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Young Stars 3 Stars: Linus Karlsson scores two goals but Canucks fall to Oilers

Karlsson's two-goal effort for the Vancouver Canucks was spoiled by five goals from the Edmonton Oilers.
Linus Karlsson Canucks Twitter
Linus Karlsson has been one of the best prospects for the Vancouver Canucks at the 2022 Young Stars Classic

The Young Stars Classic didn’t end on a high note for the Vancouver Canucks, who lost 5-2 to the Edmonton Oilers in their final game.

The results are not the point at a prospects tournament like this one, however. What management, coaches, and fans are looking for is individual performances as they look to evaluate prospects in the system and invitees looking for a contract.

So, let’s take stock of the best performances from the Canucks prospects against the Oilers.

Third Star: Danila Klimovich

While Danila Klimovich didn’t hit the scoresheet, it wasn’t for lack of trying. He was at his best in the first period. He had a great chance off a Chase Wouters rebound after Jett Woo stole a puck and sparked the transition opportunity.

He then set up Justin Gill for another great chance with a savvy pass off the boards.

Midway through the first period, he bolted out of the zone for a breakaway, but again couldn’t beat goaltender Ryan Fanti.

It wasn’t a perfect game for Klimovich, by any means. Beyond not being able to capitalize on his chances, he also had a bad turnover in his own zone, trying to force a pass into the slot instead of making the safer play to his man on the boards.

Klimovich also had a careless hooking penalty at 4-on-4, giving the Oilers a dangerous 4-on-3 power play. Still, a lot of positives for Klimovich even if he still has some raw edges to his game that need to be filed down.

Second Star: Nils Åman

Nils Åman has been consistently solid for the Canucks at the Young Stars Classic. He’s certainly not flashy but he’s smart, moves the puck with crisp passes, and goes to the right places on the ice. He looks like someone who could play some big minutes on a line with Karlsson in Abbotsford.

Åman was effective on the forecheck in this game, even creating a shorthanded chance for the Canucks in the first period. Penalty killing will need to become a key part of his game for him to reach the NHL.

This was just another quietly consistent game for Åman and he picked up an assist on one of the Canucks’ two goals. He might never wow you at any point, but he could turn into a nice low-event fourth-line centre for the Canucks in the future. 

First Star: Linus Karlsson

Linus Karlsson has been one of the Canucks’ best players in this tournament and he was once again heavily involved in the team’s offence on the top line with Nils Åman and Arshdeep Bains.

Karlsson had a great chance to open the scoring in the second period on a wraparound but was stopped by a desperation stick by James Hamblin.

After the Oilers had made it 2-0, Karlsson got the Canucks on the board after a penalty expired. Quinn Schmiemann made a great play to keep the puck in at the blue line, then found Nils Åman cross-ice. A quick pass to a waiting Karlsson in the slot made it 2-1.

Karlsson then made it 2-2 in the third period with a cheeky bank shot from a bad angle. He spotted a gap on the short side and took advantage.

I’m still worried about his skating and how it will hold up as the games get faster but right now he looks good.

Additional observations:

  • Tristen Nielsen continues to catch the eye every time he steps on the ice. Against the Oilers, he was physical but also made things happen with the puck. He keeps his head up, makes smart passes, and goes to the right areas of the ice. The physicality, of course, is hard to ignore, like this time he trucked Schaefer.
  • Quinn Schmiemann picked up the second assist on Karlsson's first goal and overall played a decent two-way game on defence. 
  • Arshdeep Bains wasn’t as impactful as his first game of the tournament, but he still played well and made an impact physically.
  • I thought Connor Lockhart had a scrappy game for the Canucks and was unlucky to have his second-period goal overturned. I still have no idea why this goal was waved off. Nice pass from Max Namestnikov too.
  • This was a rough game for Chad Nychuk, who was victimized on two of the Oilers’ goals — a shorthanded goal by Dylan Holloway and a nifty backhand goal by Cole Dubinsky. He has a tough task ahead of him as he adjusts to defending in the AHL. Hopefully, he’s up for that task.
  • Arturs Silovs didn’t play all that poorly, but you can’t give a goaltender one of the three stars of the game when he gets four goals scored on him — the fifth was an empty-netter. Still, it wasn’t all his fault. One puck deflected and did a rainbow over his head and into the net behind him — a complete fluke. He also didn’t have the best defending in front of him.