Even though the Vegas Expansion Draft is wrapping up, with the big reveal set to go tonight, preparations for the NHL Entry Draft on Friday are still underway. According to TSN 1040’s Matt Sekeres, it appears that the Canucks are considering using a “relatively high pick” on a goaltender this year.
Sekeres: "I believe the #Canucks are going to use a relatively high pick on a goaltender – before the 5th round."
— Canucks Now (@CanucksNow) June 21, 2017
This would be a smart move for the Canucks, and good news for Ryan Biech, who suggested the Canucks do as much in an article just last week. How smart does he look now? Very, I’d say.
Let’s get this out of the way nice and early: the fact that the Canuck have Thatcher Demko in their system does not preclude them from taking another goalie this year, nor should it. Demko is now 21 years old, and the Canucks no goalie prospects younger than him in their system. In fact, the only other goalie they have who could be considered a prospect is 2016 NCAA free agent signing Michael Garteig, who is 25 years old and is coming off his first season as a professional, splitting between AHL Utica and ECHL Alaska with less than flashy numbers at either stop. Even though Demko is tracking nicely, it’s always wise to have some alternate options, and to stagger them age wise.
Now, on to today’s comments.
Sekeres is suggesting that the Canucks are going to grab a goaltender before the fifth round. As it stands, that includes five picks: 5th, 33rd, 55th, 64th, and 95th overall. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that 5th is off the table here (it better be), but there will be a wide array of netminders available between 33rd and 95th.
At 33rd, we’re probably talking about Jake Oettinger, the Boston University netminder that is often considered the best available in this draft. InGoal Magazine’s Greg Balloch provided this scouting report on Oettinger during out Top 100 Draft Profiles series:
Jake Oettinger is a goaltender with an excellent mixture of size and skill, which has him slated as the potential number one goaltender taken off the board at the 2017 NHL entry draft. At 6-foot-4, he has the frame that scouts crave – but it’s how he utilizes it that makes him so promising. Oettinger plays a modern conservative style, staying deep in the crease, and relying heavily on his puck-tracking ability and hand placement to cut pucks off.
All things considered, Oettinger is one of the most exciting goaltending prospects in recent years. What he has accomplished at his age with Boston University and Team USA is nothing short of astounding. If a team is struggling in the goaltending department and wants an immediate boost, they should highly consider drafting Oettinger.
Oettinger is probably the only one who makes sense at 33, and he could well be gone already by that spot. At 55th and 64th, there is a bit more diversity available. Finnish goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Canadian goaltender Michael DiPietro, are the most sensible options there. At 95th, Canadians Stuart Skinner and Ian Scott, Americans Keith Petruzzelli and Cayden Primeau, Russian Maxim Zhukov, and Swede Olle Eriksson Ek are potential selections.
Reports on some of them are available in Ryan’s article, or you can click the player links to see what we said about them in our draft profiles. Below are the draft rankings for each goalie among some of the mainstream services.
Either the 55th or 64th overall selections would be excellent spots to pick up some goaltending depth. It’ll be interesting to see which direction the Canucks choose to go in.