Canucks roundtable: Which prospect makes the team next year?

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 03: The Vancouver Canucks stand for the national anthem prior to Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round against the Vegas Golden Knights during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 03, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 03: The Vancouver Canucks stand for the national anthem prior to Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round against the Vegas Golden Knights during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 03, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The Vancouver Canucks line up for the Canadian national anthem. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Vancouver Canucks line up for the Canadian national anthem. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks have a handful of prospects that’ll be pushing for a roster spot next season. Here’s who our writers think will make the team.

The Vancouver Canucks lineup will look a little bit different the next time they hit the ice.

Players come, players go, and there is sometimes an up and coming talent that surprises people and forces his way onto the opening night roster. Last year it was Adam Gaudette. The year before that, it was Nikolay Goldobin. Who will it be this year?

There are five or six rookies/prospects riding the bubble, and it’ll be up to them on which side they’ll land come time for puck drop of the 2020-21 NHL campaign. The hardest worker in the room will likely be the player who finds himself a part of the opening right roster, but as we’ve seen in the past, Travis Green can be swayed to select the player who best compliments the overall team.

The writers here at The Canuck Way got into it a little bit when discussing which rookie is most likely to make the jump next season and let me tell you, we were left with quite a few different takes. Let’s dive into some of our writers’ thoughts on which rookie will make the opening night roster to kick-off the Canucks 51st season.

Nils Hoglander

Nils Hoglander is my choice to make the roster out of training camp. He’s already got four points in Sweden playing two games for Rogle and looks ready to transition over to the NHL. His speed, creativity, playmaking skills and two-way game have been evident as he’s been slotted into the team’s top-six by his head coach.

The Canucks need more depth in their bottom-six, especially if Jake Virtanen is traded in the offseason. Hoglander could be a perfect fit on a line with Gaudette and Zack MacEwen, bringing speed and skill to the left-wing similar to what Sven Baertschi brought during the last preseason. I see him being a 15-20 goal scorer while also elevating Gaudette’s numbers with his playmaking abilities.

Hoglander could also bring another dimension to the top-six in Tanner Pearson’s spot on the second line with Bo Horvat. In addition to that, he has the skills to be on the second power play unit, increasing the Canucks’ depth there too. With his work ethic and overall package, I really see him not only making the team but having a significant impact as well.

– Matthew Zator

Olli Juolevi

Olli Juolevi will make the Canucks out of training camp.

Here’s a hypothetical that most Canuck fans wouldn’t have believed in 2019, at the peak of Juolevi Hysteria: Juolevi, fresh off a quiet and effective NHL and postseason debut, wins a spot as Canucks’ bottom pair LH defender out of training camp.

In 2020, this is possible. There is a path to a bottom pair role for Juolevi, albeit an unlikely one; it would require him to outplay Jordie Benn and hold off a challenge from another bubble player, be it Jack Rathbone, Josh Teves, or Guillaume Brisebois.

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To make the team out of camp Joulevi needs to play his quiet, two-way game while staying healthy, the latter being the chief concern over the last three years.

Juolevi’s prowess on the penalty kill will translate well for the 2020-21 Canucks, who stand to lose the stalwart Chris Tanev if they can’t come to a deal with the pending free agent by October 9th. Juolevi made a strong case he’s ready when he made his NHL debut versus the Minnesota Wild during the play-in series. He may have only played just over six minutes, but he made zero mistakes and didn’t look out of place.

The Juolevi who Canuck fans saw in the Game 4 victory over the Wild is a player who is ready for NHL minutes. His high-end passing, smooth skating and sound decision-making all stood out in his first NHL game. These traits still project him to be a contributor to the Canucks back-end for years to come. He’s my pick.

– Nate Lewis