From NHL Draft pick to an NHL contract faster than anyone might have imagined, 2019 sixth-round pick Arturs Silovs has signed his entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks, the team announced. The Latvian goaltender was selected 156th overall, a late stage in the draft in which some selections never even receive NHL offers, but seemingly has impressed enough to earn a shot right away and is likely on his way to North America.
Silovs, 18, was under contract with the KHL’s Dinamo Riga, based in his hometown and Latvia’s capital city, but did not see any action. Instead, Silovs played seven games with Dinamo’s affiliate in the minor league MHL and another 20 games with HS Riga of the Latvian pro league. Silovs fared much better against similar-aged competition in the MHL, posting a .920 save percentage and 2.45 GAA. He got another shot at that level of play at the U-18 World Junior Championships as well, in which he recorded a .918 save percentage and 3.32 GAA in five games for Team Latvia.
Silovs largely flew under the radar during the pre-draft process, but there is a lot to like about his performance against equal competition, as well as his impressive (and still growing) 6’4”, 200+ lb. frame. While the Canucks were able to wait until the sixth round to grab him, Silovs’ stock was much higher in the subsequent CHL Import Draft. Silovs was selected 11th overall by the OHL’s Barrie Colts and could very well be headed to the club next season. However, Silovs is also eligible to jump immediately into the AHL/ECHL, as has become a more popular move of late with young European goaltenders. Yet, Silovs is now the seventh goalie under contract for the Canucks, making giving him play time even in the ECHL a major challenge. Odds are that the teen keeper will head to the junior level to begin a long development process under Vancouver’s watchful eye.