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2020 Canucks Top 25 Under 25: Players Who Missed the Cut

Maybe next year, fellas.

Channel One Cup: Finland 5 - 1 Sweden
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 14, 2019: Finland’s Petrus Palmu celebrates his team’s victory in the 2019/20 Euro Hockey Tour Channel One Cup ice hockey match against Sweden at CSKA Arena.
Photo by Mikhail Tereshchenko\TASS via Getty Images

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.

Following the 2020 NHL Draft, the Canucks had 38 eligible players for our Top 25 Under 25 countdown.

If you’ve kept up with us so far, we’re on the verge of listing the top five. Before we get to that, however, let’s take a look at the 13 players who missed the cut.

#38. Matthew Thiessen

Position: Goalie
Birthdate: June 9th, 2000 (20)
Acquired via: 2018 NHL Draft (7th round, #192 overall)
2019-20 NCAA Stats: 1 GP, 25.59 GAA, .500 save percentage
2020-21 Team: University of Maine, 4GP, 4.36 GAA, .881 S%, 0-1-3

Matthew Thiessen barely played last season during his rookie year at the University of Maine. Boston Bruins 2017 fourth-round pick Jeremy Swayman stole the majority of Maine’s starts, leaving Thiessen with just one appearance. However, Thiessen will get a chance to actually play some games this season, and he’s begun the season as Maine’s starting goaltender.

#37. Dmitri Zhukenov

Position: Centre
Birthdate: March 24th, 1997 (23)
Acquired via: 2015 NHL Draft (4th round, #114 overall)
2019-20 VHL Stats: 52 GP, 15-11-26
2020-21 Team: Gornyak Uchaly (VHL). 36 GP, 7-15-22

This crafty Russian centre had one 15-game stint in the KHL back in 2017-18, producing one assist in 15 games. Dmitri Zhukenov has failed to make it back since, although he is producing at a higher rate in the VHL as a first-year Assistant Captain with Gornyak Uchaly.

#36. Artyom Manukyan

Position: Right Wing
Birthdate: June 9th, 1998 (22)
Acquired via: 2018 NHL Draft (6th round, #186th overall)
2019-20 KHL Stats: 7 GP, 2-1-3
2020-21 Team: Metallurg Novokuznetsk (VHL), 16GP, 2-2-4

Injuries derailed the 2019-20 season for the diminutive Manukyan, which is a shame because he showed enough promise to stick around in the KHL full-time in his Draft +1 season. He’s played the entirety of the 2020-21 season down in the VHL, but he’s still managed to miss time due to injury.

#35. Ethan Keppen

Position: Left Wing
Birthdate: March 20th, 2001 (19)
Acquired via: 2019 NHL Draft (4th round, #122 overall)
2019-20 OHL Stats: 44 GP, 16-13-29
2020-21 Team: Flint Firebirds (presumably)

The selection of Ethan Keppen was widely applauded back in 2019. Keppen is a big body who managed to put up 30 goals in 68 games with the Flint Firebirds when he was drafted. However, as the Firebirds improved in the standings in ‘19-20, Keppen’s production stagnated.

The 2021 season will be telling for Keppen, and there’s an opportunity for an increased role with a handful of the Firebirds top scorers aging out of the OHL since the end of last season.

#34. Arturs Silovs

Position: Goalie
Birthdate: March 22nd, 2001 (19)
Acquired via: 2019 NHL Draft (6th round, #156 overall)
2019-20 OHL Stats: 36GP, 3.87 GAA, .891 SV%, 16-13-4
2020-21 Team: Barrie Colts, OHL (presumably)

There seems to be some growing hype around Canucks prospect Artus Silovs. Part of the reason is that he is adored by goaltending guru Ian Clark. Another is that he had a standout performance internationally for Latvia in the 2020 Deutschland Cup.

Silovs is currently in Vancouver, and he has an outside chance of joining the taxi-squad if the Canucks decide to send Michael DiPietro back to Utica for the 2021 season. The most likely scenario for Silovs though, is that he joins the Barrie Colts for a second season.

One more fun fact about Silovs. The Latvian native is the only OHL player I’ve ever heard of who’s married.

#33. Jake Kielly

Position: Goalie
Birthdate: September 16th, 1996 (24)
Acquired via: Signed by the Canucks on April 1st, 2019
2019-20 ECHL Stats: 24 GP, 3.97 GAA, .887 SV%, 7-11-4
2020-21 Team: Utica Comets (presumably)

The Eden Prairie, Minnesota native is also at Canucks training camp right now. And he’ll likely enter the season as either Utica’s back-up or starting goaltender, based on what the Canucks decide to do with DiPietro. Although he posted mundane numbers in the ECHL last season, he was solid in his two appearances for Utica (1-0, 1.84 GAA, .923 SV%).

While he gets the nod on our list ahead of Silovs, that’s mainly based on age. Between the two goaltending prospects (and three including Thiessen) Silovs is the Canucks prospect to watch in net moving forward.

Michigan Tech v Michigan State
Mitch Eliot #52 of the Michigan State Spartans follows the play against the Michigan Tech Huskies during game one of the Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament on day one at Little Caesars Arena on January 1, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Huskies defeated the Spartans 5-2.
Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

#32. Mitch Eliot

Position: Defence
Birthdate: February 6th, 1998 (22)
Acquired via: Signed by the Canucks on December 14th, 2018
2019-20 AHL Stats: 27 GP, 2-3-5
2020-21 Team: Utica Comets

Mitch Eliot was solid as a rookie defensive defenceman during his first season with the Utica Comets. He posted strong underlying numbers despite a lack of offence. Eliot could see an increased role with the Comets this season depending on what happens with the taxi squad.

#31. Dmitri Zlodeyev

Position: Centre
Birthdate: February 15th, 2002 (18)
Acquired via: 2020 NHL Draft (6th round, #175 overall)
2019-20 MHL (Russian Jr. League) Stats: 42 GP, 12-16-28
2020-21 Team: Dynamo Krasnogorsk (VHL), 16 GP, 5-0-5.

Dmitri Zlodeyev, Dmitri Zhukenov...we promise that these names aren’t made up!

Zlodeyev’s 2020-21 season has gotten off to a strong start. He earned a promotion from the MHL to the VHL (Russia’s AHL equivalent), and he impressed with five goals in 16 games.

Although he’s a centre who plays in all situations, he doesn’t necessarily excel in one area. TSN’s Craig Button recently compared him to Dallas’s Radek Faska, a first-round pick in 2012.

#30. Jack Malone

Position: Right Wing
Birthdate: October 13th, 2000 (20)
Acquired via: 2019 NHL Draft (6th round, 180th overall)
2019-20 NCAA Stats: 27 GP, 2-6-8
2020-21 Team: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

Jack Malone finds himself in a precarious situation currently. He’s back in the USHL where he played for two seasons prior to last year, after Cornell University canceled the 2020-21 season because of COVID-19.

He was solid in his draft year, finishing 14th in the USHL with 59 points in 57 games, before played in a reduced role as a freshman for Cornell last season.

#29. Jackson Kunz

Position: Centre
Birthdate: August 13th, 2002 (18)
Acquired via: 2020 NHL Draft (4th round, #113 overall)
2019-20 USHS-Prep Stats: 45 GP, 40-29-69
2020-21 Team: Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)

Both prospects experts on the Nucks Misconduct voting panel had Jackson Kunz cracking the Top 25 Under 25 (Fan2Abby, #25, Daniel Gee, #24). Daniel in particular has watched a lot of Kunz recently.

As Daniel and other scouts have noted, foot speed is the biggest issue for the talented, burly forward (6-3, 212 pounds). We’ll get a better idea of how he can handle tougher competition when he joins the University of North Dakota in 2021-22.

#28. Victor Persson

Position: Defence
Birthdate: November 7th, 2001 (19)
Acquired via: 2020 NHL Draft (7th round, #191 overall)
2019-20 J20 Superelit (Sweden Jr.) Stats: 26 GP, 5-13-18
2020-21 Team: Brynas IF J20 (J20 Nationell) 16 GP, 5-4-9

Drafted as an overage by one year, Persson’s performance this season has almost gone perfectly. He’s had a strong showing on the junior circuit, and earned a call-up to the SHL (playing one game so far).

The only thing that would have made it better would have been a spot on Sweden’s World Junior team. Persson was one of the final cuts before the team traveled to Edmonton.

#27. Petrus Palmu

Position: Right Wing
Birthdate: July 16th, 1997 (23)
Acquired via: 2017 NHL Draft (6th round, #181 overall)
2019-20 Liiga Stats: 47 GP, 13-22-35
2020-21 Team: ERC Ingolstadt (DEL) 5 GP, 0-0-0

Perhaps the most recognizable name on this list, diminutive Finnish forward Petrus Palmu appears to be done in the Canucks organization.

You know it’s over when our own Fan2Abby stops tracking him.

It’s a shame in some sense, as Palmu’s development was seemingly botched while he was in Utica. One could argue that he wasn’t ready for the AHL, but he was largely a healthy scratch in Utica, despite playing in an arguably tougher league, the Finnish Liiga, during the previous season.

After signing his Entry-Level Contract with the Canucks in the 2018 offseason, he was quickly loaned back to Finland after a rocky relationship with the Comets. Now, he’s been loaned to a German team in the DEL.

#26. Karel Plasek

Position: Right Wing
Birthdate: July 28th, 2000 (20)
Acquired via: 2019 NHL Draft (6th round, #175 overall)
2019-20 Czech League Stats: 33 GP, 3-3-6
2020-21 Team: HC Kometa Brno (Czech), 23 GP, 3-3-6

The last Canucks prospect to miss the cut on our Top 25 Under 25 list, Karel Plasek has quietly had success over in the Czech Republic's top league. He’s largely played on Kometa Brno’s top line, on a team that boasts former NHLers Jakub Klepis and former 2006 8th overall selection, Peter Mueller. Last season, Plasek also played on a line with former Montreal Canadiens centre Tomas Plekanec.

He’s continued to pry his trade in the Czech Republic, and he could make the transition to the AHL for the 2021-22 season.

Catch up on the rest of our 2020 edition of the Canucks Top 25 Under 25 list.