4 North American Defensemen the Canucks Should Target in Later Rounds of the Draft

Ryan Biech
June 15 2016 11:00AM

Now that I've profiled North American and European forwards that check out as solid bets in the later rounds of the draft, we'll turn out attention to the blue line.

We have two London Knights and two Kamloops Blazers, which is just a coincidence as I selected the players based on their pGPS ratings without looking at their teams.

One of the players is someone who has been slowly building up steam as a late round option after a good playoff run and Memorial Cup, while the other three are mostly unheard of.

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Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #7 Mikhail Sergachyov

J.D. Burke
June 15 2016 08:00AM

Mikhail Sergachyov built a strong case as the draft's best defenceman in his first year with the OHL's Windsor Spitfires. The Russian defender, who was selected sixth overall in the CHL Import Draft last summer, checks in as the seventh-ranked prospect in our consensus rankings.

The Spitfires played Sergachyov, an OHL rookie, primarily on their top pairing and used him in both phases of special teams. Sergachyov shined in those minutes, amassing the highest points, primary points and goals among first-time draft eligible defenceman in the OHL -- well ahead of Olli Juolevi and Jakob Chychrun. Those accolades pushed Sergachyov up draft boards and built a strong case for his Max Kaminsky Trophy award, given to the CHL's top defenceman. 

There's a lot to like about Sergachyov and very few boxes unchecked on the long list of qualities one hopes for in a top pairing defender. Sergachyov can skate, hit, pass and is an ace in transition. He's also a right-side defender, in spite of his left-handedness. Let's take a look at this late-risers long-term NHL prospects, on the other side of the jump.

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Canucks Army Free Agent Profiles: Frans Nielsen

J.D. Burke
June 14 2016 01:00PM

For a time, it looked as though Frans Nielsen would never know another home than Long Island. He's been their shutdown centre for as long as I can remember and there were never any signs that would change.

That's due in no small part to the team friendly contracts the New York Islanders signed Nielsen to in succession -- securing his last eight years for $13.1-million. At 32-years-old, Nielsen is likely looking to make up for lost time (and money) on his new deal and won't be so accommodating. For the Islanders -- an internal budget team, deep down the middle as they are -- it's unlikely they can afford the luxury.

The Islanders reluctance, financially driven or otherwise, likely leaves Nielsen's name in a crowded lot of top-six centres up for auction on July 1st. The Vancouver Canucks haven't any such need, but Nielsen is also a capable right winger -- playing alongside John Tavares for much of the season, playoffs included. Does it make sense, then, for the Canucks to add the Danish utility forward?

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Canucks name Dan Cloutier as goaltending coach; Melanson now goalie coach, player dev.

Ryan Biech
June 14 2016 11:44AM

It was announced today that the Vancouver Canucks have promoted Dan Cloutier to goaltending coach with the big club, while Rollie Melanson moves to goaltending coach, player development.

The announcement isn't surprising as it had long been rumoured that Melanson was looking for a role on the east coast, and Cloutier was the logical successor to the role with the Canucks.

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4 European Forwards the Canucks Should Target in Later Rounds of the Draft

Ryan Biech
June 14 2016 11:00AM

Kristian Reichel

Image: hokej.indes.cz

Yesterday I profiled some of the lower ranked forwards in the North American ranks that caught my eye and the favour of pGPS alike. Those players weren't so ignominiously ranked without reason. Each player comes with their own set of warts that serve to raise red flags within the scouting community. Some of those players have just enough skill though to warrant consideration from the middle rounds of the draft and beyond.

There's a similarly imperfect but intriguing lot from Europe, where things get especially interesting. Though they haven't the name recognition in NHL markets as some of their North American peers, this year's crop of Europeans can offer similar returns on the draft picks spent on them. Canucks fans should know this all too well based on last year's draft, when they snagged Dmitry Zhukenov and Lukas Jasek at the very tail end of the draft.

Let's leap across the pond to look at some forwards who could be deemed as 'under the radar' in the later rounds.

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