Canucks Prospect Report: Costmar impresses, Podkolzin on to WJC semi’s

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 30: Arvid Costmar #14 of Sweden celebrates his goal against Russia during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 30, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 30: Arvid Costmar #14 of Sweden celebrates his goal against Russia during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 30, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
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The 2021 World Juniors have been an exciting tournament thus far, and the Vancouver Canucks should be happy with how their prospects have performed.

As we progress into the semifinal round, there is not enough you can say about Vancouver Canucks prospects Arvid Costmar and Vasili Podkolzin‘s WJC performances.

While Costmar’s medal quest was cut short by the Finns, he was one of the tournament’s biggest surprises. He finished the competition with two goals and was selected as one of Sweden’s top-three players of the tournament.

Costmar was somewhat of a utility man for Sweden. He was dominant at even-strength, as one of Sweden’s best possession players. Through five games, Costmar posted a 64.1 CF%, including 14.3 shot attempts for per game. Further, as the tournament progressed, Sweden deployed Costmar more on both the powerplay and penalty kill.

Costmar shined specifically on the penalty kill, where he did well to cut off passing angles in dangerous situations. Against Finland in particular, he did a good job to limit dangerous options in the slot. So, positionally, Costmar always seems to know where to place himself.

While unable to attend the tournament, Sweden’s U20 head coach Thomas Monten had nothing but good things to say about the 2019 seventh-round pick. “I think he battled hard for us. He won faceoffs and worked his line good. Play both PK and PP. Came to play every single night.”

Costmar’s play possesses a certain tenacity, as he isn’t afraid to battle with other players, despite his stature. Costmar’s ability to draw penalties served as a plus as well, specifically against Russia.

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So, while Costmar’s stay in Edmonton ended earlier than he had hoped, Canucks fans have another player overseas to keep a close eye on over the coming year.

Vasili Podkolzin set for a semifinal matchup against Canada

Podkolzin’s WJC play has been somewhat polarizing amongst the fanbase, as you’d expect from a top Vancouver Canucks prospect. Through five games, Podkolzin has scored two goals and four points for the Russians.

While Podkolzin hasn’t exactly lit up the scoresheet, he’s shown repeatedly that he is a cut above his U20 counterparts.

Podkolzin’s lack of scoring is primarily due to teammates’ finishing inefficiencies. For example, In Russia’s quarterfinal matchup against the Germans, Podkolzin had one of the highest expected primary assist totals amongst all players.

Regardless, time and time again, Podkolzin has displayed his multi-faceted game in various fashions.

Whether it be opening Russia’s contest against Sweden with a barrelling charge towards the net (resulting in a near goal), or wiring a tape-to-tape pass to his teammates for a prime scoring chance, Podkolzin has been a force on the ice.

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Looking ahead, Podkolzin and the Russians face their biggest test yet, as they face off against Canada tonight.

While Podkolzin’s primary skillset makes him more of a playmaker than a scorer, Russia will need Podkolzin to leverage his physical strength against the star-studded Canadians, as we’ve seen in previous games.

Further, Podkolzin has been able to create chances for his teammates throughout the tournament. He will need to continue to do so in an elevated fashion, as chances will be difficult to come by against a strong Canadian team.

Realistically, you can count on Podkolzin to show up at his best for this game, but he will need a bit of help from his teammates to finish their chances if Russia wants a shot at the gold medal.

dark. Next. Hamonic gets PTO with the Canucks

So Canucks fans, what do you think about Costmar and Podkolzin’s performances thus far? Let us know in the comments!