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2021 Canucks Top 25 Under 25: #18 Viktor Persson

Is Persson the Canucks current candidate for best “diamond in the rough?”

Viktor Persson is an intriguing RHD prospect with some size.

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.

Despite having his 2020-21 season severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy enough to see why Swedish defenceman Viktor Persson might be a diamond in the rough for the Canucks.

Even heading into the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Persson was seen by some as a top-100 prospect. Part of the reason why he fell in the draft was that Persson was plagued by injuries, suiting up in only 26 of his team’s 47 games.

Last season, Persson was affected by the pandemic, instead of injuries. He was originally supposed to join the Kamloops Blazers, but was forced to stay in Sweden. In his home country, Persson bounced around three different leagues.

Although he was shuttled from team to team, Persson continued to impress against his peers in the J20, and against men in HockeyEttan (Sweden’s third-tier league). He even earned a recall to Sweden’s top-tier league, the SHL, where he played four games.

Persson’s performance was also enough to earn him consideration for Sweden’s 2021 World Junior squad, although he was one of the final cuts.

Elite Prospects’ Daniel Gee (who voted in this project), recently talked to Patrick Johnston of The Province about Persson’s 2020-21 performance.

“Persson combines shoulder manipulations, weight-transfers, and plus-puck protection ability to create dangerous large-ice transitional attacks,” Gee told Johnston “His penchant to join into the rush, attack the centre lane and distribute as he magnetizes defenders, represents the most exciting aspect of his game.

“He is generally proactive. The flip side is this style of defending can lead to positioning issues when the puck escapes the pile. The smaller-ice surface game in Kamloops will most definitely blend with his current skill set,”

What’s Next for Persson?

The 19-year-old’s North American hockey career unofficially begins on September 17th, where he will be a part of the Canucks’ rookie camp.

After that, he will finally make his long-awaited debut for the Kamloops Blazers.

“We believe he’ll be a good player,” Blazers general manager Matt Bardsley said recently. He likes to activate into the rush, likes to play an offensive game. He also has a physical component. He’ll be an all-around two-way player for the team.”