The Vancouver Canucks will be entrusting much of their success this year to young players, but fans of the team will have to wait at least one more year for a look at Olli Juolevi, the fifth-overall selection from 2016. The team announced today that they’ll be sending Juolevi back to Finland for this season to play for TPA Turku, where former Canuck Sami Salo is an assistant coach.
With Pierre-Luc Dubois set to make his debut this week with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Juolevi will be the final player in the top-10 without an NHL game under his belt. The two-way defenseman could have gone back to the London Knights of the OHL, but Vancouver prefers him to play against professionals to continue his development.
- Still with the Canucks, the team has announced it will place Patrick Wiercioch on waivers tomorrow to make room for Derrick Pouliot who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier today. Wiercioch played 57 games with the Colorado Avalanche last season after several years in Ottawa, and was an early favorite for a spot on the Vancouver blueline. It will be interesting to see if anyone claims him, as he’s proven over the years he is at least capable of holding down a depth role in the NHL.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have decided something different with their prized European prospect, as Dhiren Mahiban is reporting that the team will keep 2017 first-round pick Timothy Liljegren in Toronto to play with the AHL Marlies. Liljegren could have returned to Sweden, but according to his agent it is a “very good situation” to continue working with the Maple Leafs’ development team. Liljegren showed better than expected in training camp, suiting up several times with the NHL club and not looking completely out of place. Though he still has trouble making the right decision at times, his skating looks every bit as excellent as promised. The AHL will be a daunting task for him, but the Maple Leafs staff can keep a closer eye on his development.