Another Monday, another mailbag as we work our way through the offseason.
We are coming off a four-day development camp that featured a busy opening of free agency on Wednesday. The Canucks added a handful of players as their prospects skated around at the Father Bauer Arena out at UBC.
There was a lot to learn at Canucks development camp. We saw some strengths like Nils Åman’s skating and Aidan McDonough’s shot. Some other prospects made a significant impact in the first in-person viewings we were able to have. Jonathan Myrenberg’s size, skating, and ability to see the ice were impressive and we really liked Joni Jurmo’s athleticism.
Aku Koskenvuo was very impressive with how long he is and how he moved on the ice while Linus Karlsson has some interesting skills and we will see how he can do in the AHL this season.
Overall, it was a great week and an awesome experience finally getting to see all of the Canucks prospects in one place and getting the chance to chat with some of the young players.
Now we are back to the offseason grind where the commenters can get mad at us for having too many articles about J.T. Miller. Today, I promise there won’t even be one question about trading Miller — because this mailbag is from the people and for the people.
Let’s not waste any more words.
Here’s what the wonderful people of Twitter (and CanucksArmy #MM commenters) have for this week’s mailbag.
I very much doubt that Nils Höglander would be seeing time in the AHL any time soon. He still provides a high level of effort and skill to an NHL lineup. Höglander can be a good option for movement in the top-nine forward group when the team needs a shake-up. Though he missed the end of last season, let’s not forget how much of a competitor Höglander is.
From speaking with some of the SHL management and coaches from his SHL team, Rögle BK, I was told that he was always the first person at the rink in the morning and worked incredibly hard to improve the weaknesses in his game. Once Bruce Boudreau sees that version of him instead of the injured version, he will begin to see what he has in Höglander.
It wasn’t a good sophomore season for the young Swede but you can bet that he will do everything in his power to not be an AHLer next season. As long as he listens to what the coaches tell him and implements it into his game, he will be a useful piece in the Canucks’ NHL lineup.
Zack MacEwen looked pretty sharp and so did Quinn Hughes.
I’m just happy that none of them wore jeans. That would be a tough look.
Jonathan Myrenberg: Botton-four right-side defenceman
Arshdeep Bains: Botton-six winger
Aku Koskenvuo: NHL Starter
Jackson Dorrington: Bottom-pairing defenceman
Elias Pettersson (LD): Bottom-four defenceman who brings a lot of physicality
Dmitri Zlodeyev: Call-up option from AHL some day
Lucas Forsell: Third line winger
The floor for all of these players is that they never make it to the NHL. None of them are guaranteed to make it there.
Jonathan Myrenberg: Comes to the AHL in a few years, maybe gets some NHL games
Arshdeep Bains: Plays middle-six in the AHL this season, maybe gets some NHL games in a couple of years if he continues to be an incredibly hard worker
Aku Koskenvuo: Could be in the AHL after his career at Harvard and if he absolutely buys-in to what Ian Clark is preaching, this could be something special
Jackson Dorrington: Maybe gets to the AHL one day
Elias Pettersson (LD): I think he gets to the NHL one day, there’s already a lot to like in his game
Dmitri Zlodeyev: Comes over to AHL eventually and plays a couple of seasons there
Lucas Forsell: Comes to AHL in 2024 and scores a lot in the AHL and we start to talk about him
I don’t believe that analytics tell the entire story of a player but his defensive and offensive analytics are quite bad and he comes with four more years at a $4,400,000 cap hit.
Only Bik Nizzar of Sportsnet650 is on board for Connor Murphy.
They have absolutely not done enough to sort out the zone exits. The defence core is about to get run back like a Devis Hester punt return.
We still have a lot of time before training camp but the Canucks have a lot of work to do before we can say that enough has been done to the zone exits problems that Jim Rutherford brought up at the end-of-season media availability.
A poorly dressed man is better than a sweaty, suited man.
I regret nothing.
We have another #MM question from the comments. Be sure to add you’re in this article and I’ll save them for next week’s Monday Mailbag.
Luke Hughes does play a similar game to Quinn. I watched about a dozen Michigan games last season and Hughes is actually even more offensive than Quinn is but a lot of that is due to playing in the NCAA compared to the NHL. Luke is a player who can lead the rushes deep into the offensive zone and he likes to be a part of the cycle if he is able to jump in.
This has been a good learning experience for Jacob Truscott, who we had a chance to speak with at development camp. Truscott is learning what he needs to do well to be a reliable defensive defenceman. He is the guy who needs to stay back while Luke gets to work in the offensive zone.
This defence-first mindset might be Truscott’s ticket to pro hockey and you could see that he has some physicality in his game. He was throwing a lot of hits in the scrimmage and is excited to work closely with Mike Komisarek in the coming years.
Truscott plays the left side while Luke plays the right side. It would take a heck of a couple of years of development for us to see Quinn and Truscott be a pairing down the road. We will follow Truscott’s season and let you know if we see massive improvements in his game.
I very much believe that the Canucks will not go into training camp with all the forwards that they currently have under contract.
They have to address the defence group and they have a surplus of young talent in their forward group.
The question is how big they want to go with a trade.
Something, something, something…
Try again next week. I’m taking a week off of the Miller talk.
Elias Pettersson might end up being used on the penalty kill when the team needs a spark. It seems like Bruce Boudreau likes to use his stars in shorthanded situations and I agree with your assessment of saying Pettersson did quite well. It might be very interesting to see Pettersson and Ilya Mikhayev as a penalty-killing pairing. Lots of opportunity for a quick-strike attack with those two.
Curtis Lazar isn’t likely the first centre over the boards as well. He is a good energy fourth-line centre but he doesn’t need to be the first guy out to kill penalties in the same way that a Jay Beagle or Brandon Sutter did for the Canucks in the past.
Let’s remember that Damon Severson led the New Jersey Devils in ice time last year with an average of 23:36 per game.
I’m not sure if he is the one that shakes out in a trade. It would take a lot for the Canucks to acquire Severson. Maybe that’s something to talk about next week but as I mentioned earlier, I’m taking a week off on a certain player.
It is not a pipedream. Tanner Pearson is not a negative value contract right now.
Teams would give you something for him. It may not be a second-round pick or anything but teams would still pay for Pearson.
I will be doing that this week!
My new top-10 prospect rankings will be coming out this weekend!
Jonathan Myrenberg has the highest upside as he is only 19 years old and probably already the best player of the three.
Joni Jurmo is second because of the raw talent and maybe he can figure out how to turn his athleticism into a heck of a hockey player.
Viktor Persson didn’t really impress in the WHL but did play a very physical brand of hockey in certain situations last season. It will be interesting to see where he plays next year.
I haven’t watched a lot yet but I’ve seen a few Europeans in some J20 league games. I’ll throw out Tom Wallinder from Sweden — I’ve seen him a couple of times.
Then, from Finland, there are a couple of big bodies in Niko Minkkinen and Maxim Strbak. Both are right-shot defencemen who look massive in the U20 league. Strbak is from Slovakia and is already committed to coming to the NCAA for the 2024-25 season.
This wraps it up for another Monday Mailbag and we will need your help next week as this feels like a vacation at the cottage week for the Canucks.
Leave a comment with the #MM and I’ll try to get to your questions in next week’s mailbag.
Thanks to everyone who sent in a question this week and we will see you next Monday to dive into a new crop of questions from you wonderful people. Be well and wear shorts!