Draftiness for the Canucks

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 27:  (L-R) General Manager Mike Gillis and assistant General Manager Laurence Gilman of the Vancouver Canucks sit at the draft table during the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 27, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As the 2010 NHL Entry Draft nears, Canucks Army takes a look at some possible Canucks first round draft picks, and who the Canucks are likely to take with the 25th overall selection.

Draft rankings seem to be all over the map. One set of rankings might have a player in the top 5, while someone else has him as a late first-rounder. Inevitably, it’s up to each General Manager to select the player that best suits the needs of their clubs. This year, Mike Gillis and the Canucks will select 25th in the first round, giving them a solid option but by no means the blue-chip lock of players like Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin.

The draft has proven over the years that some elite prospects simply fade away, while gems can be found in late rounds. All in all, it’s a crap shoot, but Gillis and his staff have shown a certain aptitude for selecting budding talent. Granted, we’re still waiting for Gillis’s selections to find a permanent spot in the Canucks roster, but all signs are pointing to a vast improvement in Canucks drafting.

I think the Canucks should still be targeting a blue-chip defensive prospect. While they have a few waiting in the wings (Taylor Ellington, Yann Sauve, Kevin Connauton), the Canucks are still lacking the real solid defensive prospect that they had in Luc Bourdon. Connauton may be the closest, but he is also the youngest, so the Canucks still have a couple of years before they’ll see him or other existing defensive prospects definitively secure a spot in the big league roster.

Assuming there is no blockbuster trade moving the Canucks up or down the draft order, let’s look at some possible and even likely Canucks first round selections on the eve of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Jarred Tinordi – a solid defensive prospect, he’s the son of former NHLer Mark Tinordi. Jarred has already committed to Notre Dame in the fall, so he certainly wouldn’t make it into the Canucks plans for the coming season. However, he is a good talent and he could very likely leave ND after only 1 or 2 seasons to join the professional ranks.

Jaden Schwartz – a smallish centre, much in the small mold as Jordan Schroeder. With Schroeder locking his sights on making the Canucks this coming season, adding Schwartz would replenish the prospect depths with a speedy, smart centre. Originally from Regina, he’s off to Colorado College next season.

Tyler Toffoli – 6′ centre from Ottawa, he put some great numbers this past year. What he lacks in speed, he makes up for in hockey smarts.

Tyler Pitlick – a big strong American centre, currently playing at Minnesota State. Plays mean. The Canucks have a dodgy track record with drafting kids out of US colleges, so I’m guessing they would be gun shy on selecting him.

Stanislav Galiev – a solid Russian RW, he put up solid numbers in both the regular and post-season with St John in the QMJHL, with another Canucks prospect – Yann Sauve. Smart player, great with the puck and good defensive sense.

Quinton Howden – he’s a big Western Canadian left winger with great skating ability. When I hear him being described I think of Rick Nash. He’d be a GREAT addition to the Canucks, but he’ll likely get selected well before Gillis has a chance to pick him.

Dylan McIlrath – his ranking is all across the board, so the Canucks have only an outside shot of landing this hulking defenseman. He is possibly the closest to playing in the NHL, so if he is still available, he could be closer than any prospect they have of making the leap to the big league. He is certainly the highest ranked prospect on this list, but he may fall into Gillis’s lap.

I would LOVE the Canucks order of availability of those players to be the following:

  1. Dylan McIlrath
  2. Quinton Howden
  3. Jarred Tinordi

Given the Canucks’ needs and the drank rankings, I see their most likely selections as:

  1. Jarred Tinordi
  2. Jaden Schwartz
  3. Tyler Toffoli

Let’s see what magic Gillis and his team can conjure up on draft day. Will we see a big trade? Will the Canucks move up the ladder? Will they move down to take a roster player now? Or will they batten down the hatches and stay the course?

We’ll find out Friday!