The former fifth overall pick has been traded by the Vancouver Canucks. Olli Juolevi, a defenseman out of Finland, was acquired by the Florida Panthers on October 10th, 2021. The 23-year-old has yet to take advantage of his limited chance in the NHL but hopefully, a change of scenery is what he needs to potentially live up to the hype surrounding him ahead of the 2016 NHL draft. Defenseman Noah Juulsen and Juho Lammikko are headed the other way in the trade. This interesting trade comes just days before teams need to trim their roster down to 23 players and get prepared for their opening games.
What Does Ollo Juolevi Bring to the Florida Panthers?
The former top prospect leaves Vancouver with a sour taste in his mouth as his path to the NHL has been met with lots of struggles and criticism. He was labeled a bust by the Vancouver media and fans as he struggled to find a permanent spot in the Canucks lineup. Some of the criticism was caused as other defensemen in the same draft year have gone on to become stars in the league. Players such as Mikail Sergachev, Charlie McAvoy, Jakob Chychrun, and Dante Fabbro are all defenseman that has become a permanent fixture on their respective teams and were drafted after Joulevi in 2016 NHL draft. These players all have well over 100 games played with the majority being the best defensemen on their teams. Players such as McAvoy, Sergachev, and Chychrun have all been paid handsomely for their contributions in advancing their teams to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Juolevi has not had the same success as he has played in just 23 games for the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL. He has collected just two goals and one assist in his career.
During Juolevi’s draft year he was described as “A competitive spark-plug, Olli Juolevi is a complete, all-around defenceman who can hem the opposition in their own end or make things difficult for the opposition at home; either way, he puts the pressure on and lays it on thick. A strong and balanced skater, he can rush the puck through the neutral zone with ease or backcheck with haste. Uses his size to his advantage, but knows his physical limits and plays within them. Instead of playing overly physical, he makes his presence felt by exhibiting his high-end playmaking ability and puck possession play. All-in-all, a well-rounded blueliner who thrives under pressure and can be trusted in all situations” by Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects. If the Florida Panthers can find a spot in the lineup for Juolevi and harness this potential that Joe talks about then this will be an absolute steal of a trade for the franchise. The potential that Juolevi posses were the sole purpose the Panthers decided to make this trade.
What Do Noah Juulsen and Juho Lammikko Bring to the Canucks?
Similar to Juolevi, Noah Juulsen is another defenseman taken with a first-round pick that has failed to pan out and fulfill his potential. Taken with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft by the Montreal Canadiens Juulsen has yet to become a full-team fixture on an NHL blueline. He has played in 48 games over the course of three seasons in the NHL. He played in 44 games for the Montreal Canadiens during his first two seasons in the NHL. He produced two goals and six assists during his time with Montreal. Ahead of the 2020-21 season, he was claimed off of waivers by the Florida Panthers. He would suit up in four games for the Panthers and produced no points. The 48 game NHL veteran gets his third chance in the NHL with Canucks and who knows maybe the phrase “third time is the charm” rings true for Juulsen as he has the potential to be a fixture on the Canucks blueline.
The other player in the deal is forward Juho Lammikko. The Finnish forward was drafted 65th overall in the 2014 NHL draft by the Panthers. Since being drafted he has produced four goals and seven assists in his 84 games of NHL experience. The two-year NHL veteran has shown some flashes of potential that the Canucks will try to harness will giving him a checking role in the NHL or a shot to further develop his skills in the AHL.
This trade for the Canucks was mostly inspired by getting rid of the failed Olli Juolevi experiment but they did a nice job acquiring depth players that could potentially play a pivotal role in future Canucks success.
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