Höglaander-Pettersson-Podkolzin streak, defense depth beyond top six, predictions for successful AHL development – Canucksarmy

It’s almost time again. Summer is drawing to a smoky end and the players are beginning to apply to Vancouver to prepare for a training camp in Whistler.

We had another fun summer of off-season coverage on the Vancouver Canucks, but it’s almost time for the rubber to meet the road and the 2022-23 Canucks hockey season to begin.

Next weekend is sure to be one of my favorites as the North American prospects gather in Penticton for the Young Stars’ comeback. We still haven’t seen a full list of Canucks to send out but it should be released in the very near future.

We’ll have a chat with Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Development Rian Johnson on Tuesday afternoon and will have more information about the tournament as well as get his thoughts on some of the new possibilities added to the system.

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Top players like Bo Horvat and JT Miller are back in Vancouver over the weekend and expect to see a packed NHL squad on the ice on Monday to continue their off-season skating sessions.

Greetings to everyone who has enjoyed their Monday Mailbag throughout the holiday season. I’ve been the leader in mailbags for a long time now and week after week great questions are being sent to us and this wouldn’t be possible without all of you.

So, let’s not waste more words on the preamble. Let’s dive into the mailbag and see what the awesome people had to ask this week!

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My expectations for Danny DeKeyser are not the highest and it is possible that his agent is not looking for a huge price tag to match his client.

We imagine DeKeyser comes up with a minimum league deal of $750,000. If another team wants him in more than that, he has to take it and run.

DeKeyser might be a great deep piece that would probably start in Abbotsford but I don’t think he would move the needle in the Canucks Defense Corps.

Depth out of the top six defenders you’ll likely count on rests on the shoulders of left-handed players like Christian Wollanin, Wyatt Kalinock, Guillaume Presipoa and possibly DeKeyser. In fact, the right side has more quality in depth with Kyle Burroughs, Brady Keeper and Noah Juulsen.

The bottom pairing in the NHL would be sort of a mix of Jack Rathbone, Travis Dermott, Tucker Poolman and possibly Luke Schenn if Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Quinn Hughes came together in the team’s best pairing.

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There are a good number of 7,8,9 type defensemen in the organization. I don’t think Julsen is a bad player in trouble. Keeper might get some NHL games if he shows up well in the AHL. Kalynuk and Wolanin are a vet but you don’t want to see them combined for more than a dozen NHL games.

With Tyler Myers, OEL, Hughes, Dermott, Schenn, Rathbone, Burroughs and Poolman being the top eight, you won’t feel bad about the team’s third pairing and the depth behind it. You’re just craving another top-four defender and with Hughes’ right-side potential, the core defense story will be interesting to follow in training camp and into pre-season.

This line was definitely one of the most exciting to watch last season. They only played about five games together and had 65:35 ice time together as a trio, so yes, the sample size is pretty small.

Although the specimen was small, the Höglander-Pettersson-Podkolzin trio were exceptional all together. They were good in their own area, they were good in the offensive area, and they were all very young and played an exciting type of hockey game. The trio had 65.8% of the expected goal share and was on the ice for five goals and only scored one against it.

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It helped that the trio benefited from having a 0.963% on-ice savings percentage behind them as well as a 12.8% on-ice shooting percentage. Those numbers certainly made them look a lot better than they actually did, but the 65.8% control of the expected goal share is something that should also be mentioned to go along with the 5-1 goal difference.

Using a combination of Podkolzin’s defensive skill with Höglander’s offensive skill to complement Pettersson’s overall game is a trio that worked in their limited time together last season. When the lines need a change this season, returning to this fun trio will be something I imagine many Canucks fans are on board.

I am so excited to be working on The Stanchies this season. We will work as a team of three men to bring you the best post-game series on the market. White will do what he does best with the support of the Quads as my editor and with me in the room for quotes.

We as a media are expected to be back in the room this season, so I’ll be a regular in Schenn’s closet and get all the quotes he needs from Canucks’ father.

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We are so excited to have The Stanchies here at CanucksArmy. It will be an excellent year for post-match reporting.

For now, we expect Nils Höglaander to be used in the fourth line alongside Curtis Lazar and Jason Dickinson.

Höglander should get a top nine chance when there is an injury to the top nine or poor play from someone in that group.

Although there are some pluses to going to AHL, there are more negatives that are likely to hurt confidence in Höglander’s game. This is a player thought to be an NHLer player, gets along well with the players on the NHL roster, and has shown in the past to be a very effective contributor to attacking at five-on-five.

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He probably starts the season in any of the special teams units, but he could show a lot of value to this team if he can be an equal power attack driver in the team’s fourth line.

It’s no secret that Dickinson’s offense was horrific last season. He’s had over 20 games without a goal and needs to be more consistent to get an icy time with this Canucks team deep in front. We know Höglander can create attacking at a high rate and hopefully he can help Dickinson and Curtis Lazar find more of the back of the net than they have had during their NHL careers.

Dickinson has not scored 10 goals in a single season during his career. He has been a regular player in the NHL for the past four seasons.

As for Lazar, he achieved the highest level of his career, scoring eight goals last season with the Boston Bruins. The hope is that he finds more humiliation in his coach Bruce Boudreaux’s squad.

Being a fourth-line player isn’t likely to be the role Höglander would like to start the season with. The good news is that he will face the easiest competition of his NHL career in this role. He will be given a chance to use his speed and skills against the worst attackers and defense in other teams. The start of the season on the fourth line presents a huge challenge for Höglander to work hard every night and get into Boudreau’s good book for the future.

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Höglander doesn’t lack a strong work ethic, he just needs to be better in the areas where his coach demands improvement. If you’re betting on Canuck to turn back, I’m putting all my chips on Höglander.

They will be younger, miss some goals from the defense, and rely on new talent to lead the attack.

Here are some of my predictions if the AHL team proves successful this season.

Linus Carlson had become a standout player by December.

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Arturs Silovs will be the team’s starter in the playoffs.

Brady Keeper becomes a top defensive duo and stays healthy.

Danila Klimovich became a top six player by the end of the season.

If those four things happen, I’d be very happy to develop in Abbotsford.

I expect to see Arshdeep Bains make a huge impact in the rookie season as a pro. Players like Phil Di Giuseppe and Sheldon Dries should become big players again.

A power run back should be one of the top three units in the AHL. They have a lot of talent for the AHL team. They will be a fun team to watch and I highly recommend going out to Abbotsford Center for a game of a foot long hot dog from Sully.

That’s it for this week’s Monday Mailbag article. We’ll be out on the Canucks summer skates this week as well as traveling to Penticton to cover the Young Stars tournament starting with Friday’s games.

We’ll see you all next Monday, and be sure to check out the Blackfish report tomorrow in the week that was dedicated to the prospects for the Canucks.