4:25pm: Though there has still been no official word from the team, Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet reports that it will be just a four to six week recovery for Juolevi. Breathe deep Canucks fans, as that gives him plenty of time to be ready for the start of training camp.
12:22pm: The Vancouver Canucks have revealed that top prospect Olli Juolevi will undergo a microdiscectomy to correct a problem in his back, and will update on his recovery timeline afterwards. Zach Parise underwent a similarly-named surgery earlier this year, and was given a timeline of eight to ten weeks. He returned to the Minnesota Wild lineup exactly ten weeks later, which—if this surgery does not prove to be more intensive—should give Vancouver fans a sigh of relief as Juolevi prepares to try and make the team in 2018-19.
Juolevi went back to Finland this season to continue his development after being selected fifth-overall in 2016, but faced a bit of inconsistency for his club team. Not quite as dominant as he had been in the OHL, the young defenseman still performed well at the World Juniors and was expected to push for a spot on Vancouver’s blue line this year. Now he’ll have to deal with an injury that could rob him of most of the summer, affecting his training and potentially keeping him out of the team’s development camp entirely.
The Canucks aren’t expected to push for the playoffs next season but as Daniel and Henrik Sedin move on from their playing careers, the torch will be passed on to the next generation. Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Troy Stecher and others will carry that torch, but it’s unclear if Juolevi will get a turn this year. Injury isn’t starting it off well, but if he can prove he’s healthy and ready for training camp in September there’s no reason to think he couldn’t be in the lineup come opening night.