Vasily Podkolzin and the Canucks: It's now or never for the forward

Cooper Godin
July 6, 2024  (12:59)

Vasily Podkolzin with the Vancouver Canucks
Photo credit: Yahoo Sports

Next season is massive for Vancouver Canucks forward Vasily Podkolzin and the team needs him to step up in a big way and hopefully hit that potential they saw in him when they selected him tenth overall in 2019.

After coming over from Russia ahead of the 2021-22 season, Podkolzin was able to land a roster spot immediately and spent the entire year in the NHL with Vancouver, showing plenty of promise in his game, finishing with 26 points in 79 games, which had him 19th among rookies in the league.
In the last two years, Podkolzin has failed to stick in the NHL full-time and has bounced between Vancouver and their American Hockey League affiliate in Abbotsford, but next season, the Canucks need more out of the 23-year-old.
While on Sekeres and Price on Friday, Patrick Johnston of The Province said that the Canucks want Podkolzin to find his confidence and are trying to help him rediscover the player he can be. Johnston added that Podkolzin, at times, plays too safe and doesn't want to screw up, but the Canucks know he's capable of delivering an exciting play at the same time as playing it safe.
Johnston also mentioned that this is a big season for Podkolzin in 2024-25 and that the Vancouver Canucks need him to be the player they took in the first round five years ago.
"They've been really trying hard with Podkolzin to de-systemize him, I guess is the best way to put it, because you watch him play, he does all the right things and then he realizes, what's the safe play. And it's not that they don't want him to do the safe play, they just know that he could also choose the exciting play, and they know he could do it. And so, it is a bit about finding the player's confidence, helping him rediscover what he can be because he spent so long trying to play it safe, trying not to screw up, trying to be the good soldier." Johnston said.

He added, "And it's a, this is obviously a massive season for him, because they need him to be the guy they drafted him to be, which is a solid middle of the lineup winger and a guy that potentially could be a penalty killer. You know, a guy that brings something more than just being on the roster."

Podkolzin, a native of Moscow, Russia spent the majority of the year with Abbotsford where he put up 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists), 15 penalty minutes and had an even-rating. He also appeared in 19 games for the Canucks during the regular season and a pair of Stanley Cup Playoff contests.
It's hard to say it's a make or break year for Podkolzin just yet, but he needs to have a big campaign in 2024-25 to prove to the Canucks that they made the right decision in selecting him tenth overall back in 2019. It'll be interesting to see how he does in training camp and pre-season games as he looks to earn a spot on the opening night roster.
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Vasily Podkolzin and the Canucks: It's now or never for the forward

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