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.
Not since the arrival of Elias Pettersson on the shores of False Creek has a player turned up on the West Coast with such a high level of hype.
Will he be the real deal like Petey or flop like Jonathan Dahlen did? Only time will tell.
But, he is off to a flying start. Captain Bo Horvat certainly approves.
"He's really, fast, shifty, really smart with the puck. It was really fun to skate with him," said Bo Horvat on playing with Nils Hoglander. #Canucks— David Quadrelli (@QuadreIli) January 4, 2021
Travis Green caused a stir on the first day of NHL training camp by putting the talented Tre Kronor product on the de-facto second line with Horvat and Tanner Pearson. He did not look out of place.
Some Pearson-Horvat-Hoglander for your feeds. pic.twitter.com/0nf4EwIqEH— Faber (@ChrisFaber39) January 4, 2021
Hoglander turned 20 years old a few days before Christmas. He has a leg up on his competition for a roster spot having played 23 games this season already for Rogle of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) in his third season of suiting up against men. He managed to tally up 5 goals and 9 assists for 14 points in the SHL prior to leaving Sweden to attend training camp. His season highlight reel includes this between the legs crease crosser.
His skating edgework is reminiscent of Quinn Hughes. His shiftiness and high offensive IQ are a joy to watch.
The tricks and hand-eye are what excites most fans about Nils Hoglander, but watching this training camp session it’s really the lateral speed that gives him a shot at making noise at this camp.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) January 4, 2021
I don’t read much into what I see in drills on Day 1, but his edges are incredible.
His offensive numbers have improved each year in the SHL. While his Swedish head coach has cautioned that he still has work to do on the defensive side of his game, it appears he may have played his last game in the SHL.
What’s next for Hoglander?
It appears Travis Green is seriously considering him as a possible replacement for the departed Tyler Toffoli in the Canucks’ top-six forward group. If he can show Green that his defence is at least adequate right now and he can exhibit a willingness to learn on the job, do not be surprised if he lines up on the right side of either Horvat or Elias Pettersson on opening night.
If he does not get chosen for the top six group yet, he may still land a bottom-six slot on the team. The taxi squad is also a possibility.
With the AHL now an apparent go starting in February, he could end up there to get seasoning in the North American style of play.
A return to the SHL also might happen but I think it is unlikely.
I do not think Travis Green will be able to resist inserting him into his top-six forward group. Hoglander is a special player. I think the most likely outcome for Nils Hoglander is that he becomes the Vancouver Canucks’ fourth straight Calder Trophy finalist this season.
- Notable Omissions: The “Old Men”
- #25: Jacob Truscott
- #24: Carson Focht
- #23: Toni Utunen
- #22: Jonah Gadjovich
- #21: Linus Karlsson
- #20: Jalen Chatfield
- #19: Arvid Costmar
- #18: Joni Jurmo
- #17: Will Lockwood
- #16: Lukas Jasek
- #15: Aidan McDonagh
- #14: Guillaume Brisebois
- #13: Jett Woo
- #12: Kole Lind
- #11: Olli Juolevi
- #10: Zack MacEwen
- #9: Michael DiPietro
- #8: Jack Rathbone
- #7: Jake Virtanen