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

Vancouver possibility Toni Utunen is a smooth skating Finnish defencemen whom does not set up points that are many

Finland defenceman Toni Utunen (left) leans on Sweden winger and fellow Vancouver Canucks possibility Nils Hoglander during the Finland Sweden bronze medal game 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 through great plains lending loans hours to the 3rd round. Because they prepare for the draft we’re assessing towards the top 10 leads when you look at the system, starting today at No. 10 with Toni Utunen.

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

TONI UTUNEN (#10 possibility)

Being a 14 old, playing against player two years older, Toni Utunen was nearly a point per game player year. He’s maybe not scored at that price since. There’s a large caveat here, though: Utunen kept going up age brackets, always 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. Several of their teammates had been set to make 20. The the following year he switched expert, skating 11 times for the senior Tappara squad into the Liiga (Finland’s elite league) as well as being loaned down to LeKi into the 2nd tier Mestis league for 28 games.

Utunen showed adequate to draw the optical eyes associated with the Canucks. He’s never scored like he did as he first hit their teenagers, however it’s clear the skill that drove him to the web in those times has assisted him refine their protective game. If you’re perhaps not likely to score against older players, you’re planning to need to be really great at stopping them if you’re likely to stay. During the 2019 World Juniors, he played on Finland’s first defensive pairing, alongside Henri Jokiharju, helping lead the Finns to silver. (The fancy Jokiharju just completed up their NHL season that is second.)

That exact exact same period, Utunen became an everyday into the Tappara lineup, regardless of if he didn’t play a lot that is whole.

During the 2020 World Juniors, he wore an ‘A’ when it comes to Finnish globe junior squad but yet again 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 found mid period and whom pressed Utunen down seriously to eighth from the level chart ended up being former Canucks defenceman Adam Polasek.

“Of course, that could have already been an appealing option,” his representative Jarmo Kork stated via text message about whether he’d have actually checked to try out when it comes to Utica Comets in 2020 21, as opposed to another season with Tappara, in a schedule in which the COVID 19 pandemic does not take place. “But he’s attempting to focus on the upcoming period, which starts in a few days. He would like to grow into a much better player later on, so he could one play within the NHL, which can be his dream. day”

Dobber Prospects’ Cam Robinson has watched plenty of Utunen during the last couple of years 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 when you look at the silver medal game for the 2019 globe junior hockey championship at Rogers Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. Deep Lam / Getty photos files.The role he employs now could be one of many constant, be home more kind. He performs this by efficiently utilizing their stick and space control to thwart oncoming threats. Despite perhaps not being the player that is largest online, he manoeuvres and angles well down low and will manage the leading for the web also,” said Robinson. “You will sometimes see him leap in to the play and flash several of those former (offensive) characteristics, but don’t ever expect it. He plays a secure and efficient design that should provide it self well to North American pro hockey. Nonetheless it shall also prohibit him from playing too much up any lineups.”

Finnish leads journalist Miika Arponen concurred in what works in Utunen’s game. Exact Same elements continue to be there which were his skills as he had been drafted: their effortless skating, protective understanding plus the no danger puck managing, but he’sn’t actually gone forward in virtually any aspect recently,” said Arponen. Having said that, Utunen’s reputation that is growing a Mr. dependable could express a plateau, he warned.

“ He has been offered a way to take a permanent just right Tappara’s defence but up to now he hasn’t had the oppertunity to keep about it. And unfortuitously according to pre period games it appears become situation once more this present year while he is projected to function as defenceman that is seventh Tappara once again.”

Utunen appears set to relax and play the year out into the Liiga then will make a jump into the American Hockey League for 2021 22. He would have to signal a contract 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 coaches at Tappara this year, then soar greater again once he’s joined Utica the following year, placing himself on program for NHL consideration, it still appears Utunen’s first class in the NHL degree will be as being a sixth or 7th defenceman.

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