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Canucks’ Top 25 Under 25 (2022 Edition): #9 Danila Klimovich

Danila Klimovich is a boom-or-bust, high-upside project for the Canucks.

Dan Milstein Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) / Twitter

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 April 15th, 1998.

Much to the dismay of many, the Canucks went a couple of years without a first-round pick, resulting in a dearth of high-end prospects.

While that’s not great news for the Canucks, it’s good news for a prospect such as Danila Klimovich.

He’s clearly a flawed player at this point in his career. However, it’s fair to be cautiously optimistic about his future.

In his draft year, Klimovich put up an impressive 52 points in 37 games in Belarus, leveraging that season into being a borderline first-round pick on some boards. Somewhat surprisingly, he made the jump to the American Hockey League. While he didn’t blow the doors off the league, his rookie season in the AHL was certainly respectable, with 18 points in 62 contests.

While some fans raised concern over the production — again, given Klimovich’s status as the highest Canucks pick over a couple of seasons — his scoring rate as a teenager was hardly cause for worry.

This is not to say that his game is without flaws. Prospects expert Chris Faber of CanucksArmy wrote that Klimovich’s “lack of consistency and defensive awareness” are the main areas needing improvement while citing his shot, playmaking, and overall offensive capabilities as his key talents. Dave Hall of Dobber Prospects echoes these sentiments, describing the young forward as a “creative goal scorer with a heavy shot and powerful frame.” So while Klimovich certainly has an enviable combination of size and offensive instincts, his overall game is still raw and can use a fair bit of polishing before he can be reasonably seen as an NHL option.

What’s Next for Danila Klimovich?

Klimovich recently stood out at the Canucks’ Young Stars tournament, posting a couple of points while showcasing his offensive zone skills. Importantly, Klimovich spoke to the media without an interpreter, a major step towards him becoming more comfortable in the North American environment.

Heading into 2022-23, Klimovich is expected to be an important contributor in Abbotsford this year, as he should ascend to a point where his presence in the lineup isn’t in doubt. The hope is that he rounds out the flaws in his games, and becomes a consistent, reliable offensive contributor who at least is not a defensive liability.

Is the NHL really in the cards this season? Most likely not. That said, eyes will be on him during pre-season and training camp, and given his offensive dynamism and high upside, it’s perhaps not the most ridiculous proposition that he would get a game or two at some point.

Klimovich is a key cog in the Canucks’ pipeline, and this season will be an important one in his development. Certainly, given the lack of high upside in the system, it’s integral that he continues to show improvement.