Canucks of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Vancouver Canucks system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them if and when they advance through the Vancouver organization. Today, we feature Danila Klimovich.
Position: Right Wing
How Acquired: 2021 NHL Draft, 2nd-round, 41st-overall
2021-22 Stats: (GP-W-L-OTL) 62-8-10-18, 33 PIM (with AHL Abbotsford)
Contract Status: Three seasons remaining on a two-way NHL/AHL entry-level deal.
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: AHL Abbotsford
Should Danila Klimovich make the big cut, would you really want the 19-year-old Belarusian playing 4th-line minutes in Vancouver or would you rather he play top-line minutes in Abbotsford. Lots of work to do and things to fall into place before you need to answer that question. Who knows, maybe it’s 3rd-line NHL minutes depending on training camp. There’s usually at least one surprise come the end of September.
Klimovich underwhelmed statistically in his first professional year in North America, but therein lies the rub. It was a huge adjustment season for the teenager, on and off the ice, for a team that weathered a Covid line-up crisis that saw the Abby Canucks signing ECHL’ers to professional try-out contracts mid-season. The right-handed right winger finished with just 18 points in 62 games but appears poised to take another step.
His Vancouver Canucks Development Camp reviews from earlier this month at UBC were solid. He stepped into a leadership role by setting an example.
“The experience that they had in Abbotsford, understanding from the coaches and from my eyes what I want to see on a daily basis, so great having those guys here,” said Abbotsford Canucks General Manager Ryan Johnson of Klimovich and others who played in the AHL last season. “They played a real leadership role this week for some of these younger kids.”
Although it’s generally referred to as a ’19-year-old’s tournament’, Klimovich will not be participating in the delayed 2022 World Junior Championship that starts August 9th in Edmonton. Even if qualified at the top level, Belarus and Russia were not invited to participate due to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine and the prior’s support of it.
Klimovich will continue to train and be ready for the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Classic that begins in Penticton on September 16th.
The power forward grew up and played youth hockey in his hometown of Pinsk and stayed in his native land to play his junior hockey. He’s grown into a 6-foot-2, 205-pound body that impressed last fall at Vancouver Canucks training camp. This after playing three games for Belarus the previous spring at the IIHF World Championship.
The sky’s the limit this autumn.
One of my favourite ‘Elite Prospects’ descriptions ever, from that entity’s 2021 NHL Draft guide involved Klimovich.
“He plays his game in between the dots as much as possible, uses teammates, and plays with a hard, and violent energy.”
What coach or manager doesn’t want to read that? The strength, guts and desire are there, and his body is still growing and developing. So is his skill set.
A family maybe? Klimovich got hitched here in BC in April.
A crystal ball is required hockey-wise because Klimovich’s upside is there, it’s just a matter of finding out how soon it emerges and how much of it he discovers. We’ll pencil him into Abbotsford at the moment but will leave ourselves open to surprises. No guarantees either way.
Since he didn’t play a minimum of ten NHL games last season, he actually didn’t play any, his entry-level deal ‘slides’ forward a year. So his three-year deal starts over in 2022. He’ll make around $860,000 if he’s playing at the NHL level, $80K if he’s playing in the American Hockey League.