Welcome to the 2021 Edition of the Vancouver Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings. The list includes all players born after January 1st, 1997. Seven staff writers (Beggsy, Westy, Kent Basky, CanucksAbbyFan2, Markus Meyer, Noah Strang, Harsunder Singh H) and two outside writers (Daniel Gee & Cam Robinson) cast votes for the project.
Lanky Latvian netminder Arturs Silovs didn’t get many chances to impress during a bizarre 2021-21 campaign. When he did suit up though, he flashed an enticing potential that should have Canucks fans excited.
Silovs played nine games last season across five different leagues, reminding Canucks fans of the legend himself, Gary “Suitcase Smith. Despite being tossed from organization to organization like a hot potato, Silovs made the most of his opportunities. And, despite the lack of playing time, Silovs was the biggest riser in our Top 25 Under 25 rankings due to a couple of stellar showings.
One of his most impressive performances was for Latvia at the 2020 Deutschland Cup in December. The then 19-year-old had a .932 save percentage in two games, and he led his team to their first title at the mini-event as Latvia beat Germany 3-2 in overtime to take home the championship.
Silovs suited up in two other Latvian leagues before making his way over to North America. Unfortunately, the only action he saw on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean was during his loan to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.
Later in the Canucks dreadful 2021 campaign, Silovs did back-up Thatcher Demko for a couple of appearances, although he never saw any game action.
According to scouting reports, Silovs biggest strength is his athleticism and long legs, which allows him to take away the bottom of the net. What he needs to work on most is stopping shots in traffic. However, that was one of the key areas where Canucks goaltending coach Ian Clark was able to help Jacob Markstrom.
What’s Next for Silovs?
It appeared as if Silovs might be destined for a backup role behind Mike DiPietro in Abbotsford for this upcoming season. That was before the Canucks struck a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning, trading for journeyman goaltender Spencer Martin, who has 173 games of AHL experience.
The move made sense, as it would allow Silovs to take on a starting role for the Canucks ECHL affiliate. Where that will be, however, is still a mystery.
Abbotsford Canucks GM Ryan Johnson confirmed earlier in July that the organization had one more year left on its deal with the Kalamazoo Wings. One week after that was reported in The Province, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced their partnership with the Kalamazoo Wings.
At some point, the Canucks will find an ECHL affiliate. When they do, expect Silovs to be their number one goaltender. In the event that doesn’t transpire before the beginning of the season, Silovs will likely be loaned to another ECHL squad.
The other massive event on the radar for Silovs is the 2022 Beijing Olympics. He joined his country’s squad during Olympic qualifiers earlier in August. With Latvia now officially qualifying for men’s hockey at the Olympics, there’s a good chance that Silovs joins them as their third-string goaltender behind Blue Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikens, and Ivars Punnenovs from the Swiss National League, who just backstopped Latvia to three wins during qualifiers.