The Canucks selected Vasily Podkolzin with the 10th overall selection at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
The winger that plays a power-forward style game, bounced around a bunch of the leagues in Russia as well as representing his country multiple times throughout last season.
He is relentless everywhere on the ice seeming to never run out of energy. Measuring in at 6’1″ and 195 lbs, Podkolzin is particularly adept at protecting and maintaining control of the puck. He can have multiple opponents trying to engage and strip him of the puck, but he just seems to always come away with it.
The Russian winger isn’t afraid to get in on the forecheck, make hits and grind along the boards. But can really make an impact in transition using his speed and awareness to really push his opponents back.
There is so much to like about his game in terms of the process, work ethic, and offensive abilities that it’s no wonder that Podkolzin was in the conversation as a top five talent for almost the entire year.
When looking at his stats from this past season, it can create an unrealistic snapshot of what he can do.
In the MHL, which is the junior league in Russia, he put up eight goals and three assists in 15 games. He then appeared in 22 games in the VHL, which is the second tier professional league, that saw him register four goals and four assists. Lastly, he was able to appear in three KHL games, but failed to hit the scoresheet.
When you dive a bit deeper, there is are some things to explain those and actually show some encouraging underlying numbers.
In those three KHL games, Podkolzin was limited to an average time on ice of 3:30. So it’s not surprising that he wasn’t able to hit the score sheet.
In the VHL, he was averaging 12:18 of ice time per game. The biggest stat that stands out about his time there isn’t goals or assists, but he fact that he was never on the ice for a goal against at 5-on-5 play. It’s an impressive feat that illustrates how much of an impact he can have in all three zones.
He averaged 16:03 of ice time in the VHL contests and was able to produce when afforded that larger role. Podkolzin was part of the Russian team at the World Juniors this past winter.
Podkolzin played 22 games in U18 competition throughout the season producing 15 goals and 14 assists along the way. He was placed in top six roles with those teams and made an impact almost every single time he jumped over the boards. He was fantastic in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup to start the season where he scored eight goals and three assists in five games.
All the positive things to his game allowed him to thrive when playing against his peers.
The newest Canucks prospect will spend next season in the KHL and will look to secure a larger role with SKA St Petersburg.