Canucks Top 10 leads: No offense, but Toni Utunen demonstrably a defender

Vancouver possibility Toni Utunen is just 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 before the round that is third. Because they get ready for the draft we’re assessing towards the top 10 leads into the system, starting today at No. 10 with Toni Utunen.

The Canucks have actually struck house runs into the very first round in the last few years, but a high 10 list means looking into significantly more than the players whom must allow it to be, while the most readily useful groups find players into the edges associated with draft. Is Toni Utunen among those dudes? With all the Canucks’ current blue line corps full of veterans, you will find likely areas in the future available when you look at 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 maybe not scored at that rate since. There’s a huge caveat here, though: Utunen kept going within age brackets, constantly having fun with the older children. 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 year that is next switched expert, skating 11 times for the senior Tappara squad when you look at the Liiga (Finland’s elite league) as well as being loaned away to LeKi within the 2nd tier Mestis league for 28 games.

Utunen showed adequate to draw the optical eyes associated with Canucks. He’s never scored towards the net in those days has helped him refine his defensive game like he did when he first hit his teens, but it’s clear the talent that drove him. If you’re perhaps not planning to score against older players, you’re planning to have to be extremely proficient at stopping them if you’re going to hang in there. 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 second NHL season.)

That exact exact same period, Utunen became a normal into the Tappara lineup, even though he didn’t play a lot.

In the 2020 World Juniors, he wore an ‘A’ when it comes to Finnish globe junior squad but once more struggled to obtain much ice time for Tappara. In reality, his playing time diminished after he came back through the globes ironically the defenceman Tappara acquired season that is mid whom forced Utunen down seriously to eighth in 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 stated via text message about whether he’d have actually checked to try out when it comes to Utica Comets in 2020 21, in the place of another period with Tappara, in a schedule where in fact the COVID 19 pandemic does not take place. “But he’s attempting to concentrate on the future period, which begins week that is next. He would like to grow into an improved player as time goes by, so he could one time play into the NHL, which will be their dream.”

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 with all funds joy loans approved the championship trophy after beating the United States 3 2 into the silver medal game for the 2019 globe junior hockey championship at Rogers Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. Deep Lam / Getty pictures files.The role he employs now could be one of many steady, be home more kind. He does this by effortlessly making use of their stick and space control to thwart oncoming threats. Despite perhaps maybe not being the player that is largest available to you, he manoeuvres and angles well down low and may manage the leading for the web also,” said Robinson. “You will sometimes see him leap to the play and flash several of those previous (offensive) faculties, but don’t ever expect it. He plays a secure and style that is efficient should provide it self well to North American pro hockey. However it will additionally prohibit him from playing too much up any lineups.”

Finnish leads journalist Miika Arponen concurred in what works in Utunen’s game. Same elements continue to be there that have been their skills as he was drafted: their effortless skating, protective understanding as well as the no danger puck managing, but he’sn’t actually gone ahead in every aspect recently,” said Arponen. Having said that, Utunen’s growing reputation as a Mr. trustworthy could express a plateau, he warned.

“ He has been provided a way to have a spot that is permanent Tappara’s defence but up to now he’sn’t had the opportunity to put up about it. And regrettably according to pre period games it appears become instance once again this season as he’s projected to function as the defenceman that is seventh Tappara once more.”

Utunen appears set to relax and play the year out within the Liiga after which will make a jump towards the American Hockey League for 2021 22. He would need to signal an agreement first, of course. 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 of this coaches at Tappara in 2010, then soar greater again once he’s joined Utica the following year, placing himself on program for NHL consideration, it still appears Utunen’s higher end during the NHL degree will be being a sixth or seventh defenceman.

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