The Abbotsford Canucks are going to get a big boost to the lineup for their playoff run.
Monday’s Trade Deadline also happened to be the deadline for AHL playoff eligibility. General manager Patrik Allvin confirmed that Vasily Podkolzin was papered down to the AHL with the ability to be on Abbotsford’s roster for the final stretch of the season as well as their playoff run.
The AHL season ends on April 30th with the playoffs beginning in early May. The Vancouver Canucks’ season ends on April 29th and it is beginning to look like the playoffs are out of the realm of possibility.
As for the AHL squad in Abbotsford, the playoffs are all but locked up with the team 19 points up on the teams chasing a playoff spot in the Pacific Division. Seven teams will make the playoffs from the Pacific Division and the Canucks currently sit fourth in the division with a 29-19-5 record. They would have home ice advantage in a three-game series against the fifth seed team in the division.
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Podkolzin will be a big boost to the AHL squad if he joins them in May. Those Canucks fans who have been wanting to see Podkolzin play on the power play or shorthanded units will very likely be able to see him do both with Abbotsford.
On top of what he can bring on the ice, you’d have to imagine that Podkolzin’s presence will be good for 19-year-old winger Danila Klimovich — who shared an interpreter with Podkolzin during training camp.
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Podkolzin has always been a leader on his national team appearances and is highly regarded by those who played with him. We remember having a conversation with fellow Canucks prospect Dmitri Zlodeyev, where he went on and on about Podkolzin’s work ethic in practice. Zlodeyev even told us that he learned how to be a better leader from talking to and watching Podkolzin off the ice.
The Abbotsford Canucks are gearing up for a deep playoff run with the dream of running all the way into a Calder Cup championship. The team is strong on defence, has a hot goalie in Spencer Martin, and when healthy — boasts one of the strongest forward groups in the AHL. The addition of Podkolzin is a win-win. He will be able to continue playing hockey and will be gaining valuable experience alongside young players like Jack Rathbone, Will Lockwood, and the aforementioned Danila Klimovich.
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The only downside to the “papering down” of Podkolzin is that Canucks organization now finds itself in a tricky situation with AHL call-ups. The team sent down and recalled both Nic Petan and Podkolzin.
Teams are only allowed to make four AHL call-ups after the NHL trade deadline. This does not include emergency call-ups if the team is unable to ice 18 skaters and/or two goalies.
Patrik Allvin spoke about Rathbone and Lockwood being two players who could get a shot in the NHL later in the year.
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“I hope they’re going to be ready to fight for some games and get a chance to show us what they have,” said Allvin in the post-deadline meeting with the media.
The Canucks wouldn’t be able to recall Noah Juulsen, Sheldon Rempal or any other more veteran players if they hope to get both Rathbone and Lockwood into NHL game-action.
With Petan and Podkolzin both being recalled on Monday, there are only two spots left for call-ups.
This gives the Canucks limited flexibility for their future call-ups as the season goes on and may put the spotlight on Rathbone and Lockwood over the next few weeks.
All in all, this move to paper Podkolzin down to Abbotsford should excite the fans in the Fraser Valley. Podkolzin is going to be a big boost to the Abbotsford team when he arrives in May.
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The hope is that his past playoff showing in the KHL is matched in the AHL.
Podkolzin went from 0.31 points per game in the regular season to a 0.69 PPG rate in his nice KHL playoffs run during the 2020-21 season with SKA.
We will have to wait until May to see if Podkolzin can step up for another playoff run. This time, it will be for the Canucks (of Abbotsford).