The Vancouver Canucks had an interesting draft order this year.
As many fans painfully remember, the team entered the 2021 NHL Entry Draft without a first round pick for the second consecutive season, after dealing theirs to the Arizona Coyotes in a blockbuster deal. Not the end of the world for the Canucks, especially when you look back on some of the league’s best superstars that have emerged out of later rounds, but still another opportunity for Jim Benning and co. to carry more pressure on their shoulders.
The Canucks ended up making their first selection during the second round on forward Danila Klimovich. The Belarus forward already appears to be turning heads in Vancouver, especially after signing his entry-level deal earlier this summer.
After snagging Klimovich with the 41st overall pick, the Canucks weren’t on the clock to draft their next player until the fifth round. They ultimately went with Finnish goaltender Aku Koskenvuo with the 137th pick, and fortunately didn’t have to wait multiple rounds to make their next selection.
Just three picks later, the team looked to the blueline, selecting defenceman Jonathan Myrenberg.
As we all know, the Canucks have never shied away from drafting numerous defencemen each offseason. Entering the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the team already had a handful of young, talented blueliners in their system, such as Jett Woo, Toni Utunen and Joni Jurmo, and had also seen returns from some of their more highly-touted players in Quinn Hughes and Jack Rathbone.
And now management is hoping that Myrenberg can follow a similar development trajectory as his predecessors.
Myrenberg most recently played with Sollentuna HC of HockeyEttan, Sweden’s third-tier men’s hockey league, where he notched zero goals and six assists in nine games during the 2020-21 season. He also recorded four more assists in six playoff contests.
Like other countries, many of Sweden’s leagues also shut down halfway through the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted Myrenberg’s time with Linköping HC of the J20 Nationell Södra league. He was able to play 15 more games with Linköping HC in 2020-21, where he registered three goals and five assists during that span, before being loaned to Solletuna HC.
Despite only being 18 years old, Myrenberg was able to hold his ground on the backend while also accumulating heavy minutes each game.
Myrenberg, who clocks in at 6’2″ and 190 pounds, is extremely confident with the puck, and fits the mold of the new-age defencemen with his creativity, footwork and ability to seamlessly transition out of his own zone. The right-handed blueliner doesn’t have a booming slap shot, but can bring a heavy, accurate wrist shot to the table, which he likes to showcase as often as he can, especially on the powerplay.
According to Chris Faber of CanucksArmy, the most impressive part of Myrenberg’s game can be seen in his passing. Like Hughes, Myrenberg has great vision both with and without the puck, and can use his strong edge work to create space in order to find an open teammate with a crisp pass.
Like most 18-year-old blueliners, Myrenberg still have a ton of room for improvement, especially when it comes to his defensive fundamentals and decision-making. However, it appears that he already has a strong hockey IQ, which can be seen in his active stick and strategic penalty kill deployment.
Fortunately, Myrenberg was able to return to Linköping HC for the 2021-22 season, and has already recorded one goal in his first two games with the club. Myrenberg will be looking to build off of the success of his previous campaign in the J20 league, where he finished tied in points amongst Linköping HC defencemen over 15 games played.
It might be a while before Canucks fans see Myrenberg in either the AHL or NHL, but it’s still always exciting when your team is able to add another big-bodied, puck-moving, offensively-minded right-handed blueliner to their prospect pool. And it sounds like Myrenberg fits that bill well.
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