Canucks 2013 NHL Draft Preview

Thomas Drance
June 30 2013 11:59AM

The 2013 NHL Entry Draft is only an hour away, and their is of course a high volume of trade talks and rumours floating around on the draft floor and in the ether. Let's round up the latest ahead of this years marathon, one day event.

Read past the jump.

The Province's Ben Kuzma suspects the Canucks will look to address a lack organizational depth at left-wing with their first round pick today:

...There’s a lack of organization depth at left wing with Mason Raymond expected to also tested unrestricted free agency. The Canucks don’t have a second-round choice, having surrendered it along with Kevin Connauton at the trade deadline.

With new coach John Tortorella looking for more bite and the Canucks drafting bigger centres in Brendan Gaunce, Alexandre Mallet and Joseph Labate, they could use the same amount of size and sandpaper on the left side with their 24th pick — if they don’t move up by swapping selections or in a possible Cory Schneider trade.

Derek Jory polled myself, Jeff Angus, Jeff Paterson, John Garrett and Tyson Giutiato on the subject of which players we'd like to see the Canucks target with the clubs late first round pick.

Iain Macintyre focuses on Mike Gillis's underwhelming draft record:

But Vancouver’s collection of prospects is ranked 29th among 30 NHL organizations by the Hockey News while the Canucks, eliminated in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons, have tilted at the draft even farther away from the WHL and its powerhouse sibling, the Ontario Hockey League, since Mike Gillis became general manager in 2008.

Heading into Sunday’s NHL talent lottery in New Jersey, the Canucks have drafted 30 players in Gillis’ first five years. Only five of these players were from the OHL and just two from the WHL — both chosen in 2008. The Canucks also went four years without drafting any B.C.-born player before choosing Victoria Tier-2 junior Wesley Myron in the sixth round last year.

We took a detailed look at Mike Gillis's draft record earlier in the week as well.

On Friday I looked at how the new collective bargaining agreement might impact Vancouver's late round draft strategy:

After last year’s draft, while addressing the media, Gillis shed some light on the club’s late-round draft strategy:

“In the fourth round and beyond we like to select players who are going into a college program to develop for a few more years. It gives you more opportunity and more development time.”

Under the 2005 NHL CBA – which Gillis has operated under for the entirety of his tenure through to this most recent season – drafting college bound players was the only way to retain “exclusive negotiating rights” to an “unsigned draft pick” for four years (so long as that player remained a “bona fide student”). Meanwhile teams would only retain the exclusive negotiating rights to international or CHL players for two years. To summarize simply: under the previous agreement, if a team drafted an NCAA player (or an NCAA bound player) they’d receive a longer timeline for which to evaluate that player before deciding to sign him to one of their fifty available contracts.

Under the rules pertaining to the entry draft in the 2013 NHL CBA, teams will still retain exclusive negotiating rights to NCAA (or NCAA bound) players aged 18 or 19 for four years, so long as that player remains a “bona fide student.” But there’s also a new type of player that teams will retain the exclusive right of negotiation to under the new CBA: international prospects (or in the language of Aritlce 8.6 (d): players drafted from a club outside North America).

Tony Gallagher describes Mike Gillis as "over a barrel" on the Luongo front:

The Canucks have been blithely ignoring the shouting the market has been sending their way with respect to this Roberto Luongo fiasco, and now that they are just flat out running out of time, they have decided to listen.

What they have to be hearing are some very unpleasant sounds.

Presuming they can’t make a deal for Lui, the only card left to play is to put him on waivers, and if nobody is biting, the only way they can avoid a ridiculously expensive buyout is to trade Schneider, the very person who started this whole mess by proving he’s a better goalie. And judging by the way they are dragging their feet, it sounds like ownership doesn’t wants no part of paying somebody not to play or play for someone else, even though it may have been pressure from them that got this deal done in the first place.

Gallagher is tight with Vancouver ownership and management, but I still see no reason to believe that the use of a compliance buyout is a non-starter for the Canucks. I'd also mention that the perception that Vancouver won't use a buy out helps strengthen their essentially non-existent leverage on the Luongo trade front...

Speaking of strengthening non-existent leverage on the Luongo trade front, here's my take on Mike Gillis's Saturday media availability for the Sporting News:

It goes without saying that the Canucks might be in better shape, value wise, were they to retain Luongo while banking whatever Schneider returns in a trade, than they would be with Schneider and the scraps (if that) that Luongo might fetch. Whether or not returning Luongo is a realistic scenario, however, following a calendar year perpetually on the trade block, is a matter of some skepticism.

As Sunday approaches, the Canucks and their GM appear to be running in place. The goaltender trade roadshow will hit its second NHL draft, and this time the situation certainly has a more urgent feel to it. Something has to give, and while the Canucks would surely prefer that their intentions remain opaque ahead of Sunday’s chaos, what gives will probably still be the something most of us expect.

Finally as rumours multiply about the Canucks stock-piling draft picks, it's the same old song out of Mike Gillis:

You can check out the rest of our draft preview content if you're killing time this Sunday afternoon:

What do you expect to go down today? Are you scared? Angry? Excited? Chime in and let us know in the comments!

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 BrudnySeaby
June 30 2013, 12:50PM
Trash it!
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What I mostly feel is confusion. What good comes from trading Schneider? Yes, his return will be better than the return from a Luongo trade, but does Luongo even want to play for the Canucks at this point? Moreover, how do we suppose Schneider feels right now? Last year he was crowned king and now his name appears in all these rumours and the team seems in a hurry to trade him?

And then there is the Alex Edler story. Yeah, he might fetch that coveted centre but at what price? We finally have a solid Top 4 D-core and then we go about breaking that up? Plus the optics of a deal also wouldn't be favourable for the Canucks as an organization. You sign the guy to a deal, just to trade him 1 day before his no-trade clause kicks in. Kind of a d*ck move!

We'll wait and see, but I must say that taking a step back and looking at the situation as a whole; it doesn't favour the Canucsk. The once so steady, controlled and calculating facade of the Canucks with a GM in the drivers seat who was dealing from a position of strength has crumbled to this, a kind of panic induced mess with trade rumours swirling where the GM doesn't seem to have a firm grip on the steering wheel anymore.

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