With the 10th Pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Vancouver Canucks Have Selected Vasily Podkolzin From St. Petersburgh of the MHL
About Vasily Podkolzin
The first player taken of the board from outside of North American, Vasily Podkolzin brings everything teams look for from a top-six winger. Both tangibly and intangibly, Podkolzin does it all. He does it all at high speeds as well and is more than capable of creating his own opportunities, finishing opportunities or creating opportunities for his teammates.
Offensively, Podkolzin brings it all and has the necessary tools to make an impact at the NHL level.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“Vasili Podkolzin is without a doubt one of the most polarizing prospects of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The 17-year-old’s raw skill is clear as day — that’s not up for debate. He can stickhandle in a phone booth, complete difficult plays at high speed and he has a dangerous shot. His speed is good, but not great, however, due to an engine that doesn’t quit, his compete level and physicality are not up for debate either. These reasons — combined with his frame and how he excelled at international tournaments this season — are what make him an enticing top-five, or even a potential top-three selection this June.
Podkolzin tallied eight goals and 11 points in just five games at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last summer (the U-18s) while captaining Russia to a bronze medal finish. He also co-led the World Junior A Challenge in scoring in December with eight points in six games and helped his country win a silver medal. Most impressively, the winger surprisingly made the cut for Russia’s World Junior Championships squad, tallying three assists in seven games for a coach (Valeri Bragin) who usually shies away from using younger players at all.
There are two reasons some scouts are lower on Podkolzin: his underwhelming point totals with his club teams and a tendency to sometimes let his emotions get the best of him.
Over the course of the 2018-19 season, Podkolzin has played in three different leagues in Russia, none for more than 21 games.
He began in the highest junior league in Russia in September, the MHL, where he posted five goals and seven points in 10 games. He has since played two more games in the MHL (in January), bringing his total to eight points in 12 games, which is not very impressive for a potential top-five pick. Podkolzin also went pointless in three games in the KHL, playing once in November and twice in January, but received a grand total of 10:31 in the three games combined.
That’s why he has spent the majority of the season in Russia’s second-tier men’s league, the VHL, where he averaged 12:18 in 14 games in the regular season and most recently just 7:48 in seven playoff games. In those 21 combined games, Podkolzin has recorded three goals and three assists. While his lack of production can at least somewhat be attributed to playing on so many teams in such a brief time period, at the end of the day it doesn’t help his stock.
The second knock on Podkolzin is that he can get carried away at times when he is frustrated and tries to do too much. This can also lead to ill-advised penalties. Yes, he’s still very young, but when he tries to make it a one-man show and doesn’t use his teammates properly, it can lead to turnovers and goals against. With maturity and good coaching, this can certainly be easily fixed.”
How This Affects the Canucks Plans
The Vancouver Canucks made their home-town fans happy when they took a potential top-five pick with the 10th overall selection. The Canucks have a blend of veterans – many of whom are overpaid, and young stars who all have face-of-the-franchise type skill-sets. Podkolzin adds to the latter while complementing the former.
Podkolzin is as close to NHL-ready as it gets in this draft class but he’ll still have time to develop overseas before jumping to the Canucks. A good two-way player with an affinity for puck protection, Podkolzin is a well-rounded pick here.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.