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 Aku Koskenvuo.
How Acquired: 2021 5th-round draft pick, 137th overall.
2021-22 Stats: (GP-W-L-OTL) 27-13-10-0, 2.79 Goals Against Average, .897 Save %, 2 shut-outs (HIFK, Under-20 Finnish juniors)
Contract Status: Unsigned. Canucks hold his rights until June of 2025.
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Harvard University
We featured Koskenvuo during Vancouver Canucks Development Camp. Part of the story was the fact that this young Finnish goaltender had been working throughout the year with his highly respected countryman Marko Torenius, the goalie coach the Canucks just happened to hire for Abbotsford earlier this week.
“He’s also a really, really good coach,” Koskenvuo told us at the time in broken English, “and I think like my technique and stuff like that has been definitely improving with him and he has like, a lot of good stuff.”
The ‘also’ was in reference to the fact that Koskenvuo had just been talking about Vancouver Canucks goaltending coach Ian Clark.
“He is pretty much the best coach I have had,” Koskenvuo said. “Top notch everything, and I feel he really understands how a modern goalkeeper should play, and he’s approaching to all of us like individuals, not just trying to form all of us together. The individual (work) is great.”
It’s a big year coming up for a big goalie. At 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, Koskenvuo will backstop Harvard University, a somewhat perennial power in college hockey in recent decades. The obvious main adjustments will be moving to Boston and playing on a consistent basis on a smaller ice surface. The goalie has said he likes the challenge and the action moving to the smaller sheet from the 15-foot wider Olympic rinks in Europe.
Clark likes the Finn’s attributes in general.
“Obviously, he’s got a very tall, lanky, long frame, which is always good, you know, gives a goaltender value,” Clark told VHN. “But again, it’s his work habits, his discipline, his attention to detail and it’s his athleticism, his natural athleticism for the goaltending position. All of these things are things that we look for.”
Besides starting his college hockey career, Koskenvuo will get strong consideration for the 2023 World Junior Championship with Team Finland.
With Thatcher Demko in place in the Vancouver Canucks crease and a decent depth chart behind him, it may seem hard to fathom thoughts of future goaltenders, but Koskenvuo is only 19-years-old and should take three to five years to develop. Plenty can change by then.
Keep an eye on the college hockey scores this winter and see who’s getting the starts.