The Weekly Dose: Rounding out the top ten

By Kirk Pedersen

Canucks prospects #6-10.

Taking over the number six spot is Mikko Jokela, who will make a solid lower-pairing NHL defenseman in the future.

Skill-wise, Jokela is a smooth-skating Finn with good balance and decent acceleration, although nobody is going to mistake him for Paul Coffey. Offensively, he has a good shot from the point, and can be a creative player with the puck when given an opportunity. Defensively, Mikko is not a particularly physical player, but he can throw a hit when needed. He is a calm player with the puck, and rarely makes a poor decision out on the ice.

Despite limited icetime in his first game, he did a decent job, especially considering the slapped-together equipment job he had to deal with for much of the game. While he won’t likely Jokela take a role with the Canucks this season, with a good camp next year, a spot could be his.

Stepping in at number seven is winger Jason King. So far, King has provided a decent secondary scoring threat for the Moose, and has improved his overall game while staying true to his roots as a player.

He’s a fleet-footed winger with good size and above average speed. When it comes to physicality, King will definitely not remind anyone of Todd Bertuzzi. While he’s not afraid to go into corners, he is not a physical player, and needs to get stronger before he can become a force physically. A born sniper, King has a quick, accurate shot, and shifty moves.

If he makes the NHL, he could be a third or fourth line winger. His offensive talents won’t transfer too well to the NHL, but 10-15 goals per season isn’t out of the question. His defensive play, which is already decent, could also use improvement.

At eight is Russian Evgeny Gladskikh. His numbers this season aren’t too impressive. He has two goals and eight points thus far for Mettallurg, which is quite disappointing, despite his increased icetime. He’s currently buried on a team of veterans, and maybe coming to North America is in his best interest next season.

He’s a wonderful stickhandler with quick, shifty moves and a lot of intelligence out on the ice. He’s an excellent passer and has great vision of the ice, which are qualities currently in short supply in the Canuck organization for prospects. Defensively, Gladskikh excels. He’s a very good two-way player who is a good backchecker and is very clever and defensively responsible in his own zone.

With some time given for development over in North America, Gladskikh could be a slightly-more-skilled version of Artem Chubarov.

Up one spot from the past ranking to number nine is Kevin Bieksa. The physical defenseman has had a great season so far with Bowling Green, despite the team’s especially poor showing on the year. While he has yet to accomplish anything at the professional level, if his showing is any indication of the future, he could be something.

Going on 22, there’s nowhere to go but up for him. His best attribute is his physical play. He’s a hard hitter who can do so without being dirty, which is always a bonus. His defensive game is above average overall, as he makes a decent first pass and is responsible around his own net. Offensively, he is nothing special, but is doing well enough to place third on his club in scoring. His skating needs to improve.

If he reaches the NHL, he could be a sixth or seventh defenseman on a good club, and perhaps a fifth on a poor team.

Clinging to the final position in the rankings is Fedor Fedorov. After making the club out of camp, his stock has fallen quickly. While the potential is still there, the drive still isn’t, and as soon as Fedor realizes that he needs to push himself harder, better results will prevail.

One of the most skilled prospects in the minor leagues, the young Russian has a bevy of natural talent, but still has yet to put it all together. He’s a powerful skater with a short, quick stride, and has excellent breakaway speed. His offensive game is rather simple, he’s an okay passer, not too bad of a shooter, but needs to use his teammates more when he has the puck. Defensively, he struggles. His defensive zone coverage is very poor, and his work along the boards leaves a bit to be desired. Speaking of desire, as previously mentioned, he needs to get some, or this youngster will be out of hockey quicker than he can say ‘Jimmy Carson’.

Fedorov does have great upside, possibly as a low-end second liner, or a high-end third-line forward. His physical skill is incredible, and all he needs to do is fuse these skills together to create a complete package.