We are back with another edition of the Tuesday Blackfish Prospects Report, where we wrap up the week that was for Vancouver Canucks prospects.
This week, we have an injury, some returns from injury, a healthy scratch, and a dozen goals and assists.
Let’s dive in and check out what happened this week.
Sweden always gets its own heading
I’ve been told to always deliver the bad news first, so we will start with Jonathan Lekkerimäki.
The Canucks’ top prospect was held off the scoresheet in all three of his games this past week but the worst part about the week that was is what happened on Saturday.
Lekkerimäki took a shoulder hit to the head and had to be assisted off the ice.
The 18-year-old winger was trending towards having his most ice time of the season before having to leave the game with 13 minutes remaining in this one.
We spoke with Djurgården’s general manager about the initial belief of the injury and he said that it’s still early to know for sure, but suspects that Lekkerimäki suffered a concussion on the hit. And from watching the video, it’s easy to see how that could happen from the player making direct contact with Lekkerimäki’s head.
On top of that bad news, Lekkerimäki’s team made a coaching change early Monday morning, moving towards a new direction with their head coach.
The new coach may give Lekkerimäki a new look in the lineup but if Lekkerimäki is going to miss some games here with a head injury, he will be behind the eight-ball when it comes to getting into the good books with his new bench boss.
Lekkerimäki is scheduled to head to Sweden’s World Junior Championship camp in about three weeks’ time and we will continue to update if this injury will affect his ability to participate in the WJC.
We’re hoping for a full and speedy recovery for the young kid.
Head injuries are nothing to mess around with.
Continuing on in the Allsvenskan, defenceman Hugo Gabrielson has returned to action after offseason shoulder surgery kept him out of action. He actually returned to play on November 16th but slipped through the cracks of our last prospect report.
The defenceman adds to the number of Canucks prospects playing in the Allsvenskan — bringing that number to three.
The third Allsvenskan player, 19-year-old winger Lucas Forsell, had a wonderful highlight for us last week.
Forsell scored a game-winning goal in a 4-3 win on Wednesday.
The kid showed a ton of confidence by skating around the net with the puck before launching a tremendous one-timer from the top of the slot.
Forsell finished the week with one goal in three games, tallying up 15:10, 15:46 and 17:40 of ice time in each game.
There was more than one prospect with a game-winning goal in Sweden last week but Filip Johansson one-upped Lucas Forsell by scoring his goal at the SHL level.
Johansson played two games last week, averaging about 18:30 of ice time and scoring the game-winning goal in Thursday’s 3-0 win.
The 22-year-old right-shot defenceman continues to pile up the goals and points, now sitting with three goals and seven assists in 20 SHL games.
Those 10 points are good enough for third in scoring for defencemen 23 and under in the SHL.
Finally, Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) played 2:20 in an SHL game on Saturday and had two shots on net in his small amount of ice time. He had a J20 game on Friday but was held off the scoresheet. He also had another SHL game on Thursday, where he played 2:04.
It was a busy week for the young defenceman.
NCAA and USHL <– (Hey, that’s new!)
Beginning in the NCAA, winger Aidan McDonough scored two goals and added an assist in a 6-4 loss to Western Michigan. McDonough is now up to 21 points in 14 games and is tied for fourth in NCAA scoring.
Another update from the Northeastern Huskies is about 2022 sixth-round draft pick, Jackson Dorrington.
The left-shot defenceman has been playing the right side for the Huskies and is now on a two-game point streak.
As a 6’2″, 200 lbs defensive defenceman, Dorrington is playing tough and showing some versatility with his ability to play the right side.
Sticking with NCAA defencemen, Jacob Truscott has recovered from his illness enough to get back into the lineup. He was held without a point in two games against Harvard this weekend.
Speaking of Harvard as I connect all these Canucks NCAA prospects together, Aku Koskenvuo is looking like he will be the third-string goalie for the Crimson this year. He’s been good in exhibition and his one game of NCAA season play, but there’s a lot of talent in the Harvard crease and Koskenvuo faces an uphill battle to get time with Harvard this season.
Aku Koskenvuo is tall and so is Daimon Gardner.
Ok, that was a bit of a stretch.
But Gardner is back in action after suffering an MCL tear back in October. The 2022 fourth-round pick is back with his USHL team in Tri-City and scored a goal and added an assist in his opening weekend with the Storm.
Gardner looked good at Canucks development camp. He moves well, has size for days and has a good release on his shot. He will be a long-term project but there are some serious skills in his game. We will be following along to see what he does at the USHL level this season.
We sure wish he was in Chilliwack with the BCHL team, though.
Right-shot Swedish defenceman Viktor Persson had a secondary assist in Liiga over the weekend. His ice time has significantly dropped over the past two weeks.
Arturs Silovs got back into the Abbotsford crease on Sunday for the first time since November 19th. Collin Delia had three starts in a row for Abbotsford.
Silovs saved 37 of the 41 shots he faced in a 4-3 overtime loss.
He was good in the game and hopefully won’t be starting every fourth game for the Abbotsford Canucks. He has earned the right to at least be splitting starts with the veteran Delia.
Another AHL youngster Danila Klimovich saw his fourth healthy scratch of the season on Friday but returned to the lineup on Sunday and earned himself a secondary assist on a Chase Wouters goal.
That’s a 19-year-old and two 22-year-olds combining for an AHL goal. Good stuff from the youngsters on that sequence.
Well, that wraps up our Blackfish report for this week. Since we have been a little low on highlights over the past month, I’m going to set up a call with a prospect and include it in next week’s report.
Thanks for coming by for another prospects report and we will keep you posted on all the top prospect news here at CanucksArmy.