Welcome to the Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings, the series that makes you wish you were under 25 again. The list includes all players born after January 1st, 1996. Five staff writers (Beggsy, Westy, CanucksAbbyFan2, Trevor Connors, Markus Meyer) and one former staff writer (Daniel Gee, Elite Prospects) cast votes for the project.
In 2005 the NHL reduced the number of rounds in its Entry Draft from nine to seven. From 2005 until the Vancouver Canucks chose Arvid Costmar in 2019, only one of their 7th round picks ever suited up for the blue-and-green in a regular NHL season game. 2005 pick center Mario Bliznak had that dubious honour. His tenure lasted only six games but he did manage to join the ‘elite’ one-goal-in-my-NHL-career club.
Under general manager Jim Benning’s regime, the seventh inning strikeouts continued from 2014-2017 with draft day misfires Mackenze Stewart, Tate Olson, Brett McKenzie and Matt Brassard. The jury is still out on their 2018 late pick goalie Matthew Thiessen and their 2020 last young man chosen defenceman Viktor Persson. Thiessen is off to a very good start this season as the number one goalie for the NCAA’s University of Maine Black Bears. Persson recently was one of the final cuts by Sweden’s 2021 World Junior Championship tournament entry falling just short of selection.
At the time the Canucks selected Costmar as the third last player chosen in the entire 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he had just finished his second season in the Swedish J20 SuperElit junior (re-named this season as the J20 Nationell) league. In 88 regular season games over two seasons, he had put up a respectable 19 goals and 60 points but nothing that would suggest he was worthy of an NHL team using one of its valuable allotted seven choices on him.
Then in his third year with Linkoping’s teenagers, he exploded for 26 goals and 50 points in just 29 games for a point per game average of 1.72. It now suddenly looked like the Canucks’ scouting department had a potential draft steal on its hands. While Costmar had represented Sweden in international hockey since his early teens, he now was a serious candidate to play on their pinnacle 2020 World Junior Championship team. He came close to making the squad but ended up not being chosen to be on their roster.
This season Costmar has earned a regular spot on Linkoping’s SHL professional team. He has so far only scored two goals in 24 SHL games over two seasons.
He managed to unload his deadly accurate wrist shot for his first pro goal last season during an eight game cup of coffee in the SHL.
SMACK! Första SHL-målet för Costmar @LHChockey #twittpuck #shl pic.twitter.com/KFJDnRVUAg— C More Sport (@cmoresport) February 15, 2020
This season in the SHL, he started out as a healthy scratch or 13th forward garnering little or no ice time. He was sent back to the junior league during some SHL off days to get some playing time in so he would not get too rusty. In three junior games he scored once and added five assists for six points. It soon became pretty clear he had nothing left to learn in the teenager circuit.
He scored his second pro goal this season by deflecting a point shot past the opposition goalie.
Arvid Costmar with his first of the SHL season on the deflection. #Canucks https://t.co/AsLdUMfNx6— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) November 26, 2020
In his last five SHL games this season, he has established himself as a regular fourth line right winger getting fourth line minutes plus first penalty kill unit time. He is now averaging almost twelve minutes of ice time per game.
It appears to only be a matter of time before he is moved back to his natural center spot and starts getting top six forward minutes and some playing time on Linkoping’s power play. But it is his penalty killing prowess that was cited by Team Sweden’s World Junior Championship (WJC) head coach Tomas Monten as a top reason for his selection to Sweden’s WJC roster for 2021.
Monten on Costmar : Strong centre who moves the puck and works hard. Last 7-8 games he has been really good, good on the pk. @TSN1040— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) December 3, 2020
My take from watching Costmar play a number of times since the Canucks drafted him is that he is very skilled offensively, intelligent defensively and also a top notch penalty killer. He is an above average skater and a very good passer and has an accurate missile of a wrist shot. I project him to be a potential number three NHL center with upside to number two. He can also play both wings and his versatility is another positive for him moving forward with his hockey career.
Arvid Costmar utökar ledningen för Sverige. #J20gifs #lhchockey #Canucks pic.twitter.com/fu7eqGnSw1— Anton (@antonj85) August 28, 2020
Arvid Costmar gör mål, assisterad av Noel Gunler. #J20gifs #LHF #lhchockey #Canucks #NHLDraft2020 pic.twitter.com/3absx4C8qP— Anton (@antonj85) August 28, 2020
What’s Next for Costmar?
He is currently in Canada at the Edmonton bubble. On the two refueling stops during the long overseas plane trip, it appears he had at least one sing-a-long with Canucks’ Russian prospect Vasily Podkolzin.
#Canucks Podkolzin and Costmar having a singing battle in https://t.co/p9qFwdk7j7— CanucksAbbyFan2 (@Fan2Abby) December 14, 2020
He was projected to be a third or fourth line center and top penalty killer on Sweden’s WJC team. The Tre Kronor roster though has been heavily hit by Covid-19 deletions even striking out head coach Monten.
Team Sweden's head coach Tomas Montén is the latest person at the Swedish camp to be infected with Covid-19 (..which means he will miss the tournament) https://t.co/Lmp8C23L4K— Eliteprospects (@eliteprospects) December 8, 2020
If Costmar can steer clear of the coronavirus, it looks now like he will have a larger role on the team, playing in its top six forward group and also perhaps getting some power play work.
Once he returns to play again for Linkoping’s SHL club, look for him to move up in their line-up and continue to increase his earned ice time. Next season, if he becomes a regular top six forward in the SHL and produces good offensive numbers and continues with his strong defensive play, look for the Canucks to try and sign him to an NHL Entry Level Contract with a view to him playing in the AHL to start the 2022/23 hockey season.
With countries finalizing rosters this morning, looks like the only 2 #Canucks prospects set to be at the 2021 World Jr’s in Edmonton are forwards Vasili Podkolzin & Arvid Costmar.— Joey Kenward (@kenwardskorner) December 12, 2020
3rd time for Podkolzin representing at the WJC while Cosmtar makes his tournament debut for . pic.twitter.com/iS4HiPNQzh