We are halfway through the world juniors and it feels like the tournament doesn’t really have its usual shine when it’s being played in August.
Over the last week, we’ve been keeping an eye on the Canucks’ three prospects at the tournament but as a Canadian, it’s not been a year where team Canada really draws my interest. Canada has the skill, strength and speed as well as what may be a generational talent in Connor Bedard. It just feels like with the way that hockey Canada has been in the news, this tournament has a dark cloud around it. It doesn’t help that the sun is shining and being outside is much nicer in August than it is in December when this tournament is normally happening.
Throughout the past week, we’ve kept our eyes on Jacob Truscott, Joni Jurmo, and Jonathan Lekkerimäki. These three Canucks prospects have been regulars for their teams and continue to make impacts on the game. None of them have really shined but there have been bits and pieces that we have liked from each of the three youngsters.
Jurmo moves extremely well.
Lekkerimäki fits in well and he’s a player who can play in this tournament two more times.
Truscott knows how to play the role of being the defensive defenceman and rarely makes any mistakes while he is consistently physical.
It’s been nice to see the Canucks prospects have some success at the world juniors and we will answer a few more questions about them as this article goes on.
This is the Monday Mailbag and we have a bunch of questions to get to here.
So, without wasting any more words, let’s open up this week’s mailbag and see what the wonderful people of the Internet had to ask this week.
Five years from now, we will be in the 2027 offseason. Truscott and Jurmo will be 25 years old while Lekkerimäki will be 23.
You have to imagine that Lekkerimäki has a couple of NHL seasons under his belt by this point. I’d imagine he is playing NHL games for the 2025-26 season. For that reason, I’ll guess that he has about 140 games if we are looking five years down the road.
As for Jurmo, I don’t think he’s an everyday NHLer by the summer of 2027. I’d love to see him come to North America in two to three years and try his hand at the AHL but I don’t see him getting into an NHL game in the next five years. Maybe a few preseason games.
I’m a bit more bullish on Truscott. It looks like his style of play is something that could give him success at the pro level. I’d expect to see Truscott play two more seasons with Michigan before going to the AHL for the 2025-26 season. After a year of learning the AHL, he might end up being a call-up option for the Canucks in the 2026-27 season as a bottom-pairing defenceman. This is if he continues to improve and focuses on being the defensive defenceman who can play with any partner on the backend.
Five years from now, I’ll guess that Truscott has played in four NHL games.
Truscott has probably impressed me the most. Lekkerimäki is impressive because of how young he is as well.
It’s just been a solid tournament for Truscott. He’s doing a good job of breaking the puck out, being reliable in his own end and showing up physically during board battles.
It hasn’t been flashy for Truscott but he is doing his job on every shift and that’s been great for USA. We’d like to see Truscott continue to grow as a defenceman with Michigan over the next two years but this showcase of his strengths has been great to see at the world juniors.
If we look at the Canucks’ opening month, they have 14 games or so in the first four weeks.
With added special teams time and likely being a top-six forward with the best scorers on the Canucks — I’d guess that Vasily Podkolzin has something like four goals and five assists a month into the season.
You hope that Jurmo has success in the Finnish Liiga over the next two seasons and then is an option to become an Abbotsford Canuck.
It may take even more than two seasons, or coming over to North America may not ever happen. It’s going to depend on how well Jurmo improves his decision-making and ability to think the game at a high speed.
We seriously doubt that Ilya Mikheyev, Vasily Podkolzin and Andrei Kuzmenko will end up on a line together this season.
By all accounts and reports from Russia, Podkolzin has not been trying to become and centre and as much as fans believe he could make that jump — it’s very unlikely that he plays centre next season.
The second question is could he ever play down the middle?
The answer to this question is yes.
Podkolzin is smart enough to play centre and if the coach asked him to work in the film room as well as during practices, you know that Podkolzin would embrace the challenge and work hard at it.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the potential of Podkolzin becoming a centre. It likely doesn’t happen after his rookie season but could it happen after year three or four?
That’s absolutely possible.
Hi Adrian, I do think that Linus Karlsson will make the Abbotsford Canucks’ opening night lineup.
The question will be how and where he fits into the lineup. I don’t have a doubt that Karlsson will be able to be an impact player on the power play in the AHL. He was that good in the SHL to make you believe he would succeed in the AHL.
Karlsson has good hands, a strong one-timer shot, and an accurate wrist shot. These will make him successful with the man advantage.
The worry that we have is the foot speed. It looked below average at development camp and that was compared to the rest of the prospects — which is a lower quality of talent than we will see at the AHL next season.
We have some worries but aren’t writing him off until we see him in action at the AHL level. Karlsson has been able to make the necessary adjustments over the past two seasons to have success in a new league — after doing it in the Allsvenskan and the SHL, he will have to prove himself again for the third year in a row as he makes the jump to North America and the AHL.
I loved the Pucks on Net podcast’s deep dive on the past season. It was nearly three hours of fun and agony as we looked back at how long the 2021-22 season was for this team.
The show was well produced and done by one of the longest-running shows in our Canucks podcast market. A massive tip of the hat to Ryan Schaap and Arash Memarzadeh.
We didn’t receive many #MM questions in our last comments section so be sure to drop it questions here in the comments to have it included in next week’s mailbag.
Thanks as always to the many of you who sent in questions on Twitter and we will see you next week for another Monday mailbag.
Thanks for not asking a single question about J.T. Miller and a trade proposal!
We didn’t even have to talk about that situation once in this week’s mailbag!