There are two big questions for the Canucks leading up to Draft Day.
#1-So who’s it gonna at 22?
#2-Is Mike Gillis going to be wheeling and dealing to make another “bold” move?
Let me address question #2 first.
No, Gillis won’t be making any moves, but not for lack of trying. I just don’t believe that Gillis has any truly valuable assets with whom he’s willing to part. His priority so far this off-season has been signing the Sedins and, for better or worse, that is handcuffing him for going after other free agents or trade requests.
I still think that Gillis should offer the Sedins and Luongo the same type of contract – a front-loaded 7 year, $40m deal, or something close to that.
Now, on to the draft.
I don’t think the Canucks will move up or down in the draft and will be drafting, as originally positioned, at the 22nd spot.
The Canucks most immediate need at the entry level is on defense. The hole left by Luc Bourdon’s sudden death is being felt more and more as the days pass.
The Canucks need to backfill that position and draft a puck-moving defenseman.
From the various mock drafts and pundits, it looks there are three potential players the Canucks should be targeting with their pick.
Calvin De Haan – puck-moving defenseman. Quick, mobile skater.
David Rundblad – smart D, responsible, great shot.
Stefan Elliott – offensive-minded D, intelligent, quick stick.
Dylan Olson – big presence, very good puck movement.
If they get a gift from the Gods, John Moore will somehow get overlooked and fall into the Canucks lap. However, he’s projected to go in the mid-teens, so it would take a minor miracle for Vancouver to have him available at 22.
If the Canucks decide to go for offense, their options could be:
Carter Ashton, RW
Jordon Caron, RW
Kyle Palmieri, C
With all this to consider, I believe that the Canucks will have Stefan Elliott available and should make him the 22nd pick overall in this year’s draft. He fills their most immediate need, and appears to be closer to NHL-ready than the other candidates on this list. Also, Elliott is a local kid so is probably a huge Canucks fan and would likely want to try extra-hard to get a roster spot.
Draft Day is always a lot of fun. I love seeing the deals, the speculation, the shocks, the head-scratchers. Let’s hope we get to see all of that and more on Friday night.