Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

WWYDW: 55th Overall

Earlier this week, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced they would be sending this year’s second round pick (55th overall) to the Canucks as compensation for hiring John Tortorella in the summer of 2015. 

Draft season will soon be upon us, but we’ll be saving the question of who the Canucks should select with their first for a later date. This week we’ll focus on the recently acquired 55th overall. What players in the 55th overall range do you have your eyes on? Who would you like to see them select?

Last week I asked: Would you trade one of the Canucks defensemen? If so, whom? And what would you like to see in return?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below


I would trade Tanev to Dallas for the 3rd overall pick and take back Anti Niemi as a cap dump in return.

Let’s just accept that our defense is going to be worse, much worse, next year. Losing Tryamkin to the KHL leaves us with a large hole on the D, and likely losing Sbisa to the expansion draft makes it even worse. Trading Tanev, our best defender is going to make this hole a gaping chasm. But if we trade Tanev, we won’t have to expose Sbisa in the expansion draft. I know Sbisa is not the most popular of defensemen, and in no way compares to Tanev, but he had a decent year in 2016 and let’s face it, we are not going to contend next year anyways. So our D would look like Edler, Stecher, Hutton, Gudbranson, Sbisa and Biega which is substantially weaker than Edler, Tanev, Stecher, Gudbranson, Hutton, Beiga.

But the upside of the trade is that we end up with picks 5 and 3 in the draft, which could potentially be Mittelstadt and one of Liljegren/Heiskanen/Makar/Vilardi or Glass. We can also let Ryan Miller go via UFA and have Anti Niemi back up Markstrom.

This is definitely a weaker back end, but we could very well get 2 core players for the future.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

We can address the weak backend with a mid-tier UFA for depth.

Billy Pilgrim: 

Decisions around defense and goaltending go hand in hand. If you don’t sign Miller and anoint Markstrom the starter, then keep Tanev until at least the deadline so that Markstrom has a chance to win a few games and is less afraid of making a mistake. That would also allow some sort of trade with Dallas for Niemi or Lehtonen to extract a draft pick or prospect. If you trade Tanev, then bring in Miller to ensure stability in goal and provide some confidence and leadership for a young developing defense. As for value, I do really like Tanev to Tampa for Drouin and Callahan. If Tanev goes, then draft Liljegren at #5 and the best available C at #33. If Tanev stays, then draft Mittlestadt or Glass with #5 and the best available D at #33. Edler has NTC and limited value so will likely remain.


I’d say that only Juolevi and Stecher are untouchable. I’d trade any other defenceman but only for a premium return (e.g. minimum 1st round draft pick plus A-prospect for Tanev, a bag of pucks for Sbisa, etc.).


Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

My dream scenario would be to trade Gudbranson and Tanev.

I think if you could trade Gudbranson at the draft either as a package to move up late in the 1st round or for a young underachieving defenceman (say a player along the lines of Derek Pouliot or Ryan Pulock) then you pull the trigger. I realize that you would be only getting 50 cents on the dollar for an asset that you only got the year before, but Gudbranson is going to be super expensive for a player that has the ceiling of Roman Polak.

Tanev on the other hand I would try to pry Drouin out of Tampa but I think a more reasonable deal would be with a team like the Buffalo. Trade Tanev for Sam Reinhart and Buffalo’s 2nd round pick. I know that the rumor is the Canucks are worried that Sam wouldn’t do “well” playing in his home city but I’d take a chance on a kid with his talent.

Ultimately if the Canucks trade any D-men they need to get youth or picks coming back. I know they already have glaring holes on the back end and trading two NHL defencemen would completely blow it up but this team needs to think more about 4 years from now and not next year. In reality Benning trades Hutton and a 2nd round pick for Ryan Strome.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

defenceman factory:

The defenceman that needs to be moved is Gudbranson. In the short term he isn’t a strong enough player to provide some cover for a young player. Longer term he is going to cost too much for a bottom pair guy. Canucks have lots of options for that part of the line-up. Edler and Tanev are still reasonable top 4 players. Edler isn’t tradable and there is no better spot for a high end D prospect than next to Tanev.

Package Gudbranson with one of the 4th round picks for a late 1st or early 2nd round pick. Instead of adding a pick take back a bad contract. Lots of ways to structure a deal around Gudbranson for something decent in return.

I realize moving Guddy now will be viewed as an admission Benning overpaid for him in that trade. He probably did however by how much depends on the value you attribute to McCann. Maybe the spreadsheet jockeys are right or maybe McCann will never be an impact player.


  • Steamer

    Delighted with the suggestions to move Gudbranson. A pylon in the D-zone & not much else. Regarding #55, seems to hard to call where players will go this year! Many players have rankings that span 30=50+ places, depending upon the evaluator. Like Gadjovic, Matheos, Heponiemi & many others, but expect them to be gone by #55. Who do you like, Jackson?

    • Jackson McDonald

      Like all three of the guys you mentioned, although like you said, it’s hard to know who’s gonna be available. Here are a few more of my other favourite later-round prospects, in no particular order:

      Nick Henry
      Robin Salo
      Marcus Sylvegard
      Grant Mismash
      Mason Shaw
      Jake Leschyshyn
      Lane Zablocki
      Evan Barratt
      Nikita Popugaev

  • Dan-gles

    Tanev for Dallas 3rd overall and honka. I think this is great value if you could get that deal done. I don’t see this being unrealistic. If we need to sign a unfair to fill a gap then do it but the vision has to be towards the future.

    • I like this idea. We can draft Heiskenen (#3), Vilardi/Glass (#5) and have Honka (rather than Makar). We’d have a pair of top-2 D (Juolevi, Heiskenen) and offensive-oriented D (Stecher, Honka, Hutton) and another 1/2C to pair up with Horvat and Gaudette. And we’d still have the second round where we can pick off 1st round ranked players who fall to #33 and #55.

  • Nuckleston

    Vancouver obviously need the best player available at every draft position.

    Having said that,I feel we need a huge haul of smart puck moving defensemen. They seem to take a bit longer to develop, so we should get them earlier in the rebuild; also,a great D can hide the flaws of an ok offense, but not so much the other way around.

  • NucksWyn

    Package Tanev,Virtanen and prospect goalie Michael Garteig in return we get the 3rd,Niemi and the rights to Valeri Nichushkin maybe throw in a late rounder just for good measure.

  • Peachy

    At 55th overall, you most likely have combine results. Vertical jump is an excellent proxy for explosive athleticism, and a so a good indication of a player’s skating ceiling. Find the highest skilled player left in the draft, whose red flag is skating issues, but who has a respectable vertical jump score. Draft that player.

  • Ranger2k2

    I’ll answer this question this way:

    They should trade down if the best player on their board is gone.

    They won’t draft a player that is high risk / high reward.

    They will package this pick as part of a trade for Ryan Spooner.

  • If Kylington can drop from mid-1st round to #60 in 2015, then it’s quite conceivable (albeit remote) that Liljegren could be available at #55 this year. If so, he’d be worth taking a flyer on given that the Columbus pick is essentially free.

  • defenceman factory

    There’s a good chance Mason Shaw could still be available. He would be a great pick at 55. If he isn’t hard to play against the experience is certainly unpleasant.

    The 3 D prospects JD proposed at 55 all sound like reasonable picks. The nostalgic value of another hard shooting Salo on the blue line has to be worth something. Hopefully Robin’s durability is better.

  • Ginner Classic

    Guys I’d be looking at for the 55th pick by position. Common theme is that they should all go before 55, but if they don’t we got a hell of a deal:
    G: DiPietro – May fall due to size concerns, but he is the most talented keeper in the draft
    LD: Dylan Samberg – Tough S.O.B. d man in the Shane O’Brien mold. There is still room for a guy like this in the modern NHL as long as they have a high IQ and can skate. He has both.
    RD: Josh Brook – I think he goes well before 55, but if he’s there, I’d sprint to the podium to get him. Can play well at both ends.
    LW: Jonah Gadjovich – A way better player than he appears. Unbelievable in front of the net. Super smart and reliable. Good two way player. Big, tough and a hard worker. Perfect power forward in the Troy Brouwer mold, but even better at the same age. Could play on any line.
    C – Alexei Lipanov – Skilled and fast. He probably will go higher, but he had a pretty quiet U-18 and there is always the Russian factor.
    RW – Joni Ikonen. Listed as a center, he is a shoot first forward that will probably do better in the NHL on the wing.

    HM: Mason Shaw. I’ve been all over the map on him. Next to Makar he is the best high tempo playmaker in the draft. The puck moves so fast off his stick and gets exactly where he wants it. I just really wonder if he can play his game at the next level. There are lots of times I feel like he takes himself out of the play. Maybe he is just way smarter than me and thinking the game on a different level.

  • Killer Marmot

    The defenceman that needs to be moved is Gudbranson. In the short term he isn’t a strong enough player to provide some cover for a young player. Longer term he is going to cost too much for a bottom pair guy.

    If Gudbranson is paid too much then trading him will not make the problem go away, for the other team will demand compensation for his over-generous salary. The Canucks will have to eat the extra cost no matter what they do.

  • Fortitude00

    Everytime a player has an off year Canucks nation wants to send him with his bags packing. Well his value is low. For that reason Tanev is in his prime and his value has topped out. He gets injured every year and if we can get someone to overpay trade him and try and get a decent prospect in our system.
    There will be plenty of D men available pre expansion draft so Canucks can fill the roster spot cheaper then in most years.