Now more than ever the Vancouver Canucks are looking to the future. With youngsters like Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat leading the youth movement in Vancouver and top prospects like Elias Petterson and Jonathan Dahlen on the way, the future looks bright in Vancouver. But, despite his drafting acumen GM Jim Benning doesn’t have a spotless record at the draft podium in Vancouver. Sixth overall pick Jake Virtanen is still very much a work in progress and fifth overall pick Olli Juolevi has seemingly regressed since his draft day.
Now, a report from NEWS 1130 reporter and Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal is casting further doubts on the future of Juolevi in particular.
Well… that’s not a good sign.
It’s been a tough season for the 19-year-old Juolevi. While he has managed six goals and 17 points in 26 games during his first season of professional hockey, Juolevi had another disappointing showing at the World Junior Championships earlier this month. Named team captain for his native Finland last year, Juolevi took a backseat this year and failed to make much of an impact despite being one of the tournament’s most tenured players. Canucks fans had also held out hope that Juolevi would be named to his country's Olympic squad. No such luck. All of this, combined with news now that he’s being scratched in Finland, Canucks fans are sure to be upset.
All of this being said it’s important to remember that Juolevi is still just 19-years-old. He’s by no means entering “draft bust” territory at this stage in his career. But with Matthew Tkachuk, Clayton Keller, Charlie McAvoy and Mikhail Sergachev, all players drafted after Juolevi in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, experiencing success in the NHL this season, the clock is ticking on Juolevi. If he can’t make an impact in the NHL next season, expect patience to start wearing thing amongst the Canucks’ fanbase.