Vilmer Alriksson cut photo

It is hard to miss, and impossible to look over Vilmer Alriksson.

At 6’6”, the Swedish winger has always towered over the competition in which he faces on the ice.

With that level of size comes certain expectations. In Alriksson’s case, you’re expected to use your body to your advantage and be a physical presence on every shift.

For the Canucks 2023 fourth-round pick, this is exactly why he chose to move from Sweden to the OHL last year and develop his game in the Major Junior league with the Guelph Storm.

“The OHL fits me well,” said Alriksson. “I wanted to get better at using my size, and here in Canada is the best place to work on that. I knew the OHL was a really good league and a physical league as well.”

Alriksson was also looking to get bigger and stronger through his first OHL season.

And he accomplished that.

At the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, Alriksson was listed at 214 pounds. It’s a substantial size for a 6’6” player but Alriksson was committed to building strength throughout the year and has taken that mentality into the offseason.

During Canucks development camp, Alriksson said he reached a goal he set out for himself and is now weighing in just a hair over 235 pounds.

He credits the added weight to his extra time in the weight room with the Guelph Storm and his billet family for consistently making him his favourite meal; steak and potatoes.

Alriksson also found some offensive success during his first season in North America. After scoring 12 goals and adding nine assists for 21 points in 43 games at the J20 Nationell league in Sweden during his draft year, Alriksson put up 17 goals and 16 assists for 33 points in his first OHL campaign with the Guelph Storm.

Moving from the Swedish J20 League to the OHL is a large jump in the competition level but Alriksson found a lot of comfort in the change. When looking back at his season, the big man wanted to see more consistency but was ultimately pleased with his first year in North America.

“It’s been an adjustment and I have had some ups and downs, but overall, I think it was a good year. I just tried to enjoy every moment because the season went by so fast,” said Alriksson.

“When you produce, you get more confidence, but I went through some stretches where I didn’t score anything, and it can get into your head. Last season was a year where I started working on my mental game a lot.”

Now, with an OHL season under his belt, the 19-year-old is set to hit the ground running and play a significant role with the Storm for the 2024-25 season.

"I know what’s to come and I know what to expect every day,” said Alriksson. “I think it will be another good season next year.”

Alriksson scored seven goals on the power play as the net-front presence and worked on some of those stick and body placement techniques at Canucks development camp with Mikael Samuelsson and Manny Malhotra as well as Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

Alriksson, or ‘Ricky Bobby’ as he is known in Guelph, is set to continue to build on his rookie season in the OHL and will continue to work towards making a push to play games in the AHL in the coming years.

With the support of development coaches Samuelsson and Mike Komisarek, Alriksson always has a place to go for advice and guidance and the group is working on helping Alriksson improve on the ice and between the ears.

“It's a lot of fun working with all these good development coaches,” said Alriksson. “You get a lot of feedback from them and it's good for me to develop a lot.”

Consistency is a focus for the youngster as he prepares for his sophomore year in the OHL. The added work on the mental side of the game will support the big forward as he looks to take another step in his development and become a high-end OHL player who thrives around the net with his 6’6”, now 235-pound body.