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There was plenty of commotion early Monday morning as the Canucks top prospect Vasili Podkolzin was sent down to the VHL in Russia.

After being healthy scratched for two games in the KHL, Podkolzin will now be playing in the Russian minor leagues in the foreseeable future.

He played in 16 VHL games last season and tallied up three goals and five assists in those games before being called up to the KHL for the remainder of the season. The last time that he played a regular season game in the VHL was December 8th, 2019.

Podkolzin has one goal and three assists in 18 KHL games this season. He is currently on a seven game pointless streak and only has two assists in his previous 15 KHL games.

If there are any positives to take away from this situation, he is now expected to put up points and play a lot more minutes. This is a league where he should be a top talent and he does need to play hockey to continue his development towards being an NHL player. The six and seven minute outings in the KHL were not helping and being stuck in the press box was even worse for the kid.

From watching the first few minutes of his VHL game, he is being used on their first powerplay unit and killing penalties for SKA-Neva.

Podkolzin is set to travel with Russia’s U20 team to Finland in a week and a half to play in the Karjala Cup.

His struggles to get on the scoresheet have been noticeable and this demotion to the VHL could spark his offence as he will be playing against much worse competition. Podkolzin will likely captain Russia at this Winter’s World Junior Championships. He is on the final year of his contract in Russia and will be able to come over to North America sometime in the month of April or early May. He will not be able to play for the Canucks in the playoffs unless there is a change in the NHL because of the Covid-19 season.

We will continue to follow Vasili Podkolzin’s season as it continues. It’s been a rollercoaster ride so far.


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