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CANUCKS TOP PROSPECT DEMOTED FROM KHL TEAM

After a slow start to the 2020-21 KHL season, SKA St. Petersburg forward Vasili Podkolzin was sent to SKA Neva St. Petersburg in the VHL. The VHL is technically the AHL of the KHL. In 18 games so far this season, Podkolzin has 4 points (1 G, 3 A), 9 penalty minutes, and is a -1. Podkolzin is still only 19, so going to the VHL to regain his confidence will help him a lot, especially since he likely will captain the Russian national junior team at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.

SKA St. Petersburg general manager Roman Rotenberg discussed the move today, including about Podkolzin's potential. “100%, I see the potential. He does a lot of things right, he is just not scoring. He needs to work harder, very simple and he knows that.”

“When COVID-19 hit our team, Vasili was getting lots of ice time up to 25 minutes, he also got tired and was playing too much. We are sending him to VHL to get ready for the National junior team, get in shape, work hard and become a leader. We believe in him, the coaching staff does as well, we are working with him to be a leader.”

“He gets many scoring chances, he needs to improve his shot and he will. Improve the shot and a faster release and he will score more, he plays well to create the chances, he just needs to score more and he will.”

Podkolzin, 19, was drafted in the first round, 10th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2019 NHL entry draft. Over the last few seasons, he's spent time between the KHL, VHL and Russia's top junior league, the MHL. In 51 career KHL games, he's put up 12 points (3 G, 9 A), 16 penalty minutes, and is a +6. In 30 VHL games, Podkolzin has 13 points (5 G, 8 A), 10 penalty minutes, and is a +9. In 14 MHL games, he put up 12 points (6 G, 6 A), 8 penalty minutes, and is a +13.

Internationally, Podkolzin has represented Russia on multiple occasions, most recently at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, where he was named an alternate captain. In 7 games, he had 5 points (1 G, 4 A), 8 penalty minutes, and was a +/-0 as Russia finished second, taking home the silver after losing to Canada in the gold medal game.

This is just a minor setback for Podkolzin, he will be back in the KHL this season, no doubt. He has tons of potential, and one day will be a top-six forward with the Vancouver Canucks. Best thing for Podkolzin to do is regain his confidence, put up some points in the VHL, and World Juniors before likely returning to the KHL following the tournament.





Source: Rick Dhaliwal
COOPER GODIN
OCTOBER 26, 2020  (18H30)