Canucks goalie prospect Arturs Silovs named IIHF World Championship MVP

Latvia's goalie Arturs Silovs (31) stops the puck at the net in their bronze medal match against the United States at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Tampere, Finland, Sunday, May 28, 2023. Latvia won 4-3. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)

After a dominant tournament that helped lead host country Latvia to their first-ever IIHF medal, Canucks goaltending prospect Arturs Silovs will take home more than just a bronze — he’ll take home tournament MVP, too.

The 22-year-old appeared in all 10 games for Latvia with a .921 save percentage and a 2.20 goals against average, including a 40-save performance in a 4-3 victory over the United States to clinch bronze for Latvia. He is just the fifth goaltender to be named MVP since the award was first given out in 1999.

Previously topping their IIHF tournaments at seventh place, this top-three finish is a first for Latvia — a feat many are accrediting to Silovs’ brilliance between the pipes, dubbing him a ‘hometown hero’ for his performance that had Latvia in tight competition with big guns such as Sweden, the United States and Canada.

In addition to receiving the honours of MVP, Silvos was also chosen as the best goaltender in the tournament. Germany’s JJ Peterka and Canada’s MacKenzie Weegar were chosen as the best forward and defenceman, respectively.

Silovs was selected by the Canucks in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Draft, and the young netminder has spent parts of the previous three seasons developing within the Canucks’ system. He played 44 regular season games with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks over the 2022-23 season, achieving a 0.906 and earning four shutouts while also taking home the team honour of MVP.

Silovs also spent parts of the season with the big club after Vancouver experienced a myriad of goaltender injuries. He appeared in five games with a .908 save percentage and collected three wins.

His performance in the NHL, however brief, coupled with his showing internationally has many Canucks fans wondering if Silovs is ready to take over as backup for all-star goalie Thatcher Demko — an opportunity GM Patrik Allvin may be willing to extend next season.

Silovs has the chance to prove himself and fight for a spot on the roster when the Canucks return for training camp in Victoria B.C., September 21-25.

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