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Canucks top leads: No offense, but Toni Utunen demonstrably a defender

Canucks top leads: No offense, but Toni Utunen demonstrably a defender

Vancouver possibility Toni Utunen is really a smooth skating Finnish defencemen whom does not set up numerous points

Finland defenceman Toni Utunen (left) leans on Sweden winger and fellow Vancouver Canucks possibility Nils Hoglander during the Finland Sweden medal that is bronze at the 2020 globe juniors in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Jan. 5, 2020. AP Photo/Petr David Josek.We’re fourteen days far from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The Vancouver Canucks don’t have a choose before the 3rd round. Because they get ready for the draft we’re assessing towards the top 10 leads within the system, starting today at No. 10 with Toni Utunen.

The Canucks have actually struck house runs when you look at the round that is first the past few years, but a premier 10 list means looking at significantly more than the players whom must ensure it is, due to the fact most readily useful groups find players within the sides associated with draft. Is Toni Utunen some of those dudes? With all the Canucks’ current blue line corps filled up with veterans, you will find most most likely areas in the future available into the next few periods. Let’s take a good look at this smooth skating Finn.

TONI UTUNEN (#10 possibility)

As being a 14 old, playing against player two years older, Toni Utunen was nearly a point per game player year. He has got perhaps perhaps not scored at that price since. There’s a caveat that is big, though: Utunen kept going up age brackets, constantly playing with the older children. At age 15, he skated for Tappara’s Under 18 team. Aged 16, he had been on Tappara’s junior squad that is top. Several of their teammates had been set to show 20. The the following year he switched expert, skating 11 times for the senior Tappara squad when you look at the Liiga (Finland’s elite league) as well as being loaned away to LeKi when you look at the 2nd tier Mestis league for 28 games.

Utunen showed adequate to draw the optical eyes associated with the Canucks. He’s never scored towards the net in those days has helped him refine his defensive game like he did when he first hit his teens, but it’s clear the talent that drove him. If you’re perhaps not likely to score against older players, you’re planning to need to be extremely proficient at stopping them if you’re likely to hang in there. In the 2019 World Juniors, he played on Finland’s pairing that is first defensive alongside Henri Jokiharju, helping lead the Finns to silver. (The fancy Jokiharju just completed up their 2nd NHL season.)

That same period, Utunen became a frequent into the Tappara lineup, even when he didn’t play a great deal.

During the 2020 World Juniors, he wore an ‘A’ for the Finnish globe junior squad but once more struggled to obtain much ice time for Tappara. In reality, their playing time diminished after he came back through the globes ironically the defenceman Tappara acquired season that is mid whom forced Utunen down seriously to eighth in the level chart ended up being former Canucks defenceman Adam Polasek.

“Of course, that could have already been an option that is interesting” their representative Jarmo Kork stated via text message about whether he’d have actually checked to try out for the Utica Comets in 2020 21, instead of another period with Tappara, in a schedule where in fact the COVID 19 pandemic does not take place. “But he could be wanting to concentrate on the future period, which begins in a few days. He really wants to grow into a far better player later on, so he could one play into the NHL, that is their fantasy. time”

Dobber Prospects’ Cam Robinson has watched lots of Utunen throughout the last 2 yrs and called the young Finn the “consummate protective defender.” Toni Utunen of Finland celebrates with all the championship trophy after beating the usa 3 2 within the silver medal game of this 2019 globe hockey that is junior at Rogers Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. Rich Lam / Getty graphics files.The role he employs now’s one of many steady, be home more kind. He performs this by efficiently utilizing his stick and space control to thwart oncoming threats. Despite perhaps maybe not being the biggest player on the market, he manoeuvres and angles well down low and certainly will handle leading of this web too,” said Robinson. “You will periodically see him leap in to the play and flash some of these previous (offensive) faculties, but don’t ever expect it. He plays a safe and efficient design that should lend it self well to North American pro hockey. Nonetheless it will additionally prohibit him from playing way too high up any lineups.”

Finnish prospects author Miika Arponen concurred in what works in Utunen’s game. exact Same elements continue to be here which were their skills as he had been drafted: his effortless skating, protective understanding as well as the no danger puck managing, but he’sn’t actually gone ahead in just about any aspect recently,” said Arponen. Having said that, Utunen’s growing reputation as a Mr. trustworthy could represent a plateau, he warned.

“ He has been provided a way to simply take a spot that is permanent Tappara’s defence but to date he’sn’t had the oppertunity to put on about it. And unfortuitously centered on pre period games it appears to be situation once again this season as he could be projected to function as defenceman that is seventh Tappara once more.”

Utunen appears set to relax and play the year out when you look at the Liiga after which will make a jump to your United states Hockey League for 2021 22. He will have to signal an agreement first, needless to say. Add it all up as well as in a hypothetical future where he’s in a position to turn things up a notch, win the trust associated with the coaches at Tappara in 2010, then soar greater again once he’s joined Utica the following year, placing himself on program for NHL consideration, it still appears Utunen’s upper end during the NHL degree could be as being a sixth or defenceman that is seventh.