LATEST | Announcement regarding the best under twenty-three: Five Canucks highlighted including a surprise

Published August 28, 2023 at 10:39

On Monday, Corey Pronman of The Athletic has released their list ranking well over 150 players and prospects on NHL teams that are under the age of 23.

In Pronman's list, he breaks it down into eight separate tiers:

Tier 1. Bubble generational player and elite NHL player.
Tier 2. Elite NHL player.
Tier 3. Bubble elite NHL player and NHL All-Star.
Tier 4. NHL All-Star.
Tier 5. Bubble NHL All-Star and top of the lineup player.
Tier 6. Top of the lineup player.
Tier 7. Bubble top and middle of the lineup player.
Tier 8. Middle of the lineup player.

Five Vancouver Canucks players/prospects have been highlighted in the list by Corey Pronman - Tom Willander (60th), Aatu Raty (134th), Jonathan Lekkerimaki (154th), Vasili Podkolzin (157th), Arturs Silovs (160th).

Here's what Corey Pronman had to say about each of the five Canucks he mentioned in his article.

Tom Willander - Tier 7 (60th)

"Willander's skating is his main asset for the NHL; he is one of the best skaters in the 2023 draft. He has a quick, powerful skating stride and can push the pace up ice with the puck. Willander's skating allows him to close on checks well and be a quality defender, especially when combined with having some physicality in his game. I wasn't always sold on his offensive touch. I don't see a big-time playmaker as a pro, but Willander has good enough skill and vision to move pucks at higher levels well, especially given the space his feet can generate. He has the making of a good two-way top four defenseman."

Aatu Raty - Tier 8 (134th)

"Raty was up and down in his first season in North America. He was traded midway through the year from the Islanders to Vancouver as a part of the Bo Horvat trade. Raty has value as a good-sized center with strong puck skills and vision. He can create off the perimeter with his skill. He doesn't lack an interior game, as he works hard enough and has a good frame, but his feet may prevent him from getting to the net or by NHL defensemen off the rush. His work ethic is good enough that I could see him as a third line center despite his skating issues."

Jonathan Lekkerimaki - Tier 8 (154th)

"Lekkerimaki struggled during the regular season in the Allsvenskan and had just an OK World Junior. His playoff was very good though scoring a point per game for Djurgarden. Lekkerimaki is very skilled and can beat pro defensemen one-on-one often. He skates well and can create offense with pace. He's a strong passer and shooter who can score from long distance. The biggest issue with Lekkerimaki is his consistency and compete. He doesn't always give the best effort and plays too much on the perimeter. He may frustrate coaches, but the talent is legit enough to be a middle six wing who helps a power play."

Vasili Podkolzin - Tier 8 (157th)

"Podkolzin had a tough season, getting limited minutes in the NHL and was sent down to the AHL for stretches. I think there are still reasons to believe in Podkolzin as a career NHLer. He's a skilled, competitive winger who can create in the hard areas of the ice. He has good enough creativity as well to improvise with the puck. The issues in his game come down to his pace/skating and whether the offensive touch is special enough. I think it's good enough to be a middle six wing, but he may never score at the level of a top 10 pick."

Arturs Silovs - Tier 8 (160th)

"Silovs' AHL numbers this season weren't amazing but I thought he looked better than his SV% reflected. He then went to the World Championships for Latvia and led them to a bronze medal, being named MVP of the tournament. Silovs is a big and highly intelligent goalie. His reads are high-end and he never seems to be out of position. He can move well enough, even if his lower half isn't explosive, to get to tough saves. His brain and efficiency limits how often he needs to do that, though. He has the potential to be a tandem goalie in the NHL, and if he cuts down on long range goals and becomes more consistent he has legit No. 1 potential."

SOURCE: Corey Pronman - The Athletic
August 28   |   537 answers
LATEST | Announcement regarding the best under twenty-three: Five Canucks highlighted including a surprise

Which of the four players in this poll are you excited about the most?

Tom Willander21940.8 %
Jonathan Lekkerimaki8716.2 %
Aatu Raty7113.2 %
Arturs Silovs16029.8 %
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