It is a strange time in the hockey world as there are simultaneously pre-season, regular season, and playoff games being played on any given day. That is without even considering the uncertainty around the world with COVID-19.
With everything going on, it can be hard to keep track of what's happening with an organization's prospects. So, with that in mind, it's time for an update on what some of the Canucks prospects have been up to and what to expect from them over the next few months.
Podkolzin had a fantastic second half and playoffs last season and has picked up right where he left off. In five regular season games thus far, Podkolzin has scored one goal and added another assist. This production has come with him seeing regular shifts on the fourth line.
His line was a force for SKA during the playoffs last year and although they are announced as the fourth line, they are playing an important role for the team this season. To start last year, Podkolzin was getting a handful of shifts at the KHL level before being assigned to the second division. Thus far this season, he is seeing regular shifts and averaging 11:47 per game.
What has really stood out about his play this year is that everything that he has done well in the past seems to be turned into overdrive. Driving the net with the puck, using his big frame to protect the puck and create lanes for himself in transition, and an underrated passing game.
The Canucks 2nd selection at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Nils Hoglander is another player that Canucks fans have a keen interest in following. The Swedish winger signed an entry level contract with the Canucks earlier this summer and was expected to start his North American career this fall. But given that the NHL is still completing the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Hoglander was loaned back to his SHL club to start this campaign.
Like Podkolzin, Hoglander is looking to take a big step forward this season and so far, the early returns are encouraging. In seven pre-season games, Hoglander has eight points, which includes two goals this past Friday morning.
The forward depth on his club, Rogle BK, likely means that Hoglander will play a middle six role for them, but should see some powerplay time.
The SHL regular season kicks off for Rogle on September 19th and they will see some action in the Champions Hockey League in November.
With no announced start to the AHL season yet, 23-year-old forward Lukas Jasek has been loaned to HC Ocelari Trinec in the Czech Republic. It is a familiar spot for the 2015 6th round pick as he saw games for that club between the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons.
This time around with the club should see him have an elevated role. In their most recent game, he lined up on the second line with Red Wings prospect Filip Zadina on the opposite wing. Jasek had the primary assist on Zadina's powerplay marker in that contest.
The regular season in the Czech Extraliga kicks off on September 17th and Trinec will participate in the Champions Hockey League as well.
One of the 'under the radar' prospects in the organization, Costmar had a fantastic season in the Swedish junior leagues last year.
This year, he is looking to secure a full-time role with Linkoping in the SHL and force himself onto the Swedish World Juniors. He had was great in the friendlies that the U20 Swedish roster played in August, displaying a responsible two-way game.
Costmar is currently recovering from a suspected hand injury, but he is someone to keep an eye on this season. He may very well be a big part of Sweden's World Juniors team this December.
Linus Karlsson was traded in the Allsvenskan (Swedish 2nd division) last season and exploded offensively to close out last season. In 12 games with BIK Karlkoga to close out 2019-20, Karlsson scored six goals and added 12 assists.
It's not fair to expect that same level of production from him this year but it should allow Canucks fans to be cautiously optimistic about his upcoming season with the same club.
If the centre can improve his skating, he may be able to continue to make an impact in Sweden and then make the jump over to the AHL in a year or two.