Friday Roundtable: Saturday Draft Edition!


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.

Matt Henderson

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.

Dylan Kirkby

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.


Auston Matthews

Tyler Horsfal

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.

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J.D. Burke

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.

  • TrueBlue

    So… J.D.

    You’re saying Dubois is vastly ahead of any defenceman, the only other player who might be available who even compares to Dubois is Tkachuk, but you want us to pick a defenceman?

    • TrueBlue

      Logan Brown’s stock seems to be skyrocketing. However, there is always concerns with big men and playing among boys and so on. I see some scouts rank him in the top 8 and others at the 10-12 range.

      If Dubois is gone then trade down and take a D man or maybe even Brown. Keller is a very intriguing pick but he is quite small and we have a few small guys that are likely sticking around.

      Do Brown or Dubois project as first line centres? Tons of uncertainty from what I’m reading.

      • Andy

        There will be a knock on anyone at #5

        Dubois: product of the Q

        Tkachuk: product of London

        Defenseman: none project as a #1, longer development time.

        I personally would take Brown over Tkachuk or Nylander and he at least deserves to be talked about in that tier, in my humble opinion.

  • TrueBlue

    Again, I would be careful pegging Dubois as a lock at center. Still have to agree that he would be great to acquire.

    I’ve said it many times before, but just for posterity: I believe Tkachuk takes a lot more flak than he deserves, and I think we would be very lucky to land him.

  • andyg

    Just looking at the compiled draft rankings at the mynhldraft site, discounting the NHL ones because they have separate lists for NA and International players, there are 12 lists.

    Top 3 are all the same with some swapping Finns.

    In #4 3 of the lists have PLD, 4 have Tkachuk and the others vary widely.

    Even if you just look at the 5 rankings lists in March and April (the most recent months), PLD only comes up in #4 once.

    All that considered, I’d say we have a realistic shot at him. Here’s hoping we don’t lose out AGAIN with this draft.

    Also, should the NHL adopt a rule that says your first draft picks over two consecutive years can’t add up to 5 or lower? So if you pick 1st one year you can’t do better than 5th the next for instance. Mostly to keep teams like Edmonton from sucking all the talent into their vortex of hopelessness.

  • andyg

    For me it is still Dubois or Tkachuk.

    Tkachuk has a lot more talent then I thought. Once he is into the offensive zone is ability to take over the game kicks in. I thought he might be riding the shirt tales of his line mates,but not so. This guy plays up to the level of his line mates and has a real nose for the net.
    He is killing it in the playoffs.

    I think Sergachev is hands down the best D man this year. I would not be crying if we grab at 5th either.

    Brown could be a real beast. It is hard to forecast his true potential, with his size and skill he could become a real sleeper.

    I am glad I’m not Benning!!!

  • TrueBlue

    If we can’t get Dubois then it all depends on what the trade is. If we go from 5th to a late round first pick
    and don’t get a very good prospect in return then the answer is stay where you are and get the best player. Brown and Sergachyov would be good choices.

  • andyg

    I would select Dubois seen the kid play hes very good tkachuck has slow foot speed rather nylander mentor under the sedins. Bellows is gonna be a steal brown has size but dosen’t use it poor man thorton. juhalovi will be good but johansen allard green may be just as good and they will be around in second round.

  • andyg

    I’d be really wary of the hype around Dubois — not because he’s not a great prospect but because of the narrative that seems to have made him into automatic “next one” after Matthews and the Finns. Draft rankings going into the season had him in the high teens and twenties and even mid-season were about 15. His stock has skyrocketed as have those of some others but I think conversely the value of guys like Chychrun and Juolevi have become seriously undervalued in a way that is foolish.

    If you can really get someone to trade you their pick and some other (worthwhile) asset to move down to the 6-9 range I guess you could do it. But outside of Montreal who in that range is going to covet a particular player (Dubois)? The Coyotes need a top-pairing D-prospect, the Sabres are deep at both D and C (though I could see them targeting Nylander as an excellent offensive force on the wing), and Montreal while they clearly need a top-end center can only really give us their first and maybe either their or Minnesota’s 2nd. And I’m not really sure that’s worth it.

    I don’t think our D is nearly as weak as we sometimes think it is (a season of seeing Bartkowski, Weber and Biega on our blue line will do that to you) and it’s been nice to see Tanev and Hutton patrolling the Canadian blue line at the worlds (and really how little do we give props to a guy who’s gone from playing a mid-major in the NCAA to an NHL top four to the world championships in the space of two years?) as well as adding some more depth and possibilities in Tryamkin and Stetcher. But for all that I would jump still at the opportunity to take any of Dubois, Juolevi, Chychrun, Sergachev, Nylander or Tkachuk. I find it hard to imagine that any of them would drop out of the top ten and losing such a player for the possibility of two lesser prospects a little lower down is foolhardy.

  • andyg

    Dubois at no. 5 wouldn’t cause me many sleepless nights. He’s got reasonable size and throws up the points. His speed isn’t a problem.

    Trading down for Brown is the next best centre option to my mind. He plays a pretty cerebral game.

    Keller and Nylander are too small. Need I remind everyone that the Canucks experimented with that whole “Smallest Team in the League” thing this last season and it did not end well. Why double down on a failed strategy?

    Of the defencemen, I like Sergachev the best. (And it would lead to great sales of jerseys with competing spelling!) Juolevi’s pretty steady too. Nabbing either of them wouldn’t be a disaster.

    Our need for a young scoring winger is less pressing, so I’d pass on Tkachuk. If another team has a real hard on for him, trade down.

    • andyg

      the Canucks did not fail this season because they were too small, they failed because they couldn’t score and their defence had more holes than Swiss cheese.

      A Center like Keller, someone who can elevate his linemates production can help the team immensely. The fact that he’s 5’10 might hurt his game if he was a mucker and grinder type who relied on out-muscling and out-working other players but his game is very much skill based, using his stickhandling, shooting and passing abilities to create opportunities in the offensive zone. Watch his highlights and see how he can draw players to him, and open up lanes for his teammates. His abilities in that area are top tier and while he may never have a 200 ft game, that shouldn’t matter that much when you draft him to provide offence.

      Crosby, Pavelski, Tyler Johnson are all Centers in the NHL whose teams are absolutely killing it in the playoffs right now, you want to know what else is similar about these three? They’re all under six feet tall.

      If Dubois were not available at 5, I would seriously consider trading down to get Keller. His top line potential is exactly what the Canucks need.

  • andyg

    JD: You know what surprised me the most? That you bother to ask PETBUGS anything and when he gives a dorky answer like Austen Matthews, you even include him.
    Pick the best possible player or trade down if offered something that can’t be refused.
    I like Tkachuk for his grit and nose for the net, something we are lacking. Dubois or Brown. Hell ya.

  • andyg

    I completely disagree with the notion of trading down from the 5th pick. The opportunity to draft that high has been a long time coming, don’t lose it! It may seem there is little difference in calibre of those ranked after number 4, but expert scouting eyes (Benning I hope) should be able to discern the best prospect. If other teams see little difference between #5 and a lower pick, why would they give up anything in a trade?

  • andyg

    If DuBois isn’t available I would totally go after Tkachuck…

    Imagine the power line Tkachuck/Horvat/Virtanen?! That’s a load coming at you 20 mins a game. I think Hehas gotten a bad rap and a lot of Hockey scouts don’t like guys that “rich kids”. They feel they don’t have the same drive….

    Benning is building a big strong team that will play in all three zones. It’s worked well for LA to the tune of 2 cups. I really don’t like the idea of trading down for picks. We have two at the top of the 2nd round. With a strong draft, players that would be middle 1st rounders other years will be available.

    DeBois or Tkachuck.

  • andyg

    Just saw a report from David Staples (Edmonton Journal) that Edmonton may look at Tkachuk if they keep their pick. His feeling is Caggiula will compete for a top 9 forward spot easing the pressure to put Tkachuk on the fast track.

    That might be why he signed there, if they promised him an immediate shot at a top 9 role.

    Staples seems to figure Tkachuk is clearly better than Dubois, so hopefully that’s something he picked up from the team.

    In other news, Jason Botchford says he figures picking Dubois would make McCann redundant so Benning could trade him for a top D prospect.

    • Andy

      Imagine being able to flip McCann (and maybe eat a Lupul sized contract) for Toronto’s first from Pittsburgh that allows us to pick Sergachev or Juolevi… Drool.

    • Andy

      I don’t believe that McCann will be redundant if Dubois is selected.

      McCann projects to be a Kesler type center and Dubois a big scoring center. Would make a great, Dubois/Horvat/McCann/Grandlund…..

      Not bad Jack

  • andyg

    Keller is going to college, we need a Sedin replacement sooner rather than later. If I am picking a Centre who is going to college it would be Tyson Jost.

    Pretty sure he would be playing Centre with another 1st round pick of Canucks, Brock Boeser. He is also very skilled.

    As I have stated before for several months my pick would be Dubois if available, Brown could be an option, no problem with Tkachuk either.

    In the 7 games I watched Chychrun play this season, he was not that impressive. He was not even the best defenseman on the team. If we take a defenseman take Sergachev.

  • andyg

    I cannot believe that you are all completely ignoring the talent of Alex Nylander, who, by the way, is ranked AHEAD of even Dubois in the ISS final rankings, and not below 6th on any of the reputable draft gurus’ lists going in. The reason for this is that the kid is a bona fide future superstar. Undoubtedly, he needs another year of junior to bulk up, but getting someone who is big enough to play now is not a priority, and he’s 6 feet tall (ie: taller than Kane and Crosby, same height as Steven Stamkos, etc, ie: he’s not “too small”, and he plainly has the most skill outside the top 3, perhaps tied with Dubois. He is not a reach at 5, anyone else except Dubois is a reach at 5 with Nylander on the table, save possibly Tkachuk. This isn’t just my opinion, it’s the consensus of all of the experts and I’m willing to bet the new PGPS or whatever it is called bears out something similar.

    People who want to draft Logan Brown, a 2nd line center at best, in the 5 spot over Nylander, an obvious perennial NHL scoring star, are out of their minds, and none of the defencemen available merits selection at that spot either. Clayton Keller might be almost as skilled, but then why aren’t we talking about his size, which is far more of a question mark than Nylander’s. Anyone advocating skipping Nylander, or trading down with the pick if Dubois is gone, frankly is out to lunch and has not really watched the kid play enough (eg: at the juniors last year, when he scored 2 pts vs Canada and completely outclassed the opponents he was on the ice against).