Benning on taking Juolevi 5th overall: 'we couldn't go by him'

Jeff Paterson
June 24 2016 10:37PM

Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig / USA TODAY Sports

BUFFALO, NY – Jim Benning exercised great caution when he invoked the name Niklas Lidstrom while describing what made Olli Juolevi so attractive the Vancouver Canucks felt they had no choice but to nab the Finnish defensman with the fifth overall selection in Friday’s National Hockey League draft. 

In no way was the team’s general manager making a direct comparison between the London Knights blueliner and the Detroit Red Wings legend, but Benning was trying to convey just how much he liked the 18-year-old’s all-around game and his ability to have an impact at both ends of the ice.

“He’s good in his own end, he reads the play well and has good defensive awareness,” Benning said of Juolevi’s many strengths. “And when he gets the puck on his stick, he has his head up and he can move the puck up ice, he can skate the puck up ice, he’s good on the power play, he can walk the line on the power play, he gets his shot through and on the net and of all the defensemen we liked his all-around game the best.”

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Juolevi: 'it's awesome to be going to Vancouver'

Jeff Paterson
June 24 2016 07:38PM

Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports

BUFFALO, NY – Olli Juolevi has done a lot of winning in 2016. 

He was part of Finland’s World Junior team that struck gold on home ice in January. He was part of a London Knights team that won the Ontario Hockey League title and then claimed the Memorial Cup a month ago. On Friday night, he experienced another victory of sorts, as the top defenseman selected in the National Hockey League entry draft when he was nabbed fifth overall by the Vancouver Canucks.

The Canucks opted for the 18-year-old from Helsinki after their initial target coming into the draft Pierre Luc Dubois of Cape Breton was taken third overall by Columbus. When Jesse Pulujarvi fell to Edmonton with the fourth pick, the Canucks were left to decide between Juolevi and his London teammate Matthew Tkachuk.

The Canucks opted for the blueliner.

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Taking Juolevi makes sense for Canucks

Ryan Biech
June 24 2016 07:05PM

Earlier tonight the Canucks selected Finnish born defenceman Olli Juolevi, which will go a long way towards helping their long term defensive outlook.

Many fans wanted the Canucks to take Pierre-Luc Dubois, and if he wasn't there, to take Juolevi's teammate Matthew Tkachuk.  Which was fair as the Canucks also need to add offensive prospects in the pipeline, but taking Juolevi makes sense because quite simply these players don't grow on trees.

This afternoon it became clear as the draft was approaching that the Canucks were targeting Dubois or Juolevi, and the signs were actually available sooner.

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Vancouver Canucks Select Olli Juolevi Fifth Overall

J.D. Burke
June 24 2016 05:56PM

The Vancouver Canucks have drafted Olli Juolevi fifth overall at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Though the Canucks were linked to Pierre-Luc Dubois for much of the day, the Columbus Blue Jackets shook the apple cart by foregoing Puljujarvi in favour of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles product.

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Canucks Army Roundtable: Survey Says!

Matthew Henderson
June 24 2016 04:00PM

You may have heard by now that the NHL Entry Draft is taking place tonight and tomorrow in the great city of Buffalo, New York. (I've never been so don't quote me on this). The Canucks pick is highly discussed, as GM Jim Benning as said on multiple occasions that the pick could be moved at the right price, but he's happy with his selection at 5. There's been varying reports on who the Canucks covet in this slot, but I decided to take the question to the great writers of CA. 

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