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Photo Credit: Matt Henderson

2017 Consolidated Draft Rankings: March

I skipped over last month, what with the NHL trade deadline and all, but we are now just three months away from the NHL Entry Draft, and plenty of services have dropped new rankings on us, so it’s a fine time to take a look at how the first round is shaping up.

Of course this article is going to be of special interest to woeful teams like the Canucks and, for the first time in basically forever, the Red Wings. But that doesn’t mean that playoff teams like the Oilers, Flames and (probably) the Leafs should be neglecting the NHL draft, especially since all three of those teams still have their first round selections. Things may look good now, but shirking your responsibility on the draft floor is exactly how the Canucks ended up where they are now. Heed their lessons!

Anyway, it’s been a busy month for prospect watching, as all but one of the previously included services have released new rankings since our last Consolidated Rankings article was published, while I’ve also added a couple of new ones to the mix. Future Considerations is the lone holdover from January, while Bob McKenzie and The Hockey News have gotten into the fray as well. ESPN’s Corey Pronman finally put out a new list, having not done so since October.

Here’s a look at the lists than were compiled to produce the consolidated rankings:

Service Future Considerations Hockey
Prospect.com
ISS Hockey McKeen’s
Author Staff Staff Staff Staff
Month January February March February
Service TSN Craig’s List TSN Mid-Season Sportsnet The Hockey News ESPN Draftbuzz
Author Craig Button Bob McKenzie Jeff Marek Ryan Kennedy Corey Pronman Staff
Month February January March February February February

Without further ado, let’s get right into the top 31 players available.haven’t bothered to include the CSS rankings in these articles because they’re still making the ridiculous choice to split their rankings between North America and Europe, making it unfeasible to use their lists in the averages.

In previous editions of the consolidated rankings, I’ve published the list and noted some of the biggest risers and fallers. I’m switching it up this time, as I’ll instead run through the entire projected first round with a quick blurb on each player.

  1. Nolan Patrick

    Above average to great at everything, with no discernible weaknesses. Patrick is dominant at the junior level, as his puck protection and control are unrivaled. His shot is extremely dangerous, but it’s his ability to set up teammates and scoring chances that sets him apart. It’s often remarked that Patrick might have gone in the 5-8 region had he been eligible for the 2016 draft, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s not a remarkable prospect. With a September 19th birthday, consider that if he had gone in 2016, he’d be by far the youngest player in that draft, and yet he still managed to score 40 goals and 100 points and lead the WHL in playoff scoring – not too shabby.

  2. Nico Hischier

    The Swiss import is dominating the Quebec League, sticking in the top ten in scoring despite missing chuncks of time for the World Juniors (where he was also great), and some minor injuries. Not physically dominant, but he bests Patrick in speed and offensive creativity.

  3. Gabriel Vilardi

    More of a playmaker than a shooter, Vilardi is a dynamic offensive catalyst with highly rated hands, deceptive and slippery agility, and extremely good puck protection skills. Voraciously hunts down the puck and strips it from opponents when he doesn’t have it. One of the youngest members of the draft class, Vilardi already looks like he’s in complete control of the game at the OHL level.

  4. Timothy Liljegren

    Every top ranked offensive defenceman gets compared to Erik Karlsson, though Liljegren may be more deserving than most – and not just because he’s Swedish. Shows end-to-end ability at the SHL level, while defending men is understandably a work in progress. Liljegren is still considered by most to be the best defenceman available, but his hold on that title in getting tenuous with Cale Makar rocketed up the rankings behind up.

  5. Casey Mittelstadt

    A shifty and creative centre, Mittelstadt has tremendous speed and agility and the puckhandling skills to go along with it. Some have referred to him as this draft’s Clayton Keller, and given that Keller is considered by some to be the best prospect outside the NHL, no one wants to risk underrating him. Mittelstadt was leading the USHL in point when he opted mid-season to returning to his high school team, where he averaged 2.56 points per game. With his high school season over, he’s put up six points in three games since returning to the USHL in mid-March.

  6. Owen Tippett

    Physically imposing, a powerful skater, and an NHL ready shot, Owen Tippett is a dangerous package. Unlike some previously high-drafted players with similar skillsets, Tippett has a high level of hockey intelligence, reading plays before they happen, and knowing when to attack and when to support teammates, and when to back off.

  7. Eeli Tolvanen

    Tolvanen has an incredible shot arsenal, able to unleash hard and accurate wrist, snap and slap shots, as well as one-timers. His speed is above average, though not lightning quick, but he uses quick decision making to appear even faster. He has defensive zone positioning and awareness, though he doesn’t always have defensive zone interest.

  8. Martin Necas

    Necas has emerged as another viable option for teams looking to grab a centre at the upcoming draft, working his way into the second tier of pivots with Vilardi, Mittelstadt and Cody Glass. The fact that Necas has spent the entire season in the top Czech league is impressive, as was his World Junior performance on a relatively lackluster Czech squad. He’s a very quick skater, but also excels at slowing the game down and distributing the puck.

  9. Cale Makar

    Makar burst on to the draft scene in the latter half of the season. Routinely makes minced meat of AJHL competition, skating through opponents almost at will, and is very gifted creatively. There’s no doubt that he won’t get away with all the risks he takes now at the next level though, so he’ll have to pick his spots better when he gets into the college ranks. That said, his utter offensive dominance from the backend would make any team salivate.

  10. Michael Rasmussen

    He’s a 6-foot-5 centre and he scores a lot of goals – a prime candidate for scouts and teams to overrate. It’s not that power play scoring is bad; it’s that his 5-on-5 scoring isn’t at the rate of a WHL first liner – in fact, it’s not even at the WHL average. Shoulder surgery has ended his season early, but he still had 50 games to work with, and didn’t make it to 20 points at 5-on-5. With his size, mobility and positional awareness, he should still be a serviceable NHLer, but I’d wait until the late teens to think about grabbing him.

  11. Elias Pettersson

    Pettersson and his usual linemate, Canucks prospect Jonathan Dahlen, are making the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s tier pro league, look like a junior league, putting up massive numbers as teenagers. He has some work to do on his skating and he certainly needs to fill out his frame, but he’s improving nearly every game and has been a riser in the rankings this season – four services now have him in the top ten. He’s play both centre and the wing in the Allsvenskan, but projects as a top six winger in the NHL.

  12. Cody Glass

    One of the most improved players during his draft year, Glass thinks the game extremely well and knows the areas in which he needs to improve – and then he improves in them. His puckhandling skills are bordering on elite, and his playmaking game is very strong. His skating a physicality are good enough to allow him to be dominant at the WHL level, but they are areas that he’ll need to make further strides in before moving to professional hockey. Given his trajectory, he could be a future first line centre.

  13. Miro Heiskanen

    Heiskanen has had an impressive season. Despite being a July birthday, making him one of the younger members of the draft class, Heiskanen scored 10 points and average 18:39 of ice time on a playoff team in Liiga, the top Finnish league. A little undersized, his high level hockey IQ and mobility are allowing him to dictate the pace of play without needing to be an ominous physical presence.

  14. Klim Kostin

    Slipping out of the top ten, Kostin’s season hasn’t gone as planned. He struggled to find playing time in the KHL (averaging just 4:28 in eight games), and his short stint in the second tier VHL wasn’t much better. His season has ended far too early, as he was shut down for shoulder surgery, but his stock is still buoyed by earlier international play, including a dominant performance at this year’s Ivan Hlinka tournament.

  15. Lias Andersson

    Andersson’s 42 games in the SHL this season is among the most professional games played by any available prospects, while the 22 games he played in the SHL in his draft-minus-one season are an even better sign. He has a sturdy frame that he uses well to protect the puck, and plays a calm, efficient puck-possession game. Andersson displays good offensive instincts, and backchecks hard and intelligently as well.

  16. Ryan Poehling

    Poehling is the best available prospect currently playing in the NCAA, where he has put up seven goals and 13 points in 37, playing for St. Cloud State with his 20-year brothers Jack and Nick (both of whom Ryan has outscored this season). Having just turned 18 on January 3rd, Poehling is one of the youngest players in the college ranks this season, and accordingly he has struggled on occasion. A playmaking centre, Poehling makes skillful plays that indicate that there is more offence to come in the future.

  17. Juuso Valimaki

    Valimaki is a funny case: scouts and analysts tend to praise his defensive game first, while noting that his offensive game is efficient, if not flashy. However, Valimaki has some of the best numbers of any available defencemen (granted, some of the top end competition here, such as Liljegren and Heiskanen, are playing against men, while Makar is playing against inferior competition, so not everyone is on even footing). Valimaki’s lack of “flash” or a booming slapshot likely lead to him being overlooked in the offensive category, but his intelligence, good decision making, and near flawless execution of correct, simple plays contributes to his team consistently tilting the ice against the opposition.

  18. Callan Foote

    The son of 1000+ game NHLer Adam Foote, Callan is another promising defenceman developing in the defensive factory of the Kelowna Rockets. He plays a “rough-and-tumble” style and eats a ton of minutes. A smooth skater, he moves quite quickly for a 6-foot-6, 200+ pound defender, though he’s better in open than in traffic. His height and wingspan afford him a long reach with his stick, which he is adept at using to break up plays – though he’s partial to big body checks as well. Has some offensive upside, possessing an impressive point shot.

  19. Kailer Yamamoto

    The pint sized offensive dynamo from Spokane, Washington doesn’t get a whole lot of respect as a result of his size. Going off his numbers alone, Yamamoto should be closing in on the top 5. Instead, the 5-foot-9 winger has to continually prove that he can overcome the size bias, and he has been – he’s only 18 but he’s tearing apart the WHL for the third straight year already.

  20. Nick Suzuki

    For a kid that has been one of the best players in the OHL this season, Suzuki has had to work awfully hard to get recognized as one of the draft’s best two-way centres. As with many of the other top pivots on this list, Suzuki’s intelligence is one of his most praised attributes. His defensive play and discipline are highly rated, and with five 4-on-5 goals this season, he’s a shorthanded threat as well. When accounting for situational, age, and league adjustments, Suzuki has some of the best offensive numbers of anyone available in the draft – it’s no wonder that he’s beginning to creep into some analysts’ top tens.

  21. Nicolas Hague

    Nic Hague is an interesting case, with a lot of discrepancies in opinion around him. He’s been rated as high as ninth (by Future Considerations) and as low as 55th (by Craig Button), while a high cohort projection (86% by pGPS) and an impressive adjusted scoring rate indicate that the numbers favour him. He’s the type of player that you’d think scouts would be falling over themselves for though – he’s 6-foot-5, he can really skate, and he scores goals: his 18 tallies were behind only Juuso Valimaki’s 19 among all available 2017 defencemen.

  22. Kristian Vesalainen

    Playing in either the SHL or the Finnish Liiga as a 17-year old is traditionally a great sign for a prospect. Kristian Vesalainen has played in both leagues this season, but unfortunately has struggled to establish himself in either. A pre-season top ten prospect, the sturdy Swedish winger has been one of this class’s most prominent fallers as his point totals dwindle.

  23. Maxime Comtois

    Another big faller, Comtois was supposed to be a top 5 pick this year, but is now headed towards the back end of the first round. Scouts still find his skillset promising: he’s a decisive, physical winger with a lethal shot and separation speed – who wouldn’t be interested? But we’re still waiting for the production to match expectations.

  24. Shane Bowers

    Bowers is one of the top options out of the USHL this year. Bowers has been on the radar for a while, and made headlines a year and a half ago, when he opted to play for the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks to keep his NCAA options open, despite being drafted fourth overall by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (granted, Bowers’ agent Pat Brisson advised Cape Breton against the selection). Bowers has since comitted to Boston University for next season.

  25. Isaac Ratcliffe

    A 6-foot-5 winger with some wheels, Ratcliffe scored a nice goal at the CHL Top Prospects Game to put his name on the map. Ratcliffe plays a power forward type game, incorporating a healthy amount of speed and physicality. He displays hockey sense at both ends of the ice, and loves to battle in front of the net.

  26. Nikita Popugayev

    Popugayev had one of the more impressive showings at the CHL Top Prospect Game, including what might have been its nicest play: a perfectly placed lofty backhand saucer pass to spring Nico Hischier for a breakaway goal. However, Popugayev’s WHL play has been inconsistent, and after a hot start with his new team after the WHL trade deadline, the Prince George Cougar winger has been in a serious slump, producing just 18 points in 31 games with his new team.

  27. Urho Vaakanainen

    Another young defenceman who has spent his draft year defending against men in the European pro ranks, Vaakanainen contributed six points while averaging 14:57 (third pairing minutes) in 41 games with JYP of Liiga. Vaakanainen is a good skater capable of making hard and accurate breakout passes while under pressure. He possesses a good slapshot that is currently boasting more power than accuracy.

  28. Erik Brannstrom

    A Swedish rearguard that played games in the SHL more often than not this season, Brannstrom has demonstrated the ability to defend against men despite being just 5-foot-10 – and he won’t even turn 18 until September. He sees the ice very well and is quite capable of making both long and shorts tape-to-tape passes. With good skating and intelligent breakouts, Brannstrom looks to be made for the modern NHL.

  29. Robert Thomas

    Thomas came on to the scene a little late this year, though he did manage to get into the CHL Top Prospects Game. He’s been a little buried on a strong London Knights team, and even with Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuk, and Christian Dvorak graduating to the NHL, he still has to contend with Cliff Pu and Mitchell Stephens for ice time. His estimated Points per 60 (2.77 at 5-on-5) makes his pedestrian counting stats (16 goals, 66 points in 66 games) look a bit more impressive. A creative, yet dependable two-way centre, Thomas drew comparisons to the Canucks’ Bo Horvat from the Top Prospects Game broadcast.

  30. Kole Lind

    Lind has exploded up the rankings, moving up to 30th after averaging 49th in the January series. On a team with a handful of other forwards that have already been drafted into the NHL (Nick Merkley, Dillon Dube, Calvin Thurkauf), Kole Lind is leading his team in points, with 87 in 70 games. Lind is developing as a power forward, and plays his best hockey when he’s physical and aggressive.

  31. Alexei Lipanov

    A well rounded, all situations player who has split this season between the Russian second tier league (VHL) and junior league (MHL), Lipanov has high level skating ability and puckhandling.

The tiers have changed a little since the last consolidated rankings, with Patrick and Hischier cemented as a pair at the top of the charts. Liljregren has fallen into the second tier, and is now mixed in with Vilardi, Mittelstadt and Tippett.

There wasn’t a whole lot of movements of first round picks at this year’s NHL trade deadline, despite the speculation that might be willing to part with top selections in what is considered to be a bit of a shallow draft (though I do think the “weakness” of it has been a bit overpronounced). There are currently just two teams with multiple picks in the first round (Arizona and St. Louis both have two), though Vancouver would get San Jose’s first round pick if the Sharks win the Stanley Cup, thanks to a stipulation on the Jannik Hansen deal.

It’ll be a while until the first round selections are cemented, even with the regular season ending in a couple of weeks. Non-playoff teams will have to wait until the draft lottery to find out just where they’ll select, while the results of the playoffs will determine the rest of the field.

Of course, that doesn’t prevent the mathematically inclined from projection the likelihood of the league’s bottom feeders getting their hands on the top picks this June.

This is good news for Vancouver fans, who desperately need some help up the middle, as well as for Detroit fans, who haven’t had a top ten pick in decades and now have a realistic shot at the top five. Winnipeg is looking like a candidate for another top ten pick as well, to add to their already terrifying stable of prospects.

It’s hard to predict when another Consolidated Rankings article will be necessary, as some services start spacing out their published lists as the regular season wraps up. Until next time, happy prospecting!

  • apr

    I have the Nucks picking 4th or 5th and drafting Vilardi. Assuming that Colorado and Phoenix have the top 2 picks, it would not surprise me that they pick one of the defenseman (Liligren or Maker) as D is a glaring need for both teams. Plus both teams already have really good centers/prospects. Then all bets are off, and the Nucks could be looking at Patrick or Herschier at 4. That said, if draft goes according to plan and all 3 centers are gone, I don’t know how they can let Maker get past them

      • apr

        I can see Jim making a trade with Colorado and Arizona if he is close enough and either team can get the D that they want. Something plus a second rounder variety.

        • Chris the Curmudgeon

          Yeah, that’s not unlikely, though they might insist on more than a 2nd rounder if they think people are viewing Patrick as a generational level guy (not sure if he is).

  • Pat Quinn Way

    Excellent update – though I think it’s worth mentioning that as far as i am aware, Vegas gets to pick no lower than third in their first three drafts?

    Nolan Patrick would be a huge pick for us (and karma for last years lotto nightmare) and with him and Bo duking it out between them for 1st-2nd line centre duties the future would look massively brighter.

    However, an elite D with offensive upside like Liljegren or Makar would be fantastic for me too.

    C’mon Benning don’t you dare blow it like you did with Virtanen over Ehlers/Nylander and Juolevi over Tkachuk.

      • Pat Quinn Way

        That’s my point, Tkachuk is doing it in style now and will only get better (barring injury). Juolevi is a huge question mark and hasn’t taken the next step in the minors this season. In todays ‘what have you done for me lately’ nhl, that just doesn’t cut it. Tkachuk was a massive miss imo.

        • TD

          I get that Thachuk is already playing now, but defence men always take longer to develop. If, and it’s a definitely and if, Juolevi becomes a top pairing d man, then he is equivalent to top line forward.

        • Bud Poile

          1.Olli isn’t in the NHL.
          2.Olli is not a question mark,whatsoever.
          3.Olli has the identical offensive output as he had last season-without Marner,Dvorak and Ka-Chuck.Furthermore,he pulled it off doind second unit duties.

          • LTFan

            Tkachuk was NHL ready. IMO and others, the Canucks needed scoring and Tkachuk was doing that in Jr. I know that hindsight is 100% of foresight but based on what the Canucks needed and still need, Tkachuk should have been picked. Juolevi is a question mark at the moment, I am hoping that he turns out to be a good pick and makes the team in 2017 – 2018.

    • Killer Marmot

      However, an elite D with offensive upside like Liljegren or Makar would be fantastic for me too

      The Canucks would be insane to pick a defenseman. They have more promising defensive talent than they know what to do with, but are desperate for young top-caliber offense.

      • Pat Quinn Way

        Nonsense. My point is, as Benning himself has said, every team needs an elite ‘offensive’ defenceman who can score points, move the puck and quarterback a PK like Daughty, LeTang, Keith, Karlsson etc and they are very hard to get. No one on our roster or in the system lives up to this billing including Juolevi, but according to the pundits Liljegren or Makar do, so that makes them second choice to only Patrick as the top line centre we need imo.

          • Neil B

            PK was 42nd, Shea Weber was 49th. No one is saying that you can’t get a good player beyond the top 3 picks. Every pick, besides #2, oddly, is pretty much a crapshoot. It’s just that the smaller the number, the better the odds. Any 1000-to-1 shot comes through roughly once in a thousand tries (by definition). If you have that lottery ticket, it doesn’t make the others bad choices; it just makes you lucky.

            Hansen was almost literally the last kid picked in his draft year; we’ve gotten several good years from him, and with a little bit of luck (go Sharks!), a 31st pick overall. Some times you get lucky.

          • Holly Wood

            when a player is picked say in the 3 round or higher and he develops into a star player, that is not good drafting! If the club thought he was any good they wouldn’t have waited that long to pick him. What that is, in my opinion is really good player development and actually says more about the players character than anything. Hockey people have raved for years about the wings drafting well when its really about what happens after the draft

      • If the best player available is a D (who likely has Top 2 potential), you take the defenceman. You can always trade the player for the position you need without losing value. Look at the Hall-Larsen trade, NJ got great value for Larsen, in my mind. How about Jones for Johanssen? Then look at Carolina, there are articles that say lots of teams would love to trade for one of their defencemen – Carolina has been taking D for the last few years and are in a position to convert some of them to other positional needs. Alternatively, if Juolevi + Liljegren/Makar could become our Keith/Seabrook, we’d be set defensively for the next decade.

        Our D pool is not as strong as you think. We have a lot of bottom 4 defensive depth but very little Top 2 potential. Tanev now and Juolevi with potential. Stecher, Tryamkin and Hutton, the jury is still out. Gudbranson, based on his current play, is not a Top 4 guy but hopefully that will change after recovering from surgery. Edler is past his prime and isn’t Top 2 material anymore.

        • Killer Marmot

          First, whatever you think of the Canucks’ young defensemen, they are far more impressive than the Canucks’ young forwards. The situation there is dire, especially given the looming retirement of the Sedins.

          Second, you say “if the best player available is a D”. But the rankings are only an approximation, a guess of how 18 year olds are going to play when they are 25. You never know who truly is the best available player. There is enough uncertainty that skipping over the 5th highest ranked player to picked the 6th highest rank holds little risk.

          Third, you make out like trades are an easy thing to do. They aren’t. There is no guarantee that another club will want to relinquish an elite center for an elite defenseman. The less risky thing is to try very hard to draft the type of player you most in need of.

          • The fact that the Canucks defence corp is more impressive than their forwards is more of a statement about how bad the forward corps is. But that’s only temporary if Boeser, Virtanen, Boeser, Goldobin and Dahlen pan out.

            What I was objecting to in your original comment was the idea of categorically rejecting the drafting of another defenseman. Because what you are implying is to draft by position, not by best-player-available. That’s a practice that I can’t support and I think a lot of other armchair GM’s would agree. I rebutted by giving recent examples of how drafting a blue-chip Top 5 defensive prospect can translate into first line offense. I agree that such a trade is difficult because also consider that most teams *can’t* give up that kind of quality because they don’t have the depth. NJ fleeced Edmonton on Larssen, that was an anomaly. But Nashville had really good depth in Weber and Josi so they could trade Jones.

          • Burnabybob

            The Canucks forward group isn’t bad. Gaudette has blossomed nicely this year. Boeser looks very good, and then there’s Goldobin and Dahlen. Bo Horvat is still young and improving.

          • TD

            The problem with defence men is the length of time they take to develop and the uncertainty that comes with that development. An example is Juolevi and Thachuk, Juolevi may still become an excellent defenseman, but Thachuk has already become a good power forward. Lots of the best defensemen were drafted late and developed and lots of defensemen drafted early never developed into top players.

            The Canucks’ forward prospect group is still weak. Statistically not even half of the prospects will make it and it’s unlikely that they would all be top 6 forwards. I hope I am wrong and the group of them defy the stats, but they need to add more high end forwards to increase the chance of finding replacements for the Sedins.

            I love Horvat, but his numbers have dropped off a bit lately as teams have started focussing on him and not the Sedins. As the focus of the other teams game planning has changed, Bo has gone cold and the Sedins have started scoring again. To be a first line player, Bo is going to have to produce at a high level while facing the other teams’ best players.

            I am hoping to be able to pick Patrick or Hischier this year. In a couple of years they will be the number one centre leaving Bo as a good number 2.

        • Holly Wood

          Have a bit of a problem with anyone that believes Tanev is a top two d man. He handles the puck like a live grenade, more like a good #4 d man. Tryamkin is the guy who might surprise us all, not as a 1 but maybe a 2-3

        • Killer Marmot

          Boeser’s got to pan out twice? Canucks do have a problem.

          But the point still holds. There is no significant difference between the 5th and 6th ranked draft picks so far as estimated quality is concerned, so you may as well pick the position you are most desperate for.

    • Neil B

      Not quite, as far as the draft order is concerned. Her’s the NHL’s press release on it:

      “2017 NHL Draft Lottery

      The Las Vegas franchise will be given the same odds in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery as the team finishing with the third-fewest points during the 2016-17 regular season.

      The Las Vegas franchise’s First Round selection in the 2017 NHL Draft will be determined in accordance with the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery and, as a result, the Las Vegas franchise will be guaranteed no lower than the sixth overall selection.

      The Las Vegas franchise then will select third in each subsequent round of the 2017 NHL Draft (subject to trades and other potential player transactions).”

      Not really noted is that the 3rd worst team could get bumped to 7th, if both they and Vegas have bad luck.

  • Foximus

    Canucks should be getting a solid piece of the rebuild here. I’m confident we’ll be picking top 5 again. Agree we can’t have another Virtanen miss. I hope he still gets it together but haven’t heard much about him in a long time. Patrick or Hischier would be optimal but having another d-man is never a bad choice either.

  • wojohowitz

    Doubling down on another defenceman would be a really dumb move. Who had a good season and looks great right now – Keller and Jost, two centers with upside. Patrick with the hip surgery…hummm. Mittelstadt or Glass look like safer bets in a crapsoot. If Benning gets lucky then Ratcliffe or Lind will still be available. Tippett and Comtois both dropped like a stone; i wonder why.

    • Len

      Glad someone else has noticed Cody Glass – if we can’t get one of the top 3 in the above list, I hope the Canucks are in a position to take Glass without passing on another great winger (read Tippett) as I believe he is very close to Hischier and Valardi.

  • Killer Marmot

    Excellent report, thank you.

    If current standings hold then the Canucks will pick somewhere between 1st and 7th. The most probable is, I think, 5th, thanks to the lottery system.

  • Vanoxy

    I’m definitely not feeling excited about this year’s draft and lottery.
    We’ll end up getting a nice, prospect but nobody really stands out to me. Frankly, any of the top 8 would be fine with me. Patrick and Liljegren have the highest ceilings imo, but with the talent levels being so close, this is a year to draft positional need, rather than BPA, so I expect a Center.

      • Vanoxy

        He is a skilled guy for sure. And Benning might roll the dice on him, since he has shown that he isn’t afraid to go off the chart with his early picks.

        It’s a gamble going with a tier 2 guy, but I wouldn’t complain about it.

        I have a feeling Benning might look for a guy closer to going pro, because of the heat he’s taken recently over Virtanen and Juolevi, with their peers already performing well in the NHL. He may not have the luxury of waiting on another high pick to ripen in College for 2 or 3 years.

  • I am Ted

    It looks like Benning should be able to draft a centre. A few enticing ones up there. If we don’t win the lottery than maybe trading up would be an option. I don’t think Benning should give up a lot of he wants to move up as this draft does not have a generational talent. Scouts feel this draft may not have a high end #1 centre if you’re to believe Craig Button. Avs probably would prefer to address their massive hole on D.

  • Jabs

    Good read. I’m curious though, is the analysis on Tippett actually about Tippett or is actually about a different player that the Canucks drafted previously?

  • priored

    The Canucks will finish 27th or 28th which will give them a 55.3% chance of selecting 5 or 6th at a 27th finish and a 59.1% chance of selecting 6th or 7th if they finish 28th. They will pick a C or a PP D so they will pick the best available from my ratings:
    Nolan Patrick (C/RW)
    Nico Hischier (C)
    Martin Necas (C)
    Casey Mittelstadt (C/LW)
    Timothy Liljegren (D)
    Gabriel Vilardi (C)
    Cody Glass (C)
    Cale Makar (D)
    Juuso Välimäki (D)
    Elias Pettersson (C/LW)
    Nicholas Suzuki (C)
    Kailer Yamamoto (C/LW)
    Owen Tippett (RW)
    Ryan Poehling (C)
    Michael Rasmussen (C)
    Eeli Tolvanen (LW)
    Necas and Mitelstadt will be the most likely as they both outperformed all CHL options in international hockey and are the most skilled ouside of the top 2.

  • Dirty30

    Unfortunately one draft pick will not save this team. Therefore there are two strategies JB could employ:

    1. Trade what he can off the team for picks so he has more opportunities to draft fresh prospects;

    2. Trade his picks for players that might help the team now to develop.

    He could choose some combination of both strategies to move this team forward.

    Vegas is going to have tons of players and picks from teams protecting players from being drafted by Vegas. Maybe JB can make something happen that benefits the team. Ironically Vegas is one team that could take the Sedins and have plenty of picks to pay the bill. Likely wouldn’t happen but it would be the definitive rebuild.

  • Burnabybob

    “Some have referred to Middlestadt as this draft’s Clayton Keller, and given that Keller is considered by some to be the best prospect outside the NHL, no one wants to risk underrating him.”

    I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I remember commenting on this site last year that the Canucks should consider drafting Keller. With the lackluster season that Juolevi has had, that might have been a good move.

  • Burnabybob

    Knowing the Canucks snakebitten history in the draft lottery, they will end up picking somewhere in the 5-8 range. I would take a long look at Makar and Necas if I were Benning. In any case, take the best player available. The Canucks prospect pool has improved significantly, but is still not overly strong in any one area.

  • Jim Benning needs to address our center depth in this draft. Another defenseman, especially a true puck mover to man the powerplay would be nice, but the need is at center. This draft has to go well, and not just in the later rounds.

  • Killer Marmot

    There is a remote possibility that the Canucks get two first-round and two second-round draft picks this year. What has to happen is for…

    1. San Jose to win the Stanley Cup.
    2. Columbus to choose this year over the next to transfer their 2nd round pick.

    Vancouver’s shallow pool of forward prospects might get deepened in a hurry. Go Sharks!