The Vancouver Canucks might not have qualified for this year’s playoffs, but that doesn’t mean that some of their players weren’t playing meaningful hockey recently.
Specifically, the team sent four of their players (two mainstays and two prospects) to the IIHF World Hockey Championships, which took place in Helsinki, Finland from May 13th to 29th.
This tournament has been fairly popular amongst NHL players whose teams don’t qualify for the postseason, given those individuals a chance to represent their country on an international level.
Lammikko was the most successful player of the bunch, helping his country secure the gold medal on home ice.
Lammikko was one of one six NHLers to represent Finland, joining Joel Armia, Essa Lindell, Miro Heiskanen, Harri Sateri and Mikael Granlund. Similar to his role in Vancouver, Lammikko found himself in Finland’s middle six, registering two assists and a plus four rating.
The gold medal game took place on Sunday night, with Lammikko and Team Finland taking on Thomas Chabot and Team Canada. The contest went to overtime, with Sakari Manninen eventually scoring the game-winning goal in the extra frame.
It was a bit of a controversial goal for Manninen, who notched his sixth tally of the tournament on the powerplay after a questionable hooking minor was called against Chabot. Nonetheless, Finland was able to come home with the gold in the end, maintaining their status as the best nation in the hockey world.
Ekman-Larsson and Karlsson weren’t as successful as Lammikko, with Team Sweden falling to Team Canada in the quarterfinals.
It was looking great at the beginning for Team Sweden, who established a three-goal lead by the halfway point of the second period. However, it was all Team Canada in the final frame, getting crucial goals from Ryan Graves, Pierre Luc-Dubois and Mat Barzal before Drake Batherson completed the comeback in overtime.
Ekman-Larsson registered one assist in that game, bringing his total to two for the entire tournament.
In addition to the quarter-final exit, it was also announced that Ekman-Larsson suffered a foot fracture, sidelining him for the next 4-6 weeks.
Karlsson didn’t end up playing a game for Team Sweden, but Canucks fans should still be very excited for the young prospect.
Karlsson, who recently signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Canucks, is coming off a remarkable season with Skellefteå AIK in the SHL, notching 26 goals and 20 assists in 52 games en route to Rookie of the Year accolades.
Karlsson also broke the rookie goal-scoring record, which was previously held by current Canuck Swedish centre Elias Pettersson.
Like Karlsson, Silovs had a smaller role with Team Latvia, initially being brought on as the back-up netminder behind Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Although Team Latvia wasn’t able to make it past the preliminary round, Silovs did still manage to make a big mark for his country, registering one win to go along with a 1.22 GAA and .952 SV%.
His biggest performance came against Team Czech Republic, earning “Player of the Game” honours despite a 5-1 loss. Silovs stopped all 11 shots that he faced in that contest, bringing his grand total of goals allowed to just four for the entire tournament.
The 21-year-old netminder prospect is expected to play a big role in Abbotsford for the upcoming season.
Silovs went 3-6-0 with a 3.10 GAA, .888 SV% and one shutout in the AHL last year before bouncing back with the Trois-Rivières Lions of the ECHL later on that season. Silovs secured six wins in 10 games with the Lions to go along with a 2.37 GAA and .920 SV%.
With Spencer Martin likely serving as the back-up to Thatcher Demko for the 2022-23 season, it’s expected that Silovs will split Abbotsford’s netminder duties with fellow prospect Michael DiPietro.
What are your thoughts on how the Canucks performed at the World Hockey Championships? Let us know in the comments!