The Florida Panthers acquired defenseman Olli Juolevi from the Vancouver Canucks in return for defenseman Noah Juulsen and forward Juho Lammikko. The 23-year-old made his NHL debut with the Canucks in the 2020 playoffs and played 23 games last season scoring two goals and three points.
With the acquisition of Juolevi, the Panthers have a young defenseman who has struggled to carve out a niche in the NHL so far. Since being selected fifth overall in the 2016 Draft, he has only played 23 games in the NHL while other members of his draft class in Mikhail Sergachev, Charlie McAvoy and Matthew Tkachuk have become pieces. of their respective teams.
Related: Canucks News & Rumors: Juolevi, Boeser, Gadjovich & More
Juolevi’s development was stunted by two major hip and knee injuries, but after a poor training camp that saw him collapse during Canucks head coach Travis’ infamous sack skate Green, the writing was on the wall for the young defenseman. Add to that that Jack Rathbone, Kyle Burroughs and Derek Hunt outscored him during preseason and training camp, and his days in Vancouver were all but over.
Joining ex-Canucks prospect Gustav Forsling in Florida, Juolevi will have the chance to start from scratch with a different organization and different coaching staff. A change of scenery will likely do him good, but it’s unclear where he’ll fit in with the Panthers. He will likely play a role there similar to the one he played with the Canucks, as a sixth / seventh defenseman. He only has a one-year contract worth $ 750,000 in Average Annual Value (AAV), so hopefully he can impress enough to get a more stable long-term contract next season. .
Canucks add another former first-round pick to Juuleson
The Canucks are now betting on another defenseman with a similar background. Juuleson was also a first-round pick, although he was 26th overall instead of fifth overall and he was also held up by injury. After being in the NHL upon leaving junior in 2018, he suffered a serious eye injury in a game against the Washington Capitals in November of the same year. He has since recovered but has only 48 games to his name. Described as a two-way defender with great mobility and physicality, he will have the chance to compete on a blue line that needs help from the right side. With Travis Hamonic on waivers, they need all the help they can get.
The Canucks also acquired great right winger Juho Lammikko who was selected 65th overall by the Panthers in the 2014 draft. The 6-foot-2 forward played 44 games with the Panthers last season where he scored four goals. and five points. Like most of the players Benning acquires, he is a versatile forward who can play both wing and center. He also has shorthanded experience, having averaged 58 seconds per game shorthanded last season.
Both players can be sent directly to the Abbotsford Canucks without a waiver authorization. It will be interesting to see what other roster moves come after this as the Canucks continue to reduce their numbers to the required 23-man limit. Join Hamonic on the waiver thread Sunday were Justin Bailey, Madison Bowey and Phil Di Giuseppe, star of the preseason.
Matthew Zator is a freelance writer, media editor and THW scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft and outlook in general. He loves to talk about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and his prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the end of articles like this one on Tyler Motte.