Vancouver Canucks top prospects of week: Pettersson, Lind and Dahlen

VANCOUVER, BC - SEPTEMBER 17: Goalie Thatcher Demko
VANCOUVER, BC - SEPTEMBER 17: Goalie Thatcher Demko /
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MONTREAL, QC – DECEMBER 26: Olli Juolevi /

No. 4 – D Olli Juolevi (TPS, Liiga)

After a slow start to his Liiga season with TPS, Olli Juolevi was looking like he was going to have another downhill year. He was pointless in his first four games and was on the ice for an even-strength goal against each game.

Juolevi quickly turned that around this week, scoring two goals and recording four points in two games. He started getting special team ice time as well, both on the man advantage and the penalty kill.

Fellow Canucks prospect Petrus Palmu had the second assist on Juolevi’s first Liiga goal. Juolevi had assisted on Palmu’s goal earlier in the period for his first point of the season. Juolevi was named the game’s second start for TPS.

Juolevi’s second goal came in spectacular fashion. Two and a half minutes into overtime in a two-all tie, he snapped home the game winner.

More thoughts on Juolevi

Earlier today, Juolevi had a chat with News1130’s Rick Dhaliwal. According to the Finnish prospect, he feels that the pro game isn’t much faster than the junior game, though the big difference is in how smart and experienced the veteran players are.

I can see that comment being both good and bad at the same time. It is good that Juolevi does not feel overwhelmed by the pro game’s speed and feels that the pace is manageable. But given that this is the Finnish Liiga and not the AHL where the North American game brings a faster-skating game in a smaller rink, I have a feeling that this lack of “NHL-like North American pace” might lead Juolevi to develop a slow game.

I have always felt that Juolevi lacked urgency when the puck is on his stick, very unlike Jalen Chatfield who paired with him at the Young Stars tournament and made Juolevi look better.

Juolevi’s Coach weighs in

Juolevi’s coach also shared his thoughts about the Canucks prospect the other day. In his interview with Rick Dhaliwal, TPS coach Niittymaki says that Juolevi has been getting better each game.

Niittymaki highlights Juolevi’s hockey sense and puck-moving abilities under pressure as his biggest strengths and mentions that Juolevi needs to add strength and improve physically overall. He believes that Juolevi will play in the NHL.

If Juolevi keeps on getting better like this, he sure will be ready for the NHL in short order.