Welcome to the 2022 Edition of the Vancouver Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings. The list includes all players in the Canucks system who were born after April 15th, 1998.
Despite a surprisingly conservative offseason, Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin did stay true to one of his promises.
“For us to become a consistent playoff team and a consistent contender, we need to build up the depth of the organization,” Allvin said in his opening press conference. “And that’s through the draft and signing of European and college free agent players.”
Well, here’s hoping that newly signed Nils Aman adds to that depth.
The 22-year-old centre became a free agent on June 1st, 2022 after he went unsigned by the team who drafted him, the Colorado Avalanche.
Back in 2020, the Avs drafted him as a 20-year-old overager in the sixth round (167th overall).
Since being drafted by the Avs, Aman has played over 100 SHL games across two seasons.
He made a slight jump forward offensively in his sophomore SHL season (6-8-14, 51 GP), after registering just two goals and 10 assists as a rookie back in 2020-21.
I really like the Nils Åman signing for the Canucks.— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) June 7, 2022
6'2, rangy centre with legit speed and smarts. Bit of a late bloomer, but has faired well in a 3rd line SHL role the last couple of years.
Sneaky release pic.twitter.com/ZkTkhTjW4g
Despite that modest bump in offensive production, where Aman really shines is with his two-way ability.
Consider this. Both Aman and fellow Canucks’ prospect Linus Karlsson were named to Sweden’s World Championship roster this past spring. Although Karlsson is the more highly-touted prospect in the Canucks organization, it was Aman who played in all seven of Sweden’s games (0-2-2), while Karlsson didn’t get a sniff of action.
This was, presumably, because Aman is the more well-rounded defensive player.
Scouting reports suggest that Aman is very active in the defensive zone, and uses his larger frame to engage opponents. He had success defensively both while playing centre (his natural position) and right-wing last season in the SHL. Once the puck is on his stick, he’s been good at using his speed to create separation from his opponents.
While it’s been reported that he has a sneaky good shot, most of Aman’s goals came from around the blue paint. In terms of things he needs to work on, making clean passes should be at the top of that list.
It will also be interesting to see how he handles the increased physicality of North American hockey. Despite being 6’2”, he is only 179 pounds. Consider that his name-twin and new teammate, Nils Hoglander, is five inches shorter but clocks in at 190 pounds.
What’s Next for Aman?
The short answer? A stint with the Abbotsford Canucks.
However, there’s a bit more to that story.
Daniel Wagner from Vancouver is Awesome unearthed an interesting quote from an interview Aman did in Sweden, where he suggested he’d rather play in Sweden than in the AHL.
“We’ll see what happens. It’s always been a dream to go over and play in the U.S. or Canada, so of course, you’ll take that chance if you get it,” Aman told Swedish outlet Dala-Demokraten. “But I’d rather play in Leksand than in the farm league in the AHL.”
Although Vancouver’s depth chart isn’t as strong as Colorado’s, the chance that Aman plays NHL games this season should be considered relatively slim.
But hey, anything can happen, and there is an inherent unpredictability with some European free agents who make the jump to North America.
The Canucks do have a need for defensively responsible forwards who can kill penalties, something Aman has experience doing in the SHL.
It’s also worth noting that Aman does NOT have a European out-clause in his contract, meaning he can’t freely bolt back to Europe if he doesn’t make the Canucks out of camp.
Point totals might not mean everything when it comes to Aman, but if he can be a defensively responsible ace for the Abbotsford Canucks, he could beat the odds and play some NHL games later this season.