3 Players the Canucks Could Select 33rd Overall

If there’s one consolation prize for the Vancouver Canucks after Saturday’s dismal draft lottery results, it’s that none of their picks in rounds two-through-seven were affected spinning ping pong balls. That means the Canucks are still making the second pick of the second round at thirty-third overall.

With scout by trade Jim Benning as the Canucks’ general manager, that’s bound to count for something. The last time the Canucks had a second round selection was in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and Benning put that to good use by snagging Thatcher Demko. The rangy goaltender figures as the goaltender of the future now for the rebuilding Canucks.

Assuming the Canucks keep their second round selection, let’s handicap a list of three players they’re likely to consider with the thirty-third overall selection.

Henri Jokiharju

The Canucks weren’t just scouting Cody Glass when they followed the Portland Winterhawks. Though he wasn’t the main draw, Finnish defenceman Henri Jokiharju surely caught the Canucks’ attention on more than one occasion.

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A six-feet tall, transitional right-shooting defenceman, Jokiharju offers many of the skills Benning covets from the back end. Jokiharju is an excellent skater that can facilitate a breakout from the defensive zone with his feet or a strong first pass. Scouts laud Jokiharju as having a well-rounded game without any one one glaring weakness.

Jokiharju isn’t going to overwhelm you with his play in the offensive zone. He doesn’t possess the strongest shot and isn’t beaming with creativity. All the same, he was productive last season with 48 points (9 goals and 39 assists) in 71 games for Portland.

Jesper Boqvist

Speaking of residual scouting, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks couldn’t help but pay attention to Jesper Boqvist when they scouted Jonathan Dahlen. The Swedish forward who can play either wing or centre was on loan from Brynas to Timra of the Allsvenskan for much of the season before rejoining Brynas in the Swedish Hockey League to finish the year.

Boqvist also put on a strong performance at the Under-18 World Hockey Championship with Team Sweden, scoring eight points (four goals and assists alike) en route to a silver medal. The Canucks draft picks tend to suggest they place a fair amount of stock in player’s performance at that tournament so that counts for a lot when considering where they might go with their picks.

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There isn’t much missing from Boqvist’s offensive toolkit. He’s a fearless puck carrier, who isn’t shy about using his speed to drive the net in the offensive zone. Boqvist’s game is built to produce in the modern NHL. In 16 games with Brynas in the SHL, Boqvist chipped in with six assists.

Maxime Comtois

The Canucks haven’t been shy about spending entry-level capital on players from the QMJHL, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that trend continues if Maxime Comtois is available to them in the second round.

Though Comtois started the season as a presumptive top-five pick, plummeting production and often indifferent play have caused his draft stock to plummet to the point where he could feasibly be available to the Canucks with the thirty-third overall pick. The Victoriaville Tigres winger didn’t do his draft stock any favours at the U18 WHC either, only contributing two goals in five games for Team Canada playing primarily on their top line and first unit power play.

Offensive production aside, Comtois has a full tool-kit and plays a mature, responsible game for an 18-year-old. He’s a relentless forechecker with footspeed and anticipation that can often force the opposition into turnovers. Comtois’ offensive toolkit is such that it should lend itself to capitalizing on those turnovers more often than he probably does, too.

Comtois contributed 51 points (22 goals and 29 assists) in 64 games for the Tigres this season, after scoring 60 points (26 goals and 34 assists) in 62 games last season.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    I’m not entirely sure how the same player can be described as exhibiting “indifferent play” and playing a “mature, responsible game”.

  • Jabs

    I like the picks listed but would also add Robert Thomas from London. Scouts compare his game to that of a lite version of Bo Horvat.
    Early second round is always interesting because some pretty good players fall from out of the first and are reading for the picking…..it’s nice to actually have this second round pick.

  • Donald's Hat Trick

    Forget about the 33rd. Benning needs to flip picks with Dallas after taking on one of their goalie contracts. Then he needs to flip that pick with Philly, while tossing in something they need more than that pick. Maybe add Tanev if someone else is coming back.

    • truthseeker

      yeah…just “toss in” one of the best defensive defensmen in the NHL.

      Tanev should bring us back nothing less than another team’s best young center (non “franchise” center obviously) a top prospect and maybe even a pick.

      If the best winger in the game only nets Larrsen, then Tanev is pure gold for us. Anything less than that is not worth trading him.

      • I-dont-give-a-puck

        As much as I like Tanev you will never get that. First off if you think Hall is the best winger in the game you’re not only nuts but stupid. A winger is not worth as much as a centre. And then you think we will get a top prospect? But wait there’s more! Maybe a draft pick? Man I hate it when people say Canucks fans are dumb; but there you have it…

        • truthseeker

          Hall is right up there with the best. And was basically considered at the top at the time of the trade.

          And of COURSE a winger isn’t worth as much as a center. That IS my point. Wingers have almost no value.

          But what you seem to not understand is how valuable D is. It is the thing NHL GM’s value above everything else aside from a “franchise center”.

          The point isn’t hall. The point is that’s what a LARRSEN returns. Get it? Or do I need to dumb it down for you even more?

          And I think maybe you don’t realize how Tanev is viewed throughout the league. Google “Tanev underrated” and start reading. Now true…he wasn’t quite as good this year but his reputation is still solid.

          Have you noticed top pairing D men NEVER come up in trades? Or if they do it’s one for one a la Weber for Subban? And it’s rare that a top 4 even gets traded.

          I think you show a clear lack of understanding the value of D by GM’s in today’s NHL. It is by far the most important position in hockey and it’s what every team is looking for.

      • Donald's Hat Trick

        The point is both Philly and Dallas are closer to being contenders than they are to being bottom feeders, so that means they need roster players and not prospects. Dallas is also paying over $10M to two goalies that just can’t get it done. Dropping from 3rd to 5th to free up $5M and still likely get the player they were targeting doesn’t seem like a bad deal. Philly too could get something far more valuable to them by only dropping one place. An astute GM would make this unique circumstance work with some win-win deals.

  • defenceman factory

    A centre with the fifth pick and a Dman with the 33rd sounds right to me. If Benning is actually a real good scout he should be able to spot a quality Dman ranked below his potential.

    Last week Jeremy Davis also suggested Aleksi Heponiemi or Kole Lind for the 33rd pick. I don’t know Aleksi but anyone who thinks Lind would be a good pick at 33rd, or 64th for that matter, hasn’t watched him enough. The bigger the game the smaller he plays.

  • TD

    Maybe not as a high second round pick, but with the remaining picks, I hope Benning takes some high risk/reward players. Smaller highly skilled players, physically immature players who may fill out, etc. It would be awesome to find a Datsuk, Zetterberg, Benn or Bure in a draft.

  • BOliever

    any thoughts on nic hague? central scouting dropped him all the way down to 20th in north america, right behind jokiharju. on paper he looks good: 6’6″ + 215 lbs + no language barriers.

  • Spiel

    I’m thinking Comtois is probably not worth the risk at 33rd. His production really slipped in his draft year.
    Maybe if he slips to 54th/55th when we use Columbus’ 2nd rounder.