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.
The Belarusian rocket has landed in Vancouver.
Okay, so no one is comparing Danila Klimovich to Pavel Bure... but the earliest looks of the 18-year-old are promising.
Danila Klimovich's hands and swagger are something else -- casually goes through Ryan Donato's legs to reset the breakout pic.twitter.com/xYfBw4Ju0H— Harman Dayal (@harmandayal2) September 27, 2021
Klimovich was always going to garner attention due to his draft status, and the fact that he was the first player from the 2021 draft to sign an entry-level deal — a rare feat for a second-round pick.
So far, the second-round selection has lived up to early expectations. Really, that was just to show the Canucks coaching staff that he has the skills necessary to compete for an NHL spot in two to three years' time.
Based on what’s transpired at training camp, there are many elements of Klimovich’s game that stand out. He’s athletic, has a nose for the net, he’s aggressive, and his hands look NHL ready.
It’s nice to see Klimovich impress Canucks’ brass, considering that he was a wild card selection by Vancouver at 41st overall. Klimovich began rocketing up draft lists after a stellar showing for Belarus at the U18 Hockey Championships.
His stellar U18 performance led to Klimovich becoming the third-highest Belarusian player drafted in NHL history. The only two others who were drafted higher than him were Ruslan Salei (9th overall by Anaheim in 1996) and Andrei Kostitsyn (10th overall by Montreal in 2003).
The youngster was rewarded for his solid play at training camp by being slotted in on a line with actual NHLers in the Canucks first preseason game. Klimovich was on a line with Jason Dickinson and Phillip Di Guiseppe. He also got some power play time as well.
Brock Boeser scores on the power play with Klimovich in front of the net. Rathbone on the assist. pic.twitter.com/aZUe7CBZJt— Faber (@ChrisFaber39) September 27, 2021
What’s Next for Klimovich?
Klimovich’s strong play at training camp has led some to believe that he could get a sniff of AHL action. Because he’s signed his entry-level deal, he could play there for the entire season if the organization saw fit.
However, the best thing for his development, and the most likely scenario, is that Klimovich goes and lights up the QMJHL as a member of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
If he does go down to the QMJHL, what’s his ceiling there, Cam Robinson?
Klimovich should absolutely torch the QMJHL competition this year if that's where he lands.— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) September 24, 2021
I'm talking 35-plus goals, 1.5 points-per-game and a bushel of shots and PIMs. https://t.co/1CjfBO6FZZ
That’s a high bar for the youngster, and a season like that would likely allow him to sniff some AHL action by the end of the campaign.
He is arguably the Canucks most intriguing prospect to watch this upcoming season, even if other prospects are currently slotted ahead of Klimovich in our Top 25 Under 25 rankings.