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

Canucks Top 10 leads: No offense, but Toni Utunen demonstrably 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 medal that is bronze 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 through to the round that is third. While they get ready for the draft we’re assessing at the very top 10 leads within the system, starting today at No. 10 with Toni Utunen.

The Canucks have actually struck house runs when you look at the round that is first modern times, but a high 10 list means looking into more than the players whom must ensure it is, due to the fact most useful groups find players into the sides associated with the draft. Is Toni Utunen one particular dudes? With all the Canucks’ current line that is blue filled up with veterans, you can find most most 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)

As being a 14 old, playing against player two years older, Toni Utunen was nearly a point per game player year. He has got perhaps perhaps maybe not scored at that price since. There’s a caveat that is big, though: Utunen kept going within age brackets, constantly having fun with the older young ones. At age 15, he skated for Tappara’s Under 18 group. Aged 16, he had been on Tappara’s top junior squad. A number of their teammates had been set to make 20. The the following year he switched expert, skating 11 times for the senior Tappara squad when you look at the Liiga (Finland’s elite league) and in addition being loaned off to LeKi within the 2nd tier Mestis league for 28 games.

Utunen showed sufficient to draw the eyes associated with 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 web then though 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 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 2nd NHL season.)

That exact exact same period, Utunen became a frequent when you look at the Tappara lineup, even though he didn’t play a lot that is whole.

In the 2020 World Juniors, he wore an ‘A’ for the Finnish globe junior squad but once more struggled to have much ice time for Tappara. In reality, their playing time diminished after he came back through the worlds ironically the defenceman Tappara found mid period and whom forced Utunen down seriously to eighth in the depth chart ended up being former Canucks defenceman Adam Polasek.

“Of course, that could have now been an option that is interesting” 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 could be trying to concentrate on the future season, which begins week that is next. He really wants to become a far better player as time goes by, so he could one time play into the NHL, that is their dream.”

Dobber Prospects’ Cam Robinson has watched plenty of Utunen over the past couple of years and called the young Finn the “consummate defensive defender.” Toni Utunen of Finland celebrates utilizing the championship trophy after beating the usa 3 2 when you look at the silver medal game regarding the 2019 globe junior hockey championship at Rogers Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. Deep Lam / Getty pictures files.The role he employs now’s 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 maybe maybe perhaps not being the player that is largest available to you, he manoeuvres and angles well down low and will manage the leading regarding the web too,” said Robinson. “You will sporadically see him jump in to the play and flash some of these previous (offensive) characteristics, but don’t ever expect it. He plays a safe and efficient design that should provide it self well to North American pro hockey. Nonetheless it shall additionally prohibit him from playing excessive up any lineups.”

Finnish leads writer Miika Arponen concurred in what works in Utunen’s game. Same elements will always be there that have been their talents as he ended up being drafted: their effortless skating, protective understanding as well as the no risk puck managing, but he’sn’t actually gone ahead in almost any aspect recently,” said Arponen. That said, Utunen’s growing reputation as a Mr. dependable could express a plateau, he warned.

“ He has been provided a chance to just take a spot that is permanent Tappara’s defence but up to now he’sn’t had the oppertunity to put on about it. And unfortuitously centered on pre period games it seems become situation once again this season while he could be projected to end up being the 7th defenceman for Tappara once more.”

Utunen appears set to relax and play out of the 12 months within the Liiga after which might make a jump towards the United states Hockey League for 2021 22. He will have to signal a agreement first, needless to say. Add 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 program for NHL consideration, it still appears Utunen’s high end during the NHL degree could be as being a sixth or defenceman that is seventh.

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