dakota Joshua found themselves in last season quite well. In other words, he seems like a Rick Tocchet type of player, so I’m going with him.
I’m going to be on team Höglander here as this is beginning to feel like a Team Edward versus Team Jacob scenario, and yes I had to ask my fiancee if I was getting this reference correct.
Though I believe that Rick Tocchet will like each of these young wingers, I believe he has the coaching staff to be able to unlock Höglander and evolve him into a great middle-six contributor.
This feels like a cop-out answer, but I’m so confident that Nils Höglander will have a big year that Podkolzin might have the more “impressive” season by default.
Höglander is more than ready to be a full-time NHLer again, but Podkolzin has a little more mystery around his ceiling right now. If he’s able to lock down a spot with the big club and find his role under Rick Tocchet, Podkolzin could end up being a crucial piece down the stretch.
How many goals do you expect from Filip Hronek this season?
Hronek’s career high in goals before this year was nine in 60 games. I don’t see the Canucks going with two defencemen on the top power play unit so most of his goals will need to come at even strength. He has five even-strength goals in each of the past two seasons, with a career-high of eight even-strength goals in his sophomore season.
If Hronek were to play 82 games this season, I would project him for 12 goals. However, he has struggled with injury issues throughout his career, never playing the full 82 games. Therefore, I’ll say that he will score nine goals once again in around 70 games.
Oh, not much. Only to be the saviour of the Canucks’ blueline. Seriously, it sounds like a lot, but either Hronek is as good or better than they say, or the Canucks are right back to having the worst RHD depth in the league.
I think he plays well enough to hold together a so-so top-four with Quinn Hughes and whoever else ends up in there, but that’s with a heavy dose of optimism.
My handy dandy formula (adding up all the numbers and calculating the average), advises me that Hronek should score six goals. But I’m going to set that as his benchmark, give him a +5 boost for being with a new team, and estimate him right around 11-12. The most he’s ever scored in a season in the NHL is nine, and that was four seasons ago with Detroit.
At least one.
I think Hronek and Hughes will both hit 10 goals on the season. Not nine, not 11. Exactly 10 each.
Filip Hronek should be the primary shooter on his defence pairing so I’m going to guess that he scores between six and nine goals at even strength and then adds two or three on the power play with the second unit. Give me 11 goals total for Hronek this season. A nice little season offensively for the newcomer.
Well, considering that Hronek’s career high is nine, and even Quinn Hughes has yet to score more than eight in a season, I’m going to say… *Lachlan attempts to do math in his head* 14!
Yeah, why not?
Who is your pick to be the closest to 10 goals without going over? (Wheel of Fortune rules)
Yeah, I’m an idiot and thought of The Big Wheel that they spin to get to the showcase showdown. Just a bad moment for me and I deserve the ripping that came in the responses.
I’m going with Nils Höglander scoring 10 on the dot and you can take that to the bank.
I think a solid answer would be Hronek but there is a possibility that he goes above and ruins my entry.
I’ll go with Teddy Blueger. He’s never scored double-digit goals and I don’t think he will now but as long as he stays healthy, I think he‘s a lock to get at least five. This makes him a pretty solid answer for this game.
Aren’t those ‘Price is Right’ rules?
Either way, my especially bold answer is that two players will tie for this honour, and those two players will be Quinn Hughes and Teddy Blueger. Ten each, on the nose. And on top of that, ten goals from each will be considered a pretty good performance, all things considered.
I may be young, but I’m pretty sure it’s Price is Right rules.
Like the closest without going over the retail price? But please still include this if I’m wrong about that. It will thicken my skin. And if I’m right, I challenge you to handle the shame, Faber. Eat it right up.
I really wish this number would have been higher than 10, because we need our players to score more than that. It’s tricky to guess, and I would have said Quinn Hughes if I didn’t have him picked for 20 this year (which I refuse to differ from). A defenceman is probably the safest option, so I’ll say the newbie, Carson Soucy. His career high is 10. Wouldn’t be mad if I was proven wrong though.
I’d actually encourage it.
I’m 99.99% sure you meant Price is Right rules, but I’ll play along!
“Yeah, hi, I’d like to buy a vowel!”
Put me down for Dakota Joshua putting up a nine or ten-goal season. Joshua is my pick here.
There are a lot of decent options on the board this year. Filip Hronek and Dakota Joshua come to mind first, but I’m going off the board with my Price is Right style pick of Aidan McDonough.
I think McDonough is going to start the year in Abbotsford, but I think he’s going to force his way back onto the big club before the season is out.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pot seven or eight goals along the way.
Recent articles from Faber
- Vancouver Canucks trade Tanner Pearson and a 3rd round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for goaltender Casey DeSmith
- Report: The Canucks have activated Tanner Pearson from long-term injury reserve
- Blackfish: Reviewing every Canucks prospect at Young Stars, Jonathan Lekkerimäki’s improved forecheck, and more