LAVAL, QC, CANADA – NOVEMBER 3: Olli Juolevi #48 of the Utica Comets skating up the ice with the puck against the Laval Rocket at Place Bell on November 3, 2018 in Laval, Quebec. (Photo by Stephane Dube /Getty Images)

The Vancouver Canucks announced that defensemen Olli Juolevi is sidelined for the rest of the season due to a successful knee surgery.

Although the top-prospect originally thought to avoid surgery, it was deemed a necessary measure. In the Canucks press release, GM Jim Benning stated:

“After a thorough evaluation, rest and conservative treatment, surgery was determined by Canucks medical staff, in consultation with specialists, as the best option for Juolevi’s long-term health and career,” 

After great success in the World Junior Championship, the Finish native was drafted by the Canucks 5th overall in the 2016 NHL draft. However, he has yet to play an NHL game. Juolevi has experience with the London Knights of the OHL, and more recently the Canucks affiliate team in the AHL, the Utica Comets.

In just 18 games, the 20-year-old has scored a goal and 12 assists for 13 points to go along with two minutes in penalties. He was just one point shy of being the Comets leading scorer. The young prospect was responding well to North American style of hockey and was marked to break into the NHL next year.

What This Means for the Future

It will be disappointing for young Juolevi as he was just finding a rhythm. Not only this, but the gold medalist will have to delay his NHL debut until next season. Although at 20-years-old there is still time to do this. It may be a concern to some that the Finish prospect has had two extensive surgeries this year. Critics will have to wait to see how well he bounces back next season.

The Canucks have injected much-needed talent into the forward lineup but continue to struggle with defensive depth. Mostly because of injuries and lack of youthful enthusiasm. They really need defencemen like Juolevi to fill the void.

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