Category Archives: Abbotsford Canucks

Jonathan Lekkerimäki Wins Young Player Of The Year at the 2024 Fenix Outdoor Euro Hockey Awards

The Vancouver Canucks’ prospect pool is brimming with talent, and one name that has recently been shining bright is Jonathan Lekkerimäki. This young sensation has just been honored with the prestigious Young Player of the Year award at the 2024 Fenix Outdoor Euro Hockey Awards, a testament to his remarkable performance and potential. This accolade, awarded by the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs (EHC), recognizes the most valuable U22 player in European hockey over the past season, placing Lekkerimäki among an elite group of rising stars.

A Season to Remember

Lekkerimäki’s journey to this award was paved with impressive achievements and standout performances. His 2023-24 season with Örebro HK in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) showcased his exceptional skill and determination. After a challenging 2022-23 season, where he faced various obstacles, Lekkerimäki rebounded spectacularly, displaying resilience and growth in his game.

Key Achievements:

  • MVP of the 2024 World Juniors: Lekkerimäki’s dominance at the international level was a key highlight of his season. Leading his team with clutch performances and showcasing his ability to rise to the occasion, he was rightly named the Most Valuable Player.
  • SHL Best Junior: In one of the toughest leagues in Europe, Lekkerimäki was recognized as the best junior player. This accolade underscores his ability to compete and excel against seasoned professionals.
  • Swedish Junior Hockey Player of the Year: This award further solidified his status as one of the top young talents in Swedish hockey, recognizing his overall impact on the ice.

During the season, Lekkerimäki amassed 19 goals and 31 points in 46 games, leading all U22 players in the SHL in both categories. His scoring prowess and playmaking abilities made him a standout player and a critical asset for Örebro HK.

Transition to North America

Following his stellar season in the SHL, Lekkerimäki took the next step in his career by joining the Abbotsford Canucks in the American Hockey League (AHL). In his six games with Abbotsford, he scored his first AHL goal and recorded his first assist, giving fans a glimpse of his potential in North American professional hockey.

This transition is crucial for his development, as it allows him to adapt to the different style of play and physicality of the AHL, setting the stage for his future in the NHL.

Looking Ahead: NHL Dreams

As the 2024-25 season approaches, the big question for Canucks fans is whether Lekkerimäki is ready to make the jump to the NHL. Here are some considerations:

Benefits of Starting in the AHL

  1. Development Time: The AHL provides a platform for young players to develop their skills in a competitive environment. Lekkerimäki would benefit from playing significant minutes in all situations, which might not be immediately available in the NHL.
  2. Building Confidence: Dominating at the AHL level can build Lekkerimäki’s confidence, making the transition to the NHL smoother. Consistent success in the AHL can reinforce his abilities and readiness for the next step.
  3. Physical and Mental Preparation: The AHL’s tough and physical nature will help Lekkerimäki build the resilience needed for the NHL. It’s a critical phase for him to mature both physically and mentally.

Arguments for the NHL

  1. Skill Set: Lekkerimäki’s exceptional skill set suggests he might be ready for the NHL. His offensive capabilities could provide a significant boost to the Canucks’ lineup.
  2. Immediate Impact: Young players often bring energy and a fresh perspective to an NHL team. Lekkerimäki’s enthusiasm and talent could make an immediate impact on the Canucks.
  3. Injury Call-Up: Starting in the AHL doesn’t preclude an NHL appearance. If injuries occur or if he excels in the AHL, Lekkerimäki could be called up to the NHL mid-season, providing valuable depth to the roster.

Fan Engagement: Your Thoughts?

Canucks Nation, your opinion matters! What do you think is the best path for Jonathan Lekkerimäki? Should he start in the AHL to continue his development, or is he ready to make an impact in the NHL? Share your thoughts and engage with fellow fans to discuss the future of our promising prospect.

What does Jonathan Lekkerimäki’s Win of Young Player Of The Year Award Mean?

Jonathan Lekkerimäki’s recognition as the Young Player of the Year at the 2024 Fenix Outdoor Euro Hockey Awards is a monumental achievement. It reflects his hard work, talent, and potential to become a key player for the Vancouver Canucks. As we look forward to the 2024-25 season, the excitement around Lekkerimäki’s future is palpable. Whether he begins in the AHL or earns a spot on the NHL roster, one thing is certain: Lekkerimäki’s journey is just beginning, and Canucks fans have a lot to look forward to.

Go Canucks Go!

Vancouver Canucks Add Jason Krog as New Skills and Skating Coach

In a move aimed at enhancing the development of their players, the Vancouver Canucks have announced the hiring of Jason Krog as their new Skills and Skating Coach. Krog will be working with both the Vancouver Canucks and their AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. This hire fills a crucial role within the organization, following the promotion of former skills coach Yogi Švejkovský to assistant coach.

Jason Krog: A Rich History in Hockey

Jason Krog’s journey in hockey is one marked by significant achievements and a deep connection to British Columbia. Born in Fernie, BC, Krog began his junior career with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCJHL. Over three seasons, he established himself as a top talent, culminating in an impressive 128-point season in 1994-95.

Krog then moved on to the University of New Hampshire, where he played four seasons from 1995 to 1999. His collegiate career was nothing short of spectacular, amassing 238 points (94 goals, 144 assists) in 152 games. His performance in the 1998-99 season earned him the Hobey Baker Award, recognizing him as the top collegiate hockey player in the United States.

Jason Krog’s Professional Career and Canucks Connection

Krog’s professional career saw him playing 202 NHL games, including a brief stint with the Vancouver Canucks during the 2008-2009 season. While he only played four games with the Canucks, he made a memorable impact with the Manitoba Moose, the Canucks’ minor league affiliate at the time. In 74 games with the Moose, Krog tallied 30 goals, 56 assists, and 86 points, showcasing his skill and leadership.

Krog’s overall NHL career saw him accumulating 59 points, but it was in the AHL and Europe where he truly shone. His accolades include winning the Calder Cup in 2008 and being named both the regular season and playoff MVP. These achievements underscore his deep understanding of the game and his ability to perform at a high level, qualities he will now bring to his coaching role.

Coaching and Development Expertise

Beyond his playing career, Krog has developed a reputation for his coaching acumen. He has coached minor hockey teams across British Columbia, including the Burnaby Winter Club and the West Vancouver Warriors. His work has extended to hosting skills sessions for NHL players in the area, featuring current Canucks like Ilya Mikheyev and Vasily Podkolzin.

Krog’s extensive experience and success as both a player and a coach make him a valuable addition to the Canucks’ development staff. His history of working with young players and his ability to enhance their skills and skating techniques will be instrumental in nurturing the next generation of Canucks talent.

Looking Ahead

The hiring of Jason Krog is a strategic move for the Vancouver Canucks as they continue to focus on player development and organizational growth. Krog’s deep ties to British Columbia and his wealth of experience in the game provide a unique blend of familiarity and expertise that will benefit both the Vancouver and Abbotsford teams.

Krog’s appointment comes at a time when the Canucks are looking to build on their recent progress and make a stronger push in the NHL. With his background and coaching philosophy, Krog is well-positioned to make a significant impact on the development of the Canucks’ prospects and main roster players alike.

As fans, we can look forward to seeing the influence of Krog’s coaching on the ice, from improved skating techniques to enhanced skill levels. His hiring signals a commitment from the Canucks’ management to invest in the development of their players and ensure that they have the tools needed to succeed at the highest level.

Final Thoughts

The Vancouver Canucks’ decision to bring Jason Krog into the fold as a Skills and Skating Coach is a positive step towards strengthening their player development programs. With his rich history in the sport and deep connections to British Columbia, Krog is an excellent fit for the role.

We welcome Jason Krog back to the Canucks organization and look forward to seeing the positive impact he will have on our team. As always, we encourage fans to share their thoughts and engage with us as we continue to support our beloved team.

Go Canucks Go!

Canucks Prospect Josh Bloom Shines in Memorial Cup, Leading Saginaw Spirit to First Championship

Josh Bloom, a standout prospect for the Vancouver Canucks, has made headlines by scoring a late, game-winning goal to lead the Saginaw Spirit to their first Memorial Cup Championship. Acquired by the Canucks on February 27, 2023, from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Riley Stillman, Bloom has quickly proven his worth. At just 19 years old, the young forward showed immense potential and has now cemented his name in Saginaw Spirit history.

A Promising Acquisition

When Patrick Allvin, the Canucks’ general manager, secured Bloom, he knew he was getting a player with significant upside. Bloom’s performance this season has justified that excitement. Splitting his time between the Saginaw Spirit and the North Bay Battalion in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Bloom has racked up an impressive 58 points (26 goals, 32 assists) in 59 games. His discipline and impact on the ice are further highlighted by his 44 penalty minutes and a +9 plus-minus rating.

Since joining the Battalion on November 16, Bloom has maintained a point-per-game pace, recording 42 points (19 goals, 23 assists) in 40 games. His prowess on special teams has been noteworthy, with 18 power-play points (8 goals, 10 assists) and a league-leading four shorthanded goals.

Josh Bloom: Leadership and Skill

Bloom’s leadership qualities have been evident throughout his junior career. This season, he started as the 22nd captain in Saginaw Spirit history, following a stint as an alternate captain last season. His scoring ability was a significant asset for the Spirit last season (2021-22), where he ranked second in overall scoring with 61 points (30 goals, 31 assists) in 67 games, tying the franchise record for most shorthanded goals in a single season with seven.

The Memorial Cup Hero, Josh Bloom

In the Memorial Cup Championship, Bloom’s heroics were on full display. Positioned perfectly at the London Knights’ doorstep, Bloom managed to jam the puck past the opposing netminder, securing the Spirit’s first-ever Memorial Cup Championship. His reaction post-game was one of pure elation. “There are no words right now. That’s probably the biggest goal of my career,” Bloom remarked.

The London Knights, who finished the OHL regular season with a higher point total than the Spirit, met Saginaw in the conference finals and triumphed in a tough 4-2 series. This time, however, it was Bloom and his teammates who prevailed. “Having our hearts ripped out of our chest and smashed into a million pieces, we found a way to put it back together, and now we’re champs,” Bloom reflected on the emotional journey.

A Standout Performance by Josh Bloom

Bloom’s impact in the championship game extended beyond his game-winning goal. He tallied two assists earlier in the match, contributing significantly to the Spirit’s offense. His first assist came midway through the opening period, leading to a goal by Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck. The duo connected again with less than a minute left in the first period, with Bloom setting up Beck for a rocket shot that doubled their lead.

Despite the Spirit’s 3-0 lead at the midway point, the Knights clawed back, tying the game in the final 10 minutes. Bloom’s clutch performance in the dying moments, scoring the decisive goal, underscored his ability to deliver under pressure and highlighted his significance to the team’s success.

Future Prospects

As a 20-year-old, Bloom will age out of junior hockey and turn professional for the second time in his career. He started the 2023-24 season with the Abbotsford Canucks but struggled to secure regular ice time, leading to his loan back to the Saginaw Spirit. Bloom’s journey in junior hockey, especially his leadership as a former captain, will serve him well as he transitions to the professional ranks.

Bloom’s next challenge will be attending the Canucks’ training camp in the fall. With a new coaching regime in Abbotsford, he will aim to earn a roster spot and make a significant impact. His recent success at the Memorial Cup positions him as a promising candidate for the Abbotsford Canucks and potentially the Vancouver Canucks in the future.

What Does This Mean for the Canucks?

Bloom’s performance in the Memorial Cup Championship suggests that the Canucks have a highly capable and clutch player in their pipeline. His ability to perform under pressure, coupled with his scoring touch and leadership qualities, makes him a valuable asset. While it remains to be seen if he will secure a roster spot with the Canucks or their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, his trajectory is promising.

Bloom’s development will be crucial for the Canucks’ future. His performance at the junior level, especially in high-stakes games like the Memorial Cup, demonstrates his potential to contribute at higher levels of competition. The Canucks’ management and coaching staff will undoubtedly keep a close eye on his progress as he transitions to professional hockey.

Josh Bloom and the Fan Perspective

As Canucks fans, we have much to look forward to with Josh Bloom. His journey from junior hockey to the professional ranks will be an exciting one to follow. Bloom’s ability to rise to the occasion in critical moments is something that every fan can appreciate. His recent success adds depth to the Canucks’ prospect pool and brings hope for the future.

What do you think, Canucks fans? Does Josh Bloom’s performance in the Memorial Cup make you optimistic about his future with the Canucks? Could he be the next big thing for our team? Share your thoughts and let’s keep the conversation going.

Go Canucks Go!

Canucks Coaching Changes: Mike Yeo Departs, Manny Malhotra Takes Over in Abbotsford

The Vancouver Canucks have recently made some significant changes in their coaching staff, with notable departures and new appointments that are set to shape the future of both the NHL and AHL teams. Mike Yeo, who joined the Canucks in 2022, has announced his departure from the organization. Meanwhile, the Abbotsford Canucks will see Jeremy Colliton stepping down as head coach, replaced by former Canucks player and coach, Manny Malhotra. These shifts raise intriguing questions and offer new opportunities for both teams. Let’s dive deeper into these coaching changes and what they mean for the Canucks.

Assistant Coach Mike Yeo’s Departure

Mike Yeo joined the Canucks with a wealth of experience, having previously served as head coach for both the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues, as well as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Flyers. His tenure with the Canucks, though relatively short, was marked by a period of transition and rebuilding.

Yeo’s departure comes at a time when the Canucks’ special teams have been under scrutiny. While Yeo wasn’t solely responsible for the special teams, his broader coaching role inevitably intersected with these critical aspects of the game. The Canucks’ powerplay, in particular, struggled down the stretch and during the playoffs. A powerplay that once showed promise faltered when it was needed most, raising questions about strategic adjustments and execution.

It’s worth noting that special teams can often make or break a team’s success, especially in the playoffs where games can hinge on a single powerplay opportunity. The Canucks’ inability to capitalize in these situations highlighted a need for a fresh perspective and perhaps a more specialized focus on these crucial areas.

We thank Mike Yeo for his contributions to the Canucks and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. His experience and knowledge have undoubtedly left a mark on the team, and his departure opens the door for new strategic minds to step in and address the special teams’ challenges.

Jeremy Colliton Steps Down as Abby Head Coach, Manny Malhotra Steps In

In Abbotsford, the coaching carousel sees Jeremy Colliton stepping down after a commendable tenure. Colliton’s impact on the Abbotsford Canucks has been profound. He led the team to two very successful seasons, establishing a culture of hard work and respectability. Under his guidance, the team developed a strong identity and showed consistent improvement, making Abbotsford a competitive force in the AHL.

Colliton’s decision to step down might be influenced by the success of Rick Tocchet with the Vancouver Canucks. Tocchet’s impressive performance as head coach in Vancouver has solidified his position, potentially limiting Colliton’s opportunities to advance to the NHL level within the organization. Given his track record, it’s likely that Colliton will find new opportunities elsewhere, perhaps even in the NHL, where his coaching acumen can be further tested and showcased.

We extend our gratitude to Jeremy Colliton for his dedication and significant contributions to the Abbotsford Canucks. His leadership and vision have been instrumental in the team’s success, and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.

Welcoming Head Coach Manny Malhotra

Stepping into the head coach role for the Abbotsford Canucks is Manny Malhotra, a familiar name to Canucks fans. Malhotra, who played for the Vancouver Canucks from 2010 to 2013, was a beloved figure both on and off the ice. Known for his defensive prowess, faceoff skills, and leadership qualities, Malhotra was a key player during the Canucks’ run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

Following his playing career, Malhotra transitioned into coaching, bringing his wealth of knowledge and experience to various roles, including a previous stint as an assistant coach with the Canucks. His familiarity with the organization, combined with his on-ice intelligence and coaching experience, makes him an excellent fit for the Abbotsford Canucks.

Malhotra’s appointment signals a continued commitment to developing young talent and fostering a competitive environment in Abbotsford. His hands-on approach and deep understanding of the game will be invaluable assets as he guides the next generation of Canucks prospects. Fans can expect a team that is well-prepared, disciplined, and reflective of Malhotra’s values and dedication.

Coaching: The Road Ahead

These coaching changes mark an important moment for the Canucks organization. In Vancouver, the focus will likely turn to finding a replacement for Mike Yeo who can address the special teams’ shortcomings and bring a renewed energy to the coaching staff. Given the importance of powerplay and penalty kill units in today’s NHL, this hire will be crucial for the team’s success moving forward.

In Abbotsford, Manny Malhotra’s arrival is an exciting development. His deep ties to the Canucks and his impressive hockey IQ bode well for the future of the AHL team. As Malhotra steps into his new role, fans will be eager to see how he shapes the team’s identity and continues the work started by Jeremy Colliton.

As we reflect on these changes, it’s important to acknowledge the contributions of those departing while embracing the potential that new leadership brings. The Canucks are in a period of transformation, and these coaching adjustments are a pivotal part of that process.

We invite all Canucks fans to share their thoughts and perspectives on these changes. What do you think about Mike Yeo’s departure? How do you feel about Manny Malhotra taking over in Abbotsford? Your opinions matter and contribute to the vibrant community of Canucks supporters.

Go Canucks Go!