Canucks 2013 NHL Draft Preview: Size Matters

Blake Murphy
June 27 2013 01:59PM

Laurence Gilman and Vancouver's Scouts Meet to Discuss Draft Strategy.
Screencap via Canucks TV

Hey did, you know the NHL has an Entry Draft this weekend? Yup, not joking. On the Sunday morning of a Monday-long weekend, no less. Count teh ratingz, suckas.

Anyway, the draft is always a lot of fun, though generally not as much fun for the Vancouver Canucks, who usually pick pretty low. This year, the Canucks pick 24th overall in each round except for the second, as that pick is owed to the Dallas Stars. It makes this year’s instalment slightly more exciting than last year’s (five picks), 2010’s (five, with none in the first three rounds) and 2008’s (five), though not as enticing as 2011’s (eight picks) or 2009’s (seven).

I highlight those years, of course, because those are the five drafts that have taken place under the rule of General Manager Mike Gillis. Drance did a nice job breaking down Gillis’ draft history by league earlier this week, and I’m here to follow up on Lord of the Drance’s 2012 piece on Gillis’ preferences by player size.

But first, some background on why people tend to discuss the size of players in the NHL, specifically at draft time.

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Canucks 2013 NHL Draft Preview: WHL Prospects to Target

Jeff Angus
June 27 2013 09:08AM

The Canucks have seemingly made a habit of avoiding picking players from the WHL at the NHL Draft in recent years, especially with high draft picks (Taylor Ellington notwithstanding). Year after year this fact is lamented by fans who watch hometown kids develop into NHL studs like Milan Lucic and Brendan Gallagher.

The Canucks will be re-emphasizing the WHL at the draft this year – just as they should. The WHL is a fantastic developmental league, the second biggest source of NHL draft picks, and it's about time that the team used its geographical advantage.

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The Buyout Window Opens: Will the Canucks Take Advantage?

Thomas Drance
June 27 2013 07:35AM

Keith Ballard is Vancouver's prime buyout candidate.
Screencap via Canucks TV

The NHL's "first buyout window" opened late last night, at 8PM PST. It will extend through regular NHL business hours (or until 5 PM EST, 2 PM PST) on July 4th, the eve of free-agency. For this season and next the buyout window will be especially interesting because, per the terms of the 2013 NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement (CBA), teams will be able to use a maximum of two "compliance buyouts," or buyouts which will carry zero salary cap ramifications. We broke down the mechanism in detail earlier this month if you want a quick primer.

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Evening Headshots: June 26th

Thomas Drance
June 26 2013 07:01PM

Don Taylor wastes no time trying to goad John Tortorella in a controversial answer about Larry Brooks.

Today at Canucks Army we broke down essentially every method the Canucks might use to get out from under Roberto Luongo's contract, and took a longer look at Mike Gillis's draft strategy as it pertains to player age.

Read past the jump for more Canucks links and other goodies!

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Canucks 2013 NHL Draft Preview: "Lottery picks" and Mike Gillis' draft strategy

Cam Charron
June 26 2013 04:44PM

The Canucks selected 20-year-old Alexandre Mallet in the 2nd round last season (via Youtube)

Doubt I'll get away with saying it on this blog, but one of the reasons I wanted the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup is because I respect how their organization was built. The core players on the team, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and David Krejci, weren't acquired because the team was bad for several years in a row and earned a bunch of lottery picks.

Chicago has Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Los Angeles had Drew Doughty. The Pittsburgh Penguins had Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal (who they turned into other stuff). One of the issues afflicting the NHL right now is that it's really tough to win without top talent, and it's tough to acquire top talent without being terrible for a few years in a row without getting very lucky at the draft table.

(Yes, Boston has Tyler Seguin, but he wasn't drafted with the Bruins' pick, nor was he a real core guy throughout the playoffs, scoring a single goal).

I have to credit Mike Gillis for looking for a way around this core "rewaring failure issue." While his team was picking low in the draft each season, he had the idea of drafting older players that better fit into the team's minor league system. Now on the organization's third AHL team in four seasons, Gillis' vision of a powerful AHL team that quickly fit NCAA grads hasn't exactly come to fruition. Rather than look for younger, high-risk, high-reward players, Gillis wanted immediacy.

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