Week 7 Top Prospects: Pettersson, Juolevi and Dahlen

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No. 1 – RW Elias Pettersson (Vaxjo, SHL)

Surprise, surprise. Elias Pettersson has the best performance of the week. Everyone is all aboard the hype train for Pettersson and he is consistently giving us a reason to hop on.

Vaxjo played two games this week. The first was a 4-2 loss against Farjestad BK. Pettersson was part of a nice, giving Vaxjo a 2-1 lead.

The second game was against Malmo. If Pettersson seemed quiet to you in the first game, he exploded in this one. It was a tremendous performance with two goals and an assist, giving Vaxjo a 3-1 lead during the second period. The team was able to hold on for the win. Here are clips of his points:

https://twitter.com/ryanbiech/status/933761892002050048

Elite Prospects is a handy tool for comparing prospects to other seasons at the same age. Pettersson currently has 27 points, which ranks 28th on the all time SHL seasons for players under 20 years old. The craziest thing is that Pettersson has only played 20 games. He has over half of his season left.

The top ten all time U20 seasons in the SHL are only 10 points away. Nicklas Backstrom is Pettersson’s closest statistical comparable for projecting. If he can match Backstrom’s 40 points in fewer than 45 games, he will obliterate expectations.

However, there is one critical thing to stress here. Elias Pettersson did not play centre in his draft year and he has yet to play centre this season. If this continues for the remainder of the season  and beyond, he will start in the NHL as a winger, just like William Nylander. There is the chance that he will project as a franchise winger in the long run. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but I wouldn’t pencil him in as our number one centre until we see him playing in the middle.

The World Junior Championships

December is less than a week away, meaning we are getting ever closer to the 2018 World Junior Championships. Canucks fans may want to pay close attention to this one. Will Lockwood could be our representative on Team USA while Team Canada could have up to three Canucks prospects in Michael DiPietro, Jonah Gadjovich and Kole LInd.

I already mentioned Finland will have Olli Juolevi. Last, but not least will be Team Sweden. Elias Pettersson will play an important role for the team this year. This World Juniors are referred to as a 19-year-old’s tournament because the players that carry their teams are in their draft+1 year.

Next: Roundtable: Team grades, bold predictions, more

This may be the most exciting time for Vancouver Canucks prospects at this tournament since the days of Cody Hodgson and Jordan Schroeder. It will also give everyone a look at the 2018 draft-eligible players. There are a lot of offensive defencemen this year and the Canucks will need to stock up on them to add to the prospect pool.