Welcome to this week’s edition of the Friday Roundtable, brought to you by Saturday. It’s been a whirlwind week for us at the Army, so cut us a little slack on the late submission.
Anyways, now that that’s out of the way, onto the matter at hand. As we’ve discussed ad nauseum, the Canucks aren’t picking first, second or even third overall in the NHL Entry Draft. They lost the lottery. Three times, no less. They were leapfrogged twice and fell to fifth. Death, taxes and things going wrong for the Canucks, and so on.
So, I figured I would poll the Canucks Army staff on which prospect they would take with the fifth overall selection. And I have to say, at least one of these answers surprised the hell out of me.
If Dubois is gone before them, I’d trade down, grab another pick to pick another prospect later in the draft, and hope to snag one of the defensemen with the pick you acquire in the 8-12 range. If Dubois is there, you take him as he would be a great piece to further the franchise’s development.
For me, Dubois is almost the only good pick here. There are too many red flags with Tkachuk, and the defensemen are so close in terms of quality that taking one at 5, when a similarly skilled player would be available in the 10-15 range, would be poor value.
The safer pick would be to take Dubois if he is on the table. He has had two great years in the QMJHL, and is a big strong center that teams would love to have. Combined with his great skill set, Dubois’ versatility to play both center and the wing well make him a very valuable prospect with a lot of upside.
However, I would take Clayton Keller. Keller has put on a clinic this year. He ranks third in all-time in points per game for the US u18 National Development Program behind Austin Matthews and Phil Kessel, and ahead of guys like Patrick Kane and Jack Eichel. Keller’s game-breaking skill is on full display when you watch him play. He is a top-notch playmaker and an excellent skater. All-in-all, Keller’s one of the most skilled players in the draft and will probably go a little later due to his size. You could likely trade down a few spots to get him, but he is a great pick at fifth overall.
I can’t imagine any scenario wherein Pierre-Luc Dubois is still available at fifth overall. If the Oilers trade down, you better believe the team in their stead is taking Dubois. Even if they don’t, Dubois is head and shoulders better than any of the defencemen in this draft, and I might even argue the same when comparing him to Matthew Tkachuk.
Now, operating under this assumption, I’m going to throw Mikhail Sergachyov a bone here. He’s far and away the best defender in this draft and the further I delve into his season the more obvious this becomes. He leads defencemen from the OHL in points, primary points and even strength points by draft eligible defenders. Not to mention, he’s an absolute treat to watch. I’ve heard him compared to Mattias Ohlund, though I’ve often found him to play more like a young Alexander Edler.
Hell, if the Canucks can trade down and land Sergachyov… that my friends is the dream scenario.