More Vancouver Canucks prospects began their regular seasons with a few more kicking off their 2022-23 campaigns soon.
This is the CanucksArmy Blackfish prospect report, so let’s dive into what we saw from the Canucks’ prospects this week.
Leading off in Liiga
Viktor Persson has found a role with his Liiga team, and it’s a good one. The big, right-shot (nailed it!) defenceman has been bouncing up and down the pregame lineups — sometimes being used as a third-pairing defenceman but other times seeing first-pairing minutes.
No matter the case, Persson is playing, and he’s playing a lot. His Pelicans team has had three regular-season games this past week and Persson played 21:20, 14:41, and 16:23 in those games. These minutes are without time in either of the special teams’ units, so, he’s playing a lot at five-on-five.
We had questions on how much Persson was going to play as he made the move to Finland but the early returns have been good for the 20-year-old, 6’2” defenceman.
Sticking in Liiga, after missing the regular season opener with a lower-body injury, Joni Jurmo is now in the lineup for Jukurit.
Jurmo’s minutes saw some ups and downs but overall, he played a lot of hockey this week. In his three games, his ice time was 14:23, 21:44, and 17:04. Jurmo also recorded a pretty dinky secondary assist as he dumped the puck in and went for a change.
Both of the Liiga defencemen have found minutes with their teams and that is good news for the Canucks. We weren’t so sure that either player would be in their team’s starting lineups, let alone getting a chance to be over 20 minutes a night.
Neither of these two defencemen are getting much time on special teams as well. Their minutes are 95% at even strength, and we will have to see if that changes over the course of their seasons.
Sweden always gets its own heading
We begin with the Canucks’ top prospect, Jonathan Lekkerimäki. He began his regular season campaign in the Allsvenskan this week and it didn’t take long for him to have his name added to the scoresheet.
In a game that was a parade to the penalty box, Lekkerimäki had a lot of time spent on the power play and added a secondary assist in his regular-season debut.
He started the year on the third line with his pal Liam Öhgren but saw time with the team’s second power play unit.
All in all, Lekkerimäki wasn’t that noticeable on a shift-to-shift basis but he did throw this big hit and added an assist during his regular season debut.
We want to see Lekkerimäki continue to improve his play at even-strength and become more of a contributor than just a power play specialist. The assist and hit were good but there wasn’t much in the rest of his game to note.
Defenceman Elias Pettersson is still sticking around in the SHL but saw a game where he played just under seven minutes and a game where he only had 59 seconds of ice time.
Pettersson has been used as the seventh defenceman so far this SHL season and we wonder if he will get sent back down to the J20 league so that he can get some more minutes.
As for Jonathan Myrenberg, he is on loan to Mora in the Allsvenskan and is played 16:38 in his regular-season opener.
He had a nice shot on net in the game and was physical throughout his 16 minutes of ice time.
Myrenberg and Lekkerimäki see their Allsvenskan seasons crank up this week with multiple games. We will let you know how they do this week.
Lucas Forsell has been on the outside looking in on his SHL team but got a lot of ice time in the J20 league this week.
He played in one SHL game, where he only received three shifts for 2:05 of ice time. When it came to J20, he played in two games and averaged 18:02 of ice time. In those two games, Forsell totalled up 13 shot attempts and secured an assist.
He is the right-shot forward who circles back and gets the shot off in this clip.
Camp Cuts and College Hockey
The Canucks announced early cuts from training camp for three of their CHL prospects.
Kirill Kudryavtsev, Ty Young, and Connor Lockhart were all sent back to their junior teams on Monday morning.
Kudryavtsev had a quiet camp but heard a lot from Bruce Boudreau and Trent Cull out in Whistler. Boudreau was very vocal with Kudryavtsev during drills and we saw Cull spending a lot of time with the Russian defenceman throughout the weekend.
Young looked good in camp. There’s a lot of raw potential there and the Canucks’ goaltending development group is going to get their hands on this kid and attempt to mould him into a pro goalie.
Lockhart continues to impress with his speed and skill but didn’t necessarily have a great camp with the Canucks. We thought he looked better and stuck out more at last year’s camp.
Kudryavtsev and Lockhart are back to their OHL teams and Young is with Prince George in the WHL.
CHL teams are already in the midst of their preseason and these three prospects will play big roles for their teams this year.
College hockey is set to see some of its first action this weekend. The Canucks have six prospects in the NCAA this year but we want to focus on the two big names.
Aidan McDonough will captain Northeastern this fall and is expected to be one of the leading scorers in the NCAA. He chose to return to Northeastern for his senior season and the Canucks will be able to sign him after his year concludes. We could see McDonough in the AHL or NHL as soon as early April.
In the crease, we are watching Aku Koskenvuo as he attempts to win the starting job at Harvard. The talented backstop has all the physical traits to be an excellent goalie and though Harvard is returning their starting goalie from last year, Koskenvuo is going to push for starts from day one.
This wraps up our Blackfish Prospects Report for the week, we will be back next week with a lot more to talk about next week!