Vancouver Canucks top prospects of week 26: Demko, Dahlen, Gadjovich

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 31: Thatcher Demko
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 31: Thatcher Demko /
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This week will be a little more focused on the Utica Comets. Most Canucks prospects have made their way over or concluded their respective seasons. Here are your top three performances of the week.

Vancouver Canucks fans are in an interesting place right now. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway and for me it is refreshing to watch competitive teams over the slog that was their season.

For those who hate the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s fascinating to see who fans would like to see suffer more. That may make us sound spiteful, but when our team is this bad for this long, it’s all we have. Unfortunately, an early Leafs exit may impact the Utica Comets in a bad way. But you will have to find out about that below.

Before talking about the Comets, there is a little housekeeping with some of our prospects. Elias Pettersson and the Växjö Lakers will face off against Skellefteå AIK in the SHL Finals. Their first game is this Tuesday.

Olli Juolevi, Petrus Palmu and TPS Turku will take on Miro Heiskanen and IFK Helsinki in the Liiga Bronze Medal Game. Funny how it works out like that. This year has been a side-by-side comparison between Juolevi and Heiskanen and the duo get to face off one last time this season. That game takes place on April 20th.

Credit where credit is due

More from The Canuck Way

Depth is something that perplexes the Canucks at the NHL level and the issues trickle down to the AHL. If you think the injuries for the Canucks were bad, you should see the long list of players that missed time this year for the Comets.

It didn’t help the Comets that Vancouver was calling up players left and right to plug the holes on their sinking ship. Despite this, the Comets worked tirelessly to bring in suitable players to fill in the gaps in the lineup.

The team didn’t just keep their head above water, they made the playoffs. I know many fans want to attribute this success to Ryan Johnson, but that is incorrect and frankly, lazy. Johnson may be the “GM” of the Comets, but his job is to focus on prospects and report to Vancouver.

Credit rightly goes to Pat Conacher (Director of Utica Hockey Operations), head coach Trent Cull and the rest of the Comets coaching staff for finding the necessary players to help the Comets. Utica brought in 55 players on a professional tryout (PTO) this year!

What they did was nothing short of amazing. The farm has been long neglected by its parent club, but they are in good hands with their current coaching staff and executive team (except for Johnson of course).

Utica Comets playoff preview

Utica finished their season yesterday, taking the fourth seed in the North Division. This pits them against the Toronto Marlies in the first round of the AHL playoffs. I guess being part of the Canucks organization gives you the worst luck.

The Marlies are the best team in the AHL. They rank first in points, third in goals scored and have given up the fewest goals in the leauge. Toronto also has the league’s best penalty kill, but Utica is right behind at second best. Both have the same success rate on the power play at 18%.

Remember how I talked about depth? Toronto has lots of it. Even with Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen and Travis Dermott, the Marlies still have a scary group at every position. Keep in mind, Reid Boucher, who leads the Comets in points this year will not be available for the playoffs. He broke his hand at the end of the season with the Canucks.

Utica did receive some help in Nikolay Goldobin, Ashton Sautner and Tyler Motte. Kole Lind and Lukas Jasek are also with the team. Jonathan Dahlén made his debut as you can see from the top three this week.

However, it likely won’t be enough. That possible Leafs exit I alluded to earlier will just strengthen the Marlies. Utica is already in tough for this series and it could get worse quickly. Remember, Adam Gaudette can’t join the Comets because he burned the first year of his contract with the Canucks.

We wish the Comets good luck in the playoffs. They are going to need it. On to the top prospect performances of the week.