We are back with another weekly Blackfish Prospects Report, recapping the week that was for the prospects of the Vancouver Canucks.
This week saw a lot of goals and assists from the prospects so we will have a jam-packed report full of clips this week. We are also compiling our rankings of the Canucks’ top prospects and hope to have an updated top-10 list ready to launch during the All-Star break.
Since we have so many clips to get to, let’s dive right in and check out the week that was for the Canucks’ top prospects!
Sweden always gets its own heading
Right off the top, let’s talk about Jonathan Lekkerimäki. The 2022 first-round pick had a busy week of scoring goals and tallying up assists — in the junior ranks.
The 18-year-old winger was sent down to the J20 league after being the 13th forward for his Allsvenskan team on Friday. He scored two goals and added three assists in two J20 games this weekend.
Let’s look at the goals before discussing the situation of him being back in the J20 league.
There’s no debate that it is great to see Lekkerimäki scoring goals but as such a highly-touted offensive prospect, you’d hope he would be able to score these type of goals in the Allsvenskan league — one tier below the SHL — instead of just in the J20 ranks.
Our understanding is that Lekkerimäki was involved in the decision-making to go down to the J20 league, so it’s not like he was forced to go down and play in the junior ranks — he wanted to get some more ice time and the ability to move him down to the J20 league was an easy thing to do.
The big story that arises here for us is the future development of Lekkerimäki. We know that the Vancouver Giants have Lekkerimäki’s CHL rights and currently have him on their frozen list of import players. If Lekkerimäki is unable to find consistent ice time and production in the Allsvenskan this season, bringing him over to the WHL and having him in the Canucks’ backyard with the Giants feels like a spot where the development can be a close-to-home feeling where the Canucks’ development team can support the youngster. Having Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Yogi Švejkovský, Ian Beckenstein, and Mackenzie Braid close by would absolutely help support Lekkerimäki in his growth toward becoming an NHL player.
Bringing over Lekkerimäki would also get him closer to the AHL and that would be a good thing.
We will see what happens because we know that Lekkerimäki is a lot more comfortable in Sweden and have heard that he is not yet confident in his English — though he speaks it fine in our conversations with him. If we had to bet on next season’s landing spot, we would guess that Lekkerimäki will stay in Sweden but if he continues to play in the J20 for a while, it could be interesting from the Canucks’ organization if they want to get a more hands-on track of development and bring Lekkerimäki over to the Vancouver area. This is a story we will continue to follow as the year goes on.
19-year-old winger Lucas Forsell had an assist in the SHL in a game on Thursday. He played 11:23 and 12:36 in his two SHL games this week. The assist was a pass in front of the net where the puck pinballed around and found a teammate, who fired it into the back of the net. It was Forsell’s first assists of the season — he now has three goals and one assist through his eight SHL games since being called up from the Allsvenskan.
Right-shot defenceman Filip Johansson played in two SHL games as Frölunda’s top right-shot defenceman. He had a secondary assist in an overtime win on Saturday.
2022 third-round pick Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) was also sent down to the J20 and he scored a goal and added an assist on the weekend.
Here’s his power play goal.
Here’s his primary assist.
Big games in the NCAA
Aidan McDonough continues to be a scoring machine in the NCAA. He had two goals on the weekend in a Huskies vs Huskies matchup against UConn on Saturday.
Here’s his rocket of a wrist shot on the power play.
This is his second goal of the game.
The 23-year-old McDonough now has 15 goals and 14 assists through 21 NCAA games. He is seventh in NCAA points and third in goals.
Michigan defenceman Jacob Truscott had a big offensive weekend. He tallied a goal and two assists in a big 4-2 win over their rival school Ohio State.
Odds and ends
Kirill Kudryavtsev has a four-game point streak. He had an assist in each of his three OHL games this past week.
Danila Klimovich continues to roll in the AHL. He had a goal this week and now has seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in his last 19 AHL games.
Klimovich’s most recent goal was a perfect example of what he is doing so well. He was engaged in the forecheck and it resulted in him being rewarded with his seventh goal of the season.
Goaltender Arturs Silovs only had one start this week but he was excellent. Silovs made 25 saves on 26 shots in a 5-1 win over the San Jose Barracuda on Saturday night. He’s now had eight consecutive games where he has allowed two or less goals — you should recognize how impressive that is for a goalie in the AHL.
Silovs is still just 21 years old. Impressive stuff.
OHL winger Connor Lockhart had a goal and two assists in three games this week.
This concludes our weekly Blackfish article and as we mentioned off the hop, we are currently throwing together our top-10 prospect rankings for this organization. We aim to have the articles dropping during the All-Star break.
See you all next week for another edition of the Blackfish Prospects Report.