Should the Canucks call up Nikita Tolopilo, or Arturs Silovs with Demko going down?: Canucks Conversation

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
1 month ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal discussed Vancouver’s goalie situation in light of the recent injury to Thatcher Demko.
Demko left Saturday’s 5-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets with an undisclosed injury and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.
“If this team defends the way they have in front of Demko the last few games – and I know Demko has had to make some timely saves – but if they play like this, they’ll be fine over this stretch if it is just two to three weeks. I don’t want to speculate too much on what it means for him, but you would think you’ll have a well-rested Thatcher Demko ready to go for the playoffs.”
“What stands out in terms of why they’ve improved defensively – there’s just no space in the neutral zone if you’re the opposition,” said Harm. “In the Jets game, for example, it seemed like every time the Jets were trying to transition the puck up the ice, there was so much back-pressure from the forwards to angle them to the outside, force them to dump it in as opposed to having the time to carry it in and make a dangerous play off the rush. Now that the Canucks are back at home, they don’t have many games over this next week. They’re going to hopefully be well-rested to continue playing that style because it is taxing. It does require a lot of energy to be busting your tail on every shift, every backcheck while also trying to create offense as a forward. If they can continue defending the neutral zone as well as they have, that will go a long way in making sure DeSmith’s workload isn’t too onerous.”
The guys then moved on to the call-up situation. The choice comes down to two solid young goalies in Abbotsford – 22-year-old Arturs Silovs (15-11-6, .907%, 2.74 GAA) or 23-year-old Nikita Tolopilo (14-10-0, .907%, 2.83 GAA).
“I’m looking at this and trying to figure out who should get the call-up,” started Quads. “I know everyone wants a concrete answer. I’ve praised Arturs Silovs a lot on this show, but – there’s a but here – Nikita Tolopilo is having a really strong season down in Abbotsford. This is a guy the Canucks went out and got in the offseason, and I know they’re very excited about him. He’s up to a .907 save percentage this year, and you also look and see Arturs Silovs is at .907. I can tell you Arturs Silovs is somebody this coaching staff really believes in. He got the games at the end of last season, and I thought he was really good in those games. He had the one against the New York Rangers where I thought he really took a step in terms of learning the speed of the game. He has NHL experience, so if you’re looking at it and saying, ‘okay, one of these goaltenders is coming up, they’re probably going to play’ – if Demko is out two to three weeks, you’re not starting Casey DeSmith for all of those games. One of these guys is going to play, and we’re trying to figure out if it’s going to be Silovs or Tolopilo. Coming into this year, Silovs was kind of penciled in as the starter, and, especially in terms of how they’ve played in 2024, I would say Tolopilo has been the better goaltender. What really stands out is how the goals are going in. I know they have identical save percentages, but what’s going to matter more to Ian Clark when he and the coaching staff are making this decision is how the goals are going in. A lot of the goals Silovs let in this season, as much as it pains me to say it, have been stinkers.”
“I will say this about Silovs; he goes through these stretches where he’ll have really high highs, and really low lows,” added Harm. “He’ll go on a heater like he did in the World Championship for Latvia or at points in the NHL, where he’ll rattle off a couple of shutouts in a few weeks. But it’ll be counteracted by stretches where it feels like he’s allowing a lot of soft goals. I think that’s going to be an important part; assessing his recent form, where is his confidence at, where is he at mentally, and if it doesn’t go well, is he in a position to be able to shake that off?”
The consensus was indeed that Arturs Silovs is the more likely netminder to be called up to NHL action, but certainly with less conviction than many would have expected coming into this season. Tolopilo has impressed and ultimately, having to make the difficult decision of which of your young star-potential goalies you have to call to action is a great problem for the Vancouver Canucks to have.
You can watch the full segment down below!

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