Corey Pronman’s NHL Pipeline Ranking: 14 canucks led by Quinn Hughes

The Canucks pipeline is ranked at this level primarily because of Quinn Hughes’ quality in the NHL and will likely remain so for a long time. Vasili Podkolzin and Jonathan Lekkerimaki look like players who can also become strong top-six wingers.

Main graduates: Elias Pettersson

Key Additions: Jonathan Lekkerimaki

Ranking 2021: n°7

2022 NHL Draft Score: B

Full 2022-23 NHL Pipeline Rankings

Ranking of players

1. Quinn Hughes, D

22 years old | 5 feet 10 | 170 pounds | Pull left

Drafted: No. 7 in 2018
Level: NHL Bubble Elite Player and NHL All-Star

Skating: Elite
Puck Skills: NHL Average
Hockey Sense: Top of the line
Competition: NHL average

Analysis: Hughes had a monster season, recording just under a point per game as a 22-year-old NHL defenseman and playing major minutes for the Canucks. He’s dynamic with the puck due to his elite skating and playing ability. Hughes has a distinct skating stride that makes him very elusive at both ends and allows his game to have plenty of pace. He also makes very skillful and creative plays with the puck at high frequency. He’ll still be an attacking player, but his defense should be pretty good given his mobility, and he got regular PK time for the first time this season.

2. Vasily Podkolzin, LW

20 years | 6 feet 1 | 190 pounds | Pull left

Drafted: No. 10 in 2019
Level: Bubble at the top and in the middle of the lineup player

Skating: below NHL average
Puck Skills: NHL Average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Competition: high end

Analysis: Podkolzin had a strong rookie season in the NHL. He wasn’t elevated to a big role, but he showed flashes of the player he plans to be. He won’t be the most skilled or creative player on his line, but Podkolzin has legitimate offensive abilities in the NHL. It combines this skill with a formidable engine. He competes hard to win pucks, attacks the net and plays the game fearlessly. His skating is his only real issue, and it might take him a while to adjust to NHL pace, but when he does, I see a quality top-six winger.


After seeing his stock soar over the years, Hoglander came down to earth a bit in his second NHL season. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

3. Nils Hoglander, RA

21 years old | 5 feet 9 inches | 185 pounds | Pull left

Drafted: No. 40 in 2019
Level: Middle roster player

Skating: NHL Average
Puck Skills: Elite
Hockey sense: below NHL average
Competition: Above NHL average

Analysis: After seeing his stock rise and rise steadily for a few years, Hoglander had a tougher second season in the NHL and came back down to earth for a bit. I still think he’s a great young player, mostly because of his incredible skill level and the unique things he can do with the puck. You like that skill and his work ethic, but he doesn’t make many plays, is undersized, and doesn’t have the top speed you want at his size. Despite that, I see a long-term second-line winger as he develops.

4. Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW

18 years old | 5 feet 10 | 173 pounds | Pull right

Drafted: No. 15 in 2022
Level: Middle roster player

Skating: NHL Average
Puck Skills: NHL Average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Competition: Below NHL average
Shooting: high-end

Analysis: Lekkerimaki is a skilled winger who has various attacking elements in his game, but the obvious strength of his game is his shooting. He’s a threat to score from the face-off points with a hard, accurate wrist shot and pinpoint shot that projects to be a weapon in the NHL. He has good speed, hands and vision to generate clean entries and make plays, but those aspects don’t stand out like his shooting. Like many shooters, he relies too much on his best asset and plays too much on the perimeter, which is not ideal for a player who lacks size. Lekkerimaki projects himself as a second-line winger.

5. Linus Karlsson, C.

22 years old | 6 feet 1 | 178 pounds | Pull right

Acquired through trade
Level: Expected to play NHL games

Skating: below NHL average
Puck Skills: NHL Average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Competition: NHL average
Shooting: above NHL average

Analysis: Karlsson had a great season in the SHL, scoring 46 points in 52 games. Inside the offensive zone, he can do a lot of positive things. He has great individual skill and often beats defenders one-on-one. Karlsson can make plays, but his shooting is more of a threat and he can beat professional goalkeepers from points. His skating is his main obstacle and that’s why, despite having some experience in the middle, I see him as a professional winger. I think he can be one of the last six full-time wingers in the NHL.

6. Danila Klimovich, AR

19 years old | 6 feet 2 inches | 202 pounds | Pull right

Drafted: No. 41 in 2021
Level: Expected to play NHL games

Skating: below NHL average
Puck Skills: NHL Average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Competition: Below NHL average
Shooting: above NHL average

Analysis: Klimovich had an up and down first pro season, getting off to a strong start in the AHL before falling in the second half. There is no doubt that he has legitimate offensive tools. Klimovich has NHL shooting skills and abilities and plans to be able to help a professional power play. He can, however, be frustrating due to his perimeter play and lack of pace. He has enough on his game to be a full-time NHL player, but I can see him struggling to get regular minutes in the middle of the roster.

Has a chance to play (listed alphabetically)

Nils Åman, C

22 years old | 6 feet 2 inches | 179 pounds | Pull left

Signed at ELC

Analysis: Aman is a great body center with some skill that competes hard. His skating is just fine and will be his main challenge for the NHL.

Joni Jurmo, D

20 years | 6 feet 4 inches | 190 pounds | Pull left

Drafted: No. 82 in 2020

Analysis: Jurmo is a great defender who skates well for his frame and has an offensive touch. I don’t think he’s found a niche in what he excels at as a pro, but there are tools to work with.

Aidan McDonough, L.A.

22 years old | 6 feet 2 inches | 201 pounds | Pull left

Drafted: No. 195 in 2019

Analysis: McDonough is a big winger with a high level of skill who can shoot the puck well and was great in college, but he’s a perimeter shooter without a lot of speed, so I’m concerned about how that translates in the NHL.

Elias Pettersson, D.

18 years old | 6 feet 2 inches | 185 pounds | Pull left

Drafted: No. 80 in 2022

Analysis: Pettersson is a solid defender due to his size and mobility. He also doesn’t shy away from physical play. He is able to effectively close checks and kill a good number of games. His skating also allows him to jump well in attacks. Offensively, he has a hard point shot/one-timer that is a threat, but overall Pettersson lacks a lot of balance or skill with the puck. If he can make a good first pass, he’s an NHL player, but I need to see him more consistently.

Arthur Silovs, G.

21 years old | 6 feet 4 inches | 203 pounds | Remaining captures

Drafted: No. 156 in 2019

Analysis: Silovs is a fine athlete at 6-foot-4 with solid quickness in the net, but his readings are inconsistent and he’s giving up too many long-range goals.

Jacob Truscott, D.

20 years | 6 feet 1 | 170 pounds | Pull left

Drafted: No. 144 in 2020

Analysis: Truscott is a smart two-way defenseman who can move the puck pretty well. He’s a dependable defenseman in college due to his brains and reach, but his skating is just okay, making it doubtful he’ll be able to make saves in the NHL.


Player Eligibility: All skaters 22 years of age or younger as of September 15, 2022, regardless of the number of NHL games they have played, are eligible. Player heights and weights are taken from the NHL.

Tool Ratings: Tool Ratings are based on a six-tier scale, with a look at how that attribute would be rated in the NHL (Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average, High range and elite). “Average” on this scale means the tool is projected as an NHL average, which is considered a positive, not a criticism. Skating, puck skills, hockey sense and competition for each projected NHL player are scored. Shot ratings are only included if a shot is particularly good or bad.

Tier Definitions: Tiers are meant to show approximately where in an average NHL roster a player plans to fit.

(Illustration: Wes McCabe / Athleticism; photo by Quinn Hughes: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


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