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10 Canucks prospects to watch at Young Stars

From Aatu Räty to Dmitry Zlodeyev, some of the most interesting Canucks prospects to keep an eye on this weekend.
Aatu Räty is one of the Vancouver Canucks' top prospects to watch at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton this weekend.

For the first time in five months, it's a Vancouver Canucks game day.

The Canucks' prospects are in Penticton for the annual Young Stars tournament to take on the prospects from the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, and Edmonton Oilers on Friday, Sunday, and Monday. Even if you can't make it up to Penticton, however, you can still catch the games, as the Canucks intend to stream them on their YouTube channel.

It's a great opportunity for Canucks fans to see the team's prospects in action and see how they match up against the top prospects for other teams. But there are a few prospects I'll be keeping closer eye on than others.

I've already covered the four undrafted and unsigned invitees on the Canucks roster — Braeden Bowman seems particularly intriguing — but here are ten prospects already in the Canucks' system that I'll be watching closely this weekend.

1 | Aatu Räty

Räty was the key component of the Bo Horvat trade last season and the Canucks are hoping he'll play a major role in the team's future. The 20-year-old centre already has 15 games of NHL experience, so should be one of the top players at the Young Stars tournament.

2 | Arshdeep Bains

The Canucks love Bains, who has become a sort of poster child for their development efforts in the AHL. He adapted his game from being the top scorer in the WHL to finding a niche in the professional game as a high-motor, disruptive presence while providing some secondary scoring. He could see NHL games this year.

3 | Danila Klimovich

It's been a rocky road for Klimovich after coming over to North America to play in the AHL at just 18 years old, but he's shown flashes of becoming the goalscoring power forward the Canucks believe he can be. The chaotic environment of a prospect tournament should give Klimovich's raw talents a chance to shine.

4 | Aidan McDonough

McDonough turns 24 in less than two months, so will be among the older players at the Young Stars tournament. Accordingly, McDonough should be a standout performer for the Canucks, just as he was for Northeastern University in the NCAA.

5 | Akito Hirose

Hirose impressed with his poise in his brief NHL audition last season. He's also 24 years old, so will practically be a veteran presence in Penticton. If he hopes to make the Canucks out of training camp, this is where his campaign will begin.

6 | Filip Johansson

While Johansson may have been a bust for the Minnesota Wild, who selected him 24th overall in 2018, he can maybe still be a contributor for the Canucks. This tournament will be a good opportunity for the 23-year-old right-shot defenceman to ingratiate himself to his new team and prove that he could still have an NHL future.

7 | Hunter Brzustewicz

Brzustewicz doesn't just have a difficult-to-pronounce last name, he also has a compelling transition game that ought to make him fun to watch at the Young Stars tournament. He's an agile skater and a deceptive passer but needed to add more explosiveness to his skating stride. We'll see if he's done that over the summer.

8 | Josh Bloom

One of the more intriguing Canucks prospects on the Young Stars roster is Josh Bloom, primarily because he's brand new to the organization. He came to the Canucks in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres last season and he's got eye-catching speed that should make him one of the team's more dangerous players in Penticton.

9 | Nikita Tolopilo

The Canucks signed Tolopilo out of Sweden last season and the 6'6" goaltender is a real wild card in the Canucks' system. He was one of the top goaltenders in the HockeyAllsvenskan with a .924 save percentage and the 23-year-old is aiming at an NHL job in short order. It's tough for a goaltender to shine at the Young Stars tournament, but Tolopilo might be able to manage it.

10 | Dmitry Zlodeyev

It was somewhat surprising to see Zlodeyev listed on the Canucks' Young Stars roster because he signed a two-year contract with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk in the KHL this summer and the KHL season has already started. There are rumours that his KHL contract has been terminated, so there's plenty of intrigue surrounding his attendance at camp.

What's going on with his contract situation? Will he play in North America this season? If he's angling for an NHL contract, he could use a strong Young Stars performance to impress the Canucks' brass.