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


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 numerous points

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. Because they get ready for the draft we’re assessing towards the top 10 prospects within the system, starting today at No. 10 with Toni Utunen.

The Canucks have actually hit house runs into the very first round in modern times, but a high 10 list means looking into significantly more than the players whom must allow it to be, since the most useful groups find players into the sides for the draft. Is Toni Utunen those types of dudes? With all the Canucks’ current line that is blue filled up with veterans, you will find most likely spaces in the future open into the next few periods. Let’s take a good look at this smooth skating Finn.

TONI UTUNEN (#10 prospect)

As being a 14 old, playing against player two years older, Toni Utunen was nearly a point per game player year. He’s got maybe maybe not scored at that price since. There’s a huge caveat here, though: Utunen kept going within age brackets, always using 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. A few of their teammates had been set to show 20. The the following year he switched expert, skating 11 times when it comes to senior Tappara squad when you look at the Liiga (Finland’s elite league) as well as being loaned off to LeKi into the second tier Mestis league for 28 games.

Utunen showed sufficient to draw the optical eyes regarding the Canucks. He’s never scored like he did as he first hit their teenagers, however it’s clear the skill that drove him towards the internet in those times has aided him refine their protective game. If you’re perhaps not likely to score against older players, you’re planning to need to be extremely proficient at stopping them if you’re likely to hang in there. 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 fancy Jokiharju just completed up their NHL season that is second.)

That exact exact same period, Utunen became a typical within the Tappara lineup, just because he didn’t play a lot that is whole.

During the 2020 World Juniors, he wore an ‘A’ for the world that is finnish squad but once more 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 have now been an option that is interesting” their agent Jarmo Kork stated via text message about whether he’d have checked to try out when it comes to Utica Comets in 2020 21, as opposed to 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 future period, which begins in a few days. He desires to grow into a far better player in the foreseeable future, so he could one play within the NHL, that will be their dream. time”

Dobber Prospects’ Cam Robinson has watched lots of Utunen over the past couple of years and called the young Finn the “consummate protective defender.” Toni Utunen of Finland celebrates because of the championship trophy after defeating america 3 2 into the silver medal game of this 2019 globe junior hockey championship at Rogers Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. Deep Lam / Getty photos files.The role he employs now could be among the constant, be home more kind. He performs this by efficiently making use of their stick and space control to thwart oncoming threats. Despite perhaps maybe not being the biggest player available to you, he manoeuvres and angles well down low and certainly will manage leading associated with the web also,” said Robinson. “You will sometimes see him leap to the play and flash several of those previous (offensive) traits, but don’t ever expect it. He plays a secure and efficient design that should lend it self well to North American pro hockey. Nonetheless it shall also prohibit him from playing too much up any lineups.”

Finnish leads author Miika Arponen concurred as to what works in Utunen’s game. Same elements are nevertheless here that have been their skills as he had been drafted: their effortless skating, defensive understanding and also the no danger puck managing, but he’sn’t actually gone ahead in just about any 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 way to just take a spot that is permanent Tappara’s defence but to date he’sn’t had the opportunity to keep about it. And unfortuitously considering pre period games it seems to be instance once again this season as he could be projected to end up being the defenceman that is seventh Tappara once more.”

Utunen seems set to relax and play the year out within the Liiga then will make a jump to your United states Hockey League for 2021 22. He would have to sign a agreement first, needless to say. Include 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 regarding the coaches at Tappara in 2010, then soar higher again once he’s joined Utica the following year, placing himself on program for NHL consideration, it still appears Utunen’s high end during the NHL degree could be as a sixth or defenceman that is seventh.