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

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

Vancouver possibility Toni Utunen is just 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 choose before the 3rd round. While they get ready for the draft we’re assessing towards the top 10 leads into the system, starting today at No. 10 with Toni Utunen.

The Canucks have struck house runs into the very first round in the past few years, but a high 10 list means looking at significantly more than the players whom must ensure it is, whilst the most useful groups find players within the sides regarding the draft. Is Toni Utunen one particular dudes? With all the Canucks’ current blue line corps filled up with veterans, you can find most likely areas in the future available when you look at the next few seasons. Let’s have a look at this smooth skating Finn.

TONI UTUNEN (#10 possibility)

As being a 14 yr old, playing against player couple of years older, Toni Utunen ended up being nearly a point per gamer. He’s perhaps maybe not scored at that price since. There’s a large caveat here, though: Utunen kept going within age brackets, constantly having fun with the older young ones. At age 15, he skated for Tappara’s Under 18 group. Aged 16, he had been on Tappara’s junior squad that is top. Some of their teammates had been set to make 20. The year that is next switched expert, skating 11 times when it comes to senior Tappara squad into the Liiga (Finland’s elite league) and in addition being loaned off to LeKi into the 2nd tier Mestis league for 28 games.

Utunen showed adequate to draw the optical eyes associated with 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 great 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 exact exact same period, Utunen became an everyday into the Tappara lineup, even in the event he didn’t play a lot that is whole

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

“Of course, that will were a fascinating option,” 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, in the place 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 upcoming period, which begins in a few days. He really wants to grow into a far better player in the foreseeable future, so he could one play within the NHL, which can be their fantasy. time”

Dobber Prospects’ Cam Robinson has watched plenty of Utunen over the past 2 yrs and called the young Finn the “consummate protective defender.” Toni Utunen of Finland celebrates aided by the championship trophy after beating america 3 2 within the silver medal game of this 2019 globe junior hockey championship at Rogers Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. Deep Lam / Getty pictures files.The role he employs now could be among the constant, be home more kind. He performs this by effortlessly making use of their stick and space control to thwart oncoming threats. Despite not being the player that is largest on the market, he manoeuvres and angles well down low and that can manage the leading regarding the web too,” said Robinson. “You will periodically see him leap in to the play and flash several of those former (offensive) faculties, but don’t ever expect it. He plays a safe and style that is efficient should provide itself well to North American pro hockey. Nonetheless it will additionally prohibit him from playing way too high up any lineups.”

Finnish prospects journalist Miika Arponen concurred as to what works in Utunen’s game. Exact exact Same elements will always be here that have been their talents as he ended up being drafted: their effortless skating, protective understanding and also the no danger puck managing, but he hasn’t actually gone ahead in every aspect recently,” said Arponen. Having said that, Utunen’s growing reputation as a Mr. trustworthy could express a plateau, he warned.

“ He has been offered a chance to have a permanent i’m all over this Tappara’s defence but to date he hasn’t had the oppertunity to carry about it. And unfortunately centered on pre period games it appears become instance once again this present year while he’s projected to end up being the 7th defenceman for Tappara once again.”

Utunen appears set to relax and play the year out within the Liiga after which could make a jump towards the United states Hockey League for 2021 22. He would have to signal an agreement first, needless to say. Include it all up plus 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 this year, then soar greater again once he’s joined Utica the following year, placing himself on course for NHL consideration, it still appears Utunen’s first class during the NHL degree will be as a sixth or defenceman that is seventh.

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