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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Vancouver Canucks Fall in the Draft Lottery to Fifth Overall

For the second consecutive season, the Vancouver Canucks will possess the fifth overall pick at the NHL Entry Draft.

Though the Canucks finished the 2016-17 season with 69 points and the 29th best record in the NHL, they lost three consecutive lotteries to fall three spots from second overall to fifth. The Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils. The Draft lottery is as follows:

While many Canucks fans, and surely the organization themselves, will feel shorted by the lottery draw, the fact of the matter is that probability isn’t always destiny and tonight’s results reinforce as much. Fifth overall was the second most likely draft position for the Canucks, with a 30.7 percent chance of falling there. Their most likely destination was fourth overall.

The lesson here isn’t that tanking doesn’t work under the current system. One more point and the Canucks would be selecting seventh overall as opposed to fifth, which says nothing of the six rounds that follow and their positions therein. It’s that even the best odds sometimes aren’t good enough, but there’s still a reward worth chasing, and picking fifth instead of seventh is still a reward well worth its cost in losses.

I get why Canucks fans are frustrated. Vancouver needs a high-end prospect to get out of the four seasons-plus malaise that has taken this once mighty franchise from the top of the league to its gutter in near perpetuity. At the same time, they’ve a relatively good chance of finding that player at fifth overall.

The good news is, I think the Canucks have a few more draft lotteries in their future. Perhaps tonight’s defeat will make the reward of first overall all the sweeter. Especially if that happens in a year with a generational talent.



  • TheRealRusty

    Do team reps even get to witness the actual lottery draw? Where is the transparency? Glad I no longer provide financial support to the League in the form of seasons tickets to the Canucks.

  • Burnabybob

    It sucks, but this is about where the Canucks were expected to pick.

    If Mittelstadt and Vilardi are gone, I would lean towards picking Liljegren. All three look promising, and they should either solidify their center ice position, or round out their defense.

    But they need a break in the lottery at some point. This is getting ridiculous.

  • truthseeker

    Nonsense. The lesson is that tanking is a waste of time and that the team should be trying to win every single year.

    I don’t feel “shorted” by the lottery at all. We got what the odds said would most likely happen. Probability worked. Of course I would hope we got lucky and picked in the top 2….but it’s like pinning your retirement hopes on winning the 6/49. Judging by the amount of superstitious posting canuck fans and hockey fans in general, I suspect that is most people’s retirement plan.

    Not a good way to run a team. Hoping on an 18% dog, at best.

    The difference between 5th and 7th is pretty much nothing. The team isn’t using Craig Button’s list to make their picks. Teams will have their own favorites at each place and even more than that they’ll have interviewed these kids and their personalities will be a heavy influence on the selection. What we think are the best choices for the canucks are virtually meaningless. Just stuff for people to whine about on boards like this.

    The canucks probably already have 4 or 5 different guys they’d be happy with at #5 and many of those would probably be guys fans think would be lower.

    I know its hard to believe…but they probably know more about the players than we do. Even those of you who think you “follow” junior players.

    • Dirk22

      Hmmm. Not really following your logic? So you say you would rather have had have a top-2 pick? I wonder why that is. I would guess that it’s because they have a higher ‘probability’ of being elite NHL’ers. Yet in the same post you say that gaining a higher ‘probability’ of obtaining those picks by tanking is not prudent for a team with a prospect pool barren of difference makers.

      In other words, you see the value in drafting higher ‘probability’ players but don’t believe in giving yourself a higher ‘probability’ of getting them.

      • truthseeker

        It’s pretty clear, just read it.

        No…that’s not what I said. I said it’s not worth sacrificing a season in the hopes of getting a couple of percentage points in the odds. Understand? The team should always try to win. Clear?

        If the team loses and we finish low then fine. But people like you would choose losing in the season, over development for the sake of percentage points that don’t matter. That is stupid.

        Not sure why you’re having so much trouble with this. Tanking is not a good strategy. Simple enough for you?

        • Dirk22

          You’re talking about two different things. Tanking is not a strategy the team actually employs. They don’t tell the players to play poorly or rest healthy guys. None of that happened. Selling Hansen and Burrows would be the closest thing to tanking this team did – that hardly qualifies as those were just normal rebuilding moves – not moves designed to finish lower in the standings.

          As a fan looking for a long term solution out of this mess they’re in, and knowing that there is nothing to gain by competing for 20th place in the league, hoping for the best odds at drafting a difference maker is a no-brainer.

          • truthseeker

            That comes at the expense of team moral and player development. competing for 20th (or preferably better) is exactly what they should be doing. Again….a few % points don’t matter.

      • Mellowyellow

        You are pretty much spot on.. if you look at the 2nd to 5th positions the % difference is only 4%. That % change from team to team is pretty much negligible. It pretty much means 2-5 each on average have 10% chance. My beef is the distribution of probabilities for the bottom few teams it doesn’t reward enough (Ie. teams in need of such high picks) for finishing at the bottom while taking care of anti-tanking.

  • juicemahal

    Huge that Dallas jumps up to the top 3. Have to think they’ll likely look at Timothy Liljegren and go with the RHD. One of Villardi and Middlestadt should be the gameplan for the Nucks.

    If both are gone, go with Liljegren and pair him up with Juolevi. #toptwopairing

  • Well, drafting a top three center is no longer in the cards, so best available defenseman it is. With Tryamkin gone(I’m still sore about that), we need to replace him. Building from the goalie on out is a proven strategy. We should be able to get a top four or better defenseman at #5.

    Also, Trevor Linden is 0 – 2 at the draft lottery. Next year Jim Benning goes, birthday or not.

  • wojohowitz

    It is disappointing to not get one of the top two centermen but with a little luck they can get one of the top four centermen. My list is (1) Hischier, (2) Patrick, (3) Glass and (4) Vilardi. None of these players are the wrong choice but frankly Benning has screwed up the last two out of three drafts picking Virtanen and Juolevi while getting Boeser right. We can only hope he has learned something. On top of that he has 6 picks in the top 115 and for some strange reason I have more confidence in Benning outside of the first round than in it. Please Jimbo – not another defenceman.

    • truthseeker

      So when all the canuck fans were whining about drafting “tough and heavy” for the “tough and heavy” pacific division, Benning takes a “tough and heavy” pick and now your whining cause of hindsight? Had we drafted one of the guys behind Virtanen I’d bet you be the exact type complaining we had no “toughness” and that Benning screwed that up.

      And you’re writing off the best D prospect in last years draft after ONE season? LOL. Give me a break. Probably one of these “should have drafted Tkachuk” types huh?

      yeah…take the dime a dozen winger who got 13 goals…..whooopty dooo….wow…13 goals…..great player…..who will maybe…maybe be a 30 goal winger…..yay! Do you know how many guys got 20 to 30 goals this year? More than is even worth counting. Wingers are worthless. Just look at the Hall trade. A barely top 4 d man with potential is all the best winger in the game brought back.

      D is EXACTLY what the canucks should draft again. A Juolevi has to do is show even a HINT of being a top pairing guy and we’d get 3 Tkachuks for him.

      If we can’t get a game changing #1 C then draft D…develop them and flip them for proven forward talent. D is by far the most important position in the NHL and by far the most valuable unless your name is McDavid.

      Clearly you have no idea what constitutes value in the NHL. Thankfully you don’t run the canucks. What an even greater mess they’d be in with a bunch of weak wingers.

      • wojohowitz

        “the best D prospect in last years draft”

        Hahaha. You really are clueless aren`t you. There are at least three defencemen who had a better season than Juolevi last year and were picked after him. McAvoy, Fabbro and Chychrun.

        But you go ahead and be as rude and ignorant as you like.

    • Hemi

      Well now, that is a fine high level statement to make. Remember, the Oil have been basement dwellers for far too long. Like all matters in life, it is circular. The nucks had their opportunity several years back and missed out, The Oil are now just starting to experience their opportunity. We here in Edmonton have had to endure the onslaught of other teams/cities/fans for a very long time.

      So Freud, “karma” has its day. Sending all the good vibes from Edmonton to the good folks of BC, especially the nuck fans.

      Go Oil!

      • Freud

        Edmonton management was so inept, the league changed the draft rules. Your fan base endured an onslaught because the awe shucks fans lapped up everything the inept management sold them. Edmonton profits from one set of rules while other teams are penalized by a new set of rules. I do indeed wait on karma in Edmonton.

  • acg5151

    This is the Canucks, if you didn’t expect this to happen you haven’t been paying attention. The red headed stepchild of the NHL, even when we’re good.

    • CMG30

      I don’t understand why Canuck fans are disappointed. This is the system they campaigned for year over year. How many of you hopped on the short sighted bandwagon that kept complaining that Edmonton was getting first overall too much? There was so much complaining coming out of markets like Vancouver and Calgary that the league tinkered with the rules multiple times over the years. Net result, teams that finish near last are no longer guaranteed a top 3 pick. Karma.

  • TD

    Well this alleviates my concern that they would the 1st overall and Patrick would become an injury riddled bust. Not sure who I want the Canucks to pick. The different scouting reports make it a crap shoot from 3-10. Crazy amount of variance from list to list.

    Cody Glass is intriguing. He’s young having just turned 18 on April 1. 6’2″, 179 lbs. scored 32 g, 62 a for 94 points in 69 games, 1.36 ppg.

    Nico Hischier is 6′, 174 lbs. he’s 3 months older, scored 38 g, 48 a for 86 points in 57 games, 1.51 ppg.

    Hischier’s numbers are a little better, but he plays in the Q which gets lower rating for not producing the same number of NHL players. The WHL is the lowest scoring league making Glass’ numbers look real good.

    Hard to compare Middlestadt’s numbers from high school and while his numbers were good in the USHL, he had a lot of power play points. He has good size at 6’1, 201 lbs.

    Gabriel Vilardi is 6’3″, 201 lbs, 29 g, 32 a for 61 points in 49 games, 1.24 ppg.

    Hischier won’t be there, but I’d take Glass from everything I’ve read if he is still available. Probably ends up being 200 lbs NHL player. Some of the scouts have him at 3rd.

    I’ve seen different reports that have the top 3 d men in all different order. Glass this year and Rasmus Dahlin next year, when they win the lottery…