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

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

Vancouver possibility Toni Utunen is really a smooth skating Finnish defencemen whom doesn’t 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 before the 3rd round. While they get ready 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 struck house runs when you look at 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, due to the fact most readily useful groups find players when you look at the sides for the draft. Is Toni Utunen those types of dudes? With all the Canucks’ current blue line corps filled up with veterans, you will find most likely spaces in the future available into the next few periods. Let’s take a good 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 got maybe perhaps maybe not scored at that price since. There’s a big caveat here, though: Utunen kept going within age brackets, always having fun with the older kids. At age 15, he skated is cash net usa loans legit for Tappara’s Under 18 group. Aged 16, he had been on Tappara’s top junior squad. 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 away to LeKi into the 2nd tier Mestis league for 28 games.

Utunen showed sufficient to draw the optical eyes for 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 net in those times has aided him refine their protective game. If you’re maybe not planning to score against older players, you’re planning to need to be extremely proficient at stopping them if you’re likely to stick around. During the 2019 World Juniors, he played on Finland’s pairing that is first defensive alongside Henri Jokiharju, helping lead the Finns to silver. (The flashy Jokiharju just completed up their 2nd NHL season.)

That exact same season, Utunen became an everyday when you look at the Tappara lineup, whether or not he didn’t play a lot that is whole.

During the 2020 World Juniors, he wore an ‘A’ for the Finnish world 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 worlds ironically the defenceman Tappara acquired mid period and whom forced Utunen down seriously to eighth from the level chart ended up being former Canucks defenceman Adam Polasek.

“Of course, that will have now been a fascinating option,” their representative Jarmo Kork said via text message about whether he’d have checked to try out when it comes to Utica Comets in 2020 21, instead of another season with Tappara, in a schedule where in actuality the COVID 19 pandemic does not happen. “But he could be attempting to concentrate on the future period, which starts week that is next. He would like to become a significantly better player as time goes by, so he could one play when you look at the NHL, which can be his dream. time”

Dobber Prospects’ Cam Robinson has watched lots 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 the usa 3 2 within the silver medal game associated with the 2019 globe junior hockey championship at Rogers Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. Deep Lam / Getty graphics files.The role he employs now could be among the constant, be home more type. He performs this by effortlessly making use of his stick and space control to thwart oncoming threats. Despite maybe not being the biggest player on the market, he manoeuvres and angles well down low and that can manage leading regarding the net too,” said Robinson. “You will periodically see him jump to the play and flash some of these previous (offensive) characteristics, but don’t ever expect it. He plays a secure and style that is efficient should provide itself well to North American pro hockey. However it shall additionally prohibit him from playing too much up any lineups.”

Finnish prospects journalist Miika Arponen concurred in what works in Utunen’s game. Exact exact Same elements continue to be here that have been their talents as he had been drafted: their effortless skating, defensive understanding as well as the no danger puck managing, but he’sn’t actually gone ahead 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 have a spot that is permanent Tappara’s defence but to date he’sn’t had the oppertunity to put up into it. And unfortuitously according to pre period games it appears become situation once again this season while he could be projected to end up being the defenceman that is seventh Tappara once again.”

Utunen appears set to relax and play out of the 12 months when you look at the Liiga after which will make a jump towards the United states Hockey League for 2021 22. He would have to signal a contract 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 regarding 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 high end in the NHL level could be being a sixth or defenceman that is seventh.