It was another busy week for the Vancouver Canucks’ prospects as the European leagues are nearing the halfway point of their regular seasons; the NCAA is seeing a lot of top teams matchup against each other; and the CHL is in full swing.
We’ve got a lot to get to and won’t waste much time on an intro because intros suck, and I don’t like writing them.
Let’s get to the prospects and the week that was!
The Liiga Defence Duo
Right-shot defenceman Viktor Persson found the scoresheet in Friday’s 5-1 defeat. He was pinching in on the left side and won a puck battle and ultimately dished the biscuit out to his defence partner, who made a good pass down to a forward who buried the Pelicans’ one and only goal in the game.
Persson played 14:23 in that Liiga game and this is what the assist looked like.
Persson played in one other Liiga game this week. He logged 13:03 in a 3-2 win on Wednesday.
As for left-shot defenceman Joni Jurmo, he was held scoreless on the week in his three games. He played 17:06 on Tuesday, 16:38 on Thursday, and 17:34 on Saturday. He had three shots on goal in each of those games and is continuing to see top-four minutes with Jokerit in Liiga.
Jurmo is having a good development season and it will be interesting to see if Patrik Allvin makes a push for Jurmo to come join Abbotsford next season.
A big ncAAAA weekend for Aidan McDonough
Aidan McDonough continued hitting milestones at Northeastern this weekend. The big winger played in his 100th game with the Huskies and put up five points in two games.
His big night was on Friday when he scored a goal and added three assists.
Mcdonough followed that up with an assist in Saturday’s game against the University of New Hampshire.
The 23-year-old McDonough is now up to seven goals and eight assists for a total of 15 points in 10 NCAA games this season. That puts him sixth in the NCAA for points as he closes out his career as the captain of the Northeastern Huskies.
Left-shot defenceman Jacob Truscott had a quiet weekend in a big pair of games against Penn State. He was a -3 in the two games and didn’t record a point. He’s now no longer a point-per-game player in the NCAA and has nine points in 10 NCAA games.
The people want a Matthew Thiessen update, so I’m going to give you a Matthew Thiessen update!
The 2018 seventh-round pick is off to a good start in his fourth NCAA season.
Thiessen, who is now 22 years old, has a .928 save percentage through five appearances this season on a 2-3-0 Minnesota-Duluth team. He is finding success after transferring from the University of Maine, a spot where played three seasons to begin his NCAA career.
The transfer has been good for the counting stats but I haven’t yet gotten to the point of actually watching him play yet. He’s a goalie and he’s got pretty ridiculous numbers on a losing team right now. Thiessen is back on the radar and we will keep you updated if his strong play continues. Who knows, maybe I’ll even watch a game of his one of these days.
Speaking of NCAA goalies, Aku Koskenvuo made his first regular season start for Harvard this weekend. The teenager stopped 21 of the 23 shots he faced in a 5-2 win over Brown University.
Here’s the broadcast talking about Koskenvuo, and I’m no Harvard grad but I do pronounce his name more accurately.
Here’s a look at him moving in the crease, which in our eyes is one of his most impressive skills.
You can just see how big he is and how every movement has a purpose behind it.
This kid is going to be something if he develops the right way.
Sweden always gets its own heading
It’s more about the upcoming week than the past week for Jonathan Lekkerimäki and Elias Pettersson (D-Petey).
Lekkerimäki had one assist this past week in three Allsvenskan games.
D-Petey had a goal and three assists in two J20 games.
Here are those all mangled into one video — beginning with the three assists.
I mentioned that the week ahead is the important thing for these two prospects and that is because they will be competing in the 4-nations tournament, which is only a three nations tournament with Russia not being invited this year.
Lekkerimäki and Pettersson arrived in Czechia on Monday as camp kicked off for Sweden ahead of their first game of the tournament on Wednesday.
This tournament is Sweden’s final prep for the World Junior Championship and you should expect Lekkerimäki to have a big tournament and hope for Pettersson to show well enough to secure his spot for the WJC.
We will have a deep look at their play throughout the week and wrap up the tournament in next week’s Blackfish article.
Lucas Forsell is our other Swede to watch, as we have mentioned in prior instalments of Blackfish, Forsell is loaned to the Allsvenskan league for the time being and has looked good — producing three assists in five games with his new club. Forsell had two assists in his Allsvenskan game on Wednesday but didn’t find the scoresheet on Friday or Saturday.
Both of his assists were secondary assists but his second one from Wednesday was pretty funny as he falls right onto his caboose but still picks up a helper. Here’s his assist from the seat of his pants.
In other Swedish prospect news, CanucksArmy has learned that left-shot defenceman Hugo Gabrielson is getting close to returning from play after offseason surgery to his shoulder. He will join Forsell and Lekkerimäki in the Allsvenskan as Gabrielson is a part of the Västerviks organization.
Our final Swede is right-shot defenceman Filip Johansson, who had a goal and an assist in three games this week. His goal was a snipe from the point right into the top corner.
Johansson continues to get a lot of ice time in the SHL and averaged 20:11 over his three games this week. Patrik Allvin said we will be seeing him over here in North America next year, so get excited about that.
Connor Lockhart is turning the OHL into the RDHL
It was a weird week for Connor Lockhart. His Peterborough Petes team had a flu run through the group and they were missing half of their defencemen for the weekend. With the lack of players on the backend, Lockhart ended up lining up as a right-side defenceman during their three-in-three this weekend.
Lockhart played Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as a defenceman and was pretty effective — he had six points in those three games and made a few nice plays as a defenceman. I don’t think this is his future but it was cool to see him step up for his team and be trusted as the player tasked with being a defenceman.
Now to the actual defenceman in the OHL, seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, Kirill Kudryavtsev played in three games this week and had an assist in each outing.
And on to the goalie in the WHL, as Ty Young has been getting a workout and a half as Prince George’s goaltender this season. He played in two WHL games this week and faced 40 shots on Wednesday, and 43 shots on Saturday.
Young has been good this season even with the crazy amount of shots that he is facing. Over the week he stopped 76 of the 83 shots he faced for a 0.916% save percentage. He’s got a 0.911% save percentage on the year through five starts.
Linus Karlsson continues to produce in the AHL, he had a goal and an assist in two games this week with the Abbotsford Canucks.
We caught up with Karlsson after Friday’s win over the Coachella Valley Firebirds.
“Physically, I feel really good, I don’t feel like I’m bad at that,” said Karlsson when talking about making the adjustment to North America. “There are other things that I need to work at. I’m feeling good out there and I feel like I’m getting better and better. There’s a lot to improve on and I will still work at that. It’s easier to get inside here, there are a lot of rushes. I’m building confidence with the points and of course, that’s nice.”
Karlsson is now up to 10 points (3g-7a) in eight AHL games.
Danila Klimovich was not on either power play unit for Abbotsford in their two games this week. It’s unfortunate to see him be absent from the power play units and though he has a lot of room to improve on his play at five-on-five, it is a bit worrying that he isn’t getting time on the power play — a spot where his strengths should show well.
We will have to see if Klimovich can earn more trust from Abbotsford head coach Jeremy Colliton but right now it seems like the development is being done away from game time because Klimovich is simply playing in a third-line role and not getting onto any special teams units. Roles and ice time can change on a week-to-week basis in the AHL, so we will keep you posted if he is back on the power play this weekend.
That wraps up our Blackfish Prospect Report for this past week. As always, if you have a prospect you would like to hear more about, let us know in the comments (as some did with Matthew Thiessen) and if you’d like to hear from a specific prospect, let me know.
See you all next Tuesday!