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

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

Vancouver possibility Toni Utunen is 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 funds joy loans online. 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 prepare for the draft we’re evaluating at the very top 10 leads within the system, starting today at No. 10 with Toni Utunen.

The Canucks have actually struck house runs into the very first round in the past few years, but a premier 10 list means looking into more than the players whom must ensure it is, whilst the most useful groups find players when you look at the sides associated with draft. Is Toni Utunen one particular dudes? With all the Canucks’ current blue line corps filled up with veterans, you can find most likely areas in the future available into 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 got maybe perhaps not scored at that rate since. There’s a large caveat here, though: Utunen kept going within the age brackets, constantly 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 number of their teammates were set to make 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) and in addition being loaned off to LeKi into the 2nd tier Mestis league for 28 games.

Utunen showed adequate to draw the eyes regarding the Canucks. He’s never scored like he did as he first hit their teens, however it’s clear the skill that drove him towards the internet then though has aided him refine their protective game. If you’re maybe not likely to score against older players, you’re planning to need to be extremely great at stopping them if you’re likely 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 finished up their NHL season that is second.)

That exact exact same period, Utunen became a frequent into the Tappara lineup, regardless if he didn’t play a lot that is whole.

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, their playing time diminished after he came back through the globes ironically the defenceman Tappara acquired season that is mid whom pressed Utunen down seriously to eighth from the depth chart ended up being former Canucks defenceman Adam Polasek.

“Of course, that could have already been an appealing 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 doesn’t take place. “But he’s wanting to concentrate on the future period, which begins week that is next. He really wants to become an improved player in the foreseeable future, so he could one time play into the NHL, that will be their dream.”

Dobber Prospects’ Cam Robinson has watched plenty of Utunen over the past 2 yrs and called the young Finn the “consummate protective defender.” Toni Utunen of Finland celebrates with all the championship trophy after beating america 3 2 into the silver medal game associated with 2019 globe junior hockey championship at Rogers Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. Deep Lam / Getty photos files.The role he employs now’s one of many constant, be home more kind. He performs this by efficiently utilizing their stick and space control to thwart threats that are oncoming. Despite maybe not being the biggest player 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) characteristics, 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. Nonetheless 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. exact Same elements are still here which were their talents as he had been drafted: their effortless skating, protective awareness as well as the no danger puck handling, but he’sn’t really gone ahead in almost any aspect recently,” said Arponen. Having said that, Utunen’s reputation that is growing a Mr. trustworthy could express a plateau, he warned.

“ He has been offered a way to have a spot that is permanent Tappara’s defence but up to now he’sn’t had the opportunity to carry into it. And regrettably according to pre period games it looks become instance once again this present year as he’s projected to function as defenceman that is seventh Tappara once again.”

Utunen appears set to relax and play the year out within the Liiga then might make a jump to your United states Hockey League for 2021 22. He would have to sign a contract 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 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 high end during the NHL degree could be as a sixth or defenceman that is seventh.

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