3 Players the Vancouver Canucks Could Select 5th Overall

The NHL’s Draft Lottery has come and gone and the Vancouver Canucks landed exactly where they were most likely to, at fifth overall. Put in those terms, it’s nowhere near as devastating as many Canucks fans, myself included, are taking the news of today’s events.

Besides, it’s not like there won’t be many great players available at fifth overall. Best of all is that there’s a tonne of discretion involved once you get into that range. Ask any two scouts to fill out the fourth to tenth overall picks and you’re likely to get two very different answers.

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I’m no scout, but I’ve followed many of the highly sought after prospects in this year’s draft and have a list of my own in the works. Nowhere near ready to publish it in full, but I can provide hair insight into what I’m working with by detailing three such prospects that the Canucks are likely to take in their newly resided fifth overall spot in the upcoming draft.

Pierre-Luc Dubois

The Edmonton Oilers would have to make a terrible mistake to afford the Canucks an opportunity to select Dubois. Then again, given the Oilers history at the draft, that’s not outside the realm of possibility. Dubois is an excellent prospect and one that Canucks general manager Jim Benning has scouted extensively this season. I’m sure he’d be thrilled at the prospect.

Dubois is one of the most versatile prospects in this draft, as he’s played both center and left-wing for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, since joining them in the 2014-15 campaign. His statistical profile is impressive, as Dubois was a near-point-per-game player in his rookie campaign, with 45 points in 54 games. This season he took that production to yet another level, shattering the point-per-game mark with 99 points in 62 games.

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As the season’s wound down, the scouts I’ve spoken to have grown increasingly fond of Dubois, which makes sense given his meteoric rise up Central Scouting’s draft rankings – jumping from about seventh to first overall among North American skaters. At 6’3, Dubois has an NHL ready body and should be physically mature enough to compete as soon as the 2017-18 season – though I wouldn’t rule out Dubois making the jump next fall. 

Olli Juolevi

If there’s any one reason the Canucks brain trust won’t be overly upset with today’s results is that it grants them licence to select a defenceman of their choosing – in all likelihood, it’s going to be forwards across the board going one through four. The Canucks have gone on record (although, that was in the middle of the season) as wanting to take a defenceman in this draft.

One of the worst kept secrets in hockey is Benning’s affection for Olli Juolevi of the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League. Just as poorly guarded is the order in which the Canucks have placed the high-end defenders in this year’s draft. Spoiler: Juolevi is at the top of the list.

Though I might quibble with the Canucks rankings, and Juolevi as the highest defender in particular, it’s an entirely defensible and sound position. Much like Dubois, Juolevi is seen as a late riser in scouting circles. His hugely successful showing at the IIHF U-20 World Hockey Championships helped his stock, as he led the Finnish team from the blue line with nine assists in seven games. In 57 games with the Knights, Juolevi has 42 points this season.

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Mikhail Sergachyov

Though it often goes unnoticed, Benning’s mentioned Sergachyov’s name a few times and it’s always positive. Which is to say that the Canucks think very highly of Sergachyov. With good reason. He brings everything you could want from a defenceman to the table.

Though he’s a relatively modest 6’2, Sergachyov plays much larger than his frame might indicate. He’s a smooth-skating defenceman, that can skate well, pass well and do everything in between. Sergachyov was the first-round pick of the Windsor Spitfires in the CHL Import Draft. In his first season with the Spitfires, Sergachyov is firing at a near-point-per-game pace, with 57 points in 67 games.

If the Canucks are dead-set on taking a defenceman at the fifth overall spot, Sergachyov should be their guy. He makes the game look effortless and I’ve heard him compared to Mattias Ohlund by a very well-respected scout in the hockey community. Landing another Mattias Ohlund would be pretty alright. 

  • andyg

    The best posting on this board was from Sean! We need offense in the worst way possible. And I am certain if Benning has anything in the brain at all,he would know scoring near the league low average goals for per game scored does not keep fans in the Rogers arena seats!

    Sure we need help just about everywhere but as the rankings were been finalized this Dubois kid shot up the ranks like a missile. We need his size and offensive talents and we actually will be able to draft him or tough/goal scoring Tkachuk whose bloodlines have been highly successful

  • Dirty30

    So what do we have that would be worth our pick plus that player/prospect for Columbus’ pick?

    Is there a deal that makes sense here?

    Canucks can take on salary if Columbus needs to move a bad contract.

    Add a couple late picks?

    Or Gaunce? Or McCann?

    Ship our first and Hansen for Columbus’ first, some late picks and a bad contract?

    What would be a good trade to move back to #3?

  • Almo89

    “The Edmonton Oilers would have to make a terrible mistake to afford the Canucks an opportunity to select Dubois.”

    What??? Why the hell would the Coilers take a centre?!?! I can see the Coil take a D man or trade down then take a D man. Canucks should land Dubois or Tkachuk.

    Sometimes I wonder about CA…

  • allsportsfan

    How can the Canucks pass on Tkachuk or Dubois? At this point they have some budding young D men in Tryamkin, Hutton, and Tanev. With some solid veterans like a healthy Edler, Hamhuis, Biega and a new addition, this is a solid core that can move the puck and at least be good enough. The best 5 players in this draft are all forwards and Tkachuk is EXACTLY the type of big time scorer that they need. He is big, nasty, fast and a leader. The top 3 players may be more immediate impact types but Tkachuk is not far off from them – in any other draft he is a top 3 player.

  • Almo89

    Defensemen signed or “in the system” for next year:


    Still to sign:

    The Canucks need more 20-18 year old D prospects? #noway

    • Andy

      I agree with the premise that the Canucks need a forward more, but only Edler, Tanev and Hutton are certain top 4 material in that group. Sbisa and Biega are both low end NHLers, and none of the rest are anything close to a sure thing. I have high hopes for Subban and Tryamkin, but otherwise that’s a whole lot of uncertainty.

      • Almo89

        There’s nothing but uncertainty surrounding a draft pick as well. Any draft pick in any year.

        The Canucks need warm bodies especially at forward. The RW depth chart is very thin.