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Canucks Prospects Update: European young guns

...a look at Canucks prospects excelling over seas

by Ryan Biech @ryanbiech / Freelance writer

Across the pond we go to check in on some Canucks prospects in Europe.

Despite the players flying under the radar a bit, there are some interesting storylines for the players plying their trade across Europe.

With all European prospects, organizations can be a little more patient with them. When simply looking at their point totals, it can seem like they aren't making an impact but more often than not, these prospects even being regulars in the various professional leagues is a great sign.

Petrus Palmu

9 GP - 2G - 4A - 6PT

The 2017 6th round pick moved over to Finland in early December hoping to get a regular role with TPS. He was immediately inserted into their top six and exploded out of the gate with five points in his first five Liiga games of the season. Palmu has slowed down a bit recently, but did post another assist in their last game on Wednesday.

He is averaging 17:42 of ice time per game.

Top 2019 draft prospect Kaapo Kakko returned from the World Juniors recently and was placed as the second line centre for TPS with Palmu on his wing. The two appear to have some early chemistry and it will hopefully lead to Palmu putting up some points.

Palmu is the reigning Rookie of the Year for Liiga, so it's clear that he can be a consistent offensive threat at that level and will look to take a step forward in the second half of this season.

Toni Utunen

23 GP - 0G - 1A - 1 PT

Toni Utunen returned to Liiga after helping Finland win a gold medal at the World Juniors. He has appeared in two games since playing here in Vancouver as the seventh defenceman for Tappara.

This is the same role that he had prior to representing his country but he has seen his ice-time slightly increase in early December and now in January. He was consistently playing under 10 minutes during October and November, but hasn't been under that mark in the five Liiga games that he's played since December 1st.

Utunen is seeing some penalty kill time to go along with his five-on-five ice time.

Just being a regular in the lineup is an encouraging sign for any player of his age in Finland and he should see his role grow next season. Ideally, you'd see some more offensive production from Utunen, but he doesn't shy away from carrying the puck out of the zone or jumping into the rush and also doesn't put himself in situations where he will get caught.

Artyom Manukyan

52 GP - 3G - 10A - 13PT

After starting the season really hot on the second line for Avangard Omsk, Manukyan has been snake bit ever since. He has been consistently in the lineup for them, but has seen his role slightly decrease with each passing week.

He has still been displaying that the things that stand out about his game - the speed, tenacity, and soft hands. But he hasn't been able to get the production that he was hoping for.

Measuring in at 5'7", it was always going to be a big battle for him, but he showed early in the season that he can produce, he just needs to get that confidence back.

Kristoffer Gunnarsson

24 GP - 1G - 1A - 2PT

The 2017 5th round pick was loaned to Linkoping in the SHL on December 3rd.

He wasn't getting into the lineup anymore for Frolunda, so thus the move over to another team. His ice-time skyrocketed in the first few games with Linkoping as it appeared that they were going to be leaning on him a bit more. That TOI dipped in the last few games but earlier today he was on the first pairing for them.

He isn't a defenceman that will put up huge points but skates well and is willing to be physical whenever needed. Landing with Linkoping is a great chance for him to get some more minutes in and gain confidence after struggling to see the ice with Frolunda for the better part of the last two years.

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