Canucks Draft Defenseman Kristoffer Gunnarsson 135th Overall

After acquiring the 135th and 181st pick from Chicago, the Canucks used No. 135 to select double-overaged defenseman Kristoffer Gunnarsson from IK Oskarshamn in the Allsvenskan. Gunnarsson is set to play with Frolunda HC in the Swedish Elite League next season.

As a 20 year-old player passed over twice, scouting reports were hard to come by. Courtesy of Elite Prospects, here’s one I was able to dig up on the 6’1″, 209 pound defenseman:

“Gunnarsson is a defenseman who plays a safe, defensive-minded game. Owns decent mobility and skating ability. Likes to hit and punish opponents physically. Doesn’t contribute much offensively.”

Although many will automatically come to conclusions and deem him a bust, it is encouraging to know that he has a relationship with the Swedish national team. Gunnarsson found himself throughout the lineup at the 2017 World Juniors, from the first pair alongside Anaheim Ducks prospect Jacob Larsson, and all the way down to the team’s seventh defenseman in the bronze medal game.

Despite going undrafted in the past two drafts, the Canucks obviously found qualities in his game they deemed worthy of a 5th-round pick. Having selected Jack Rathbone earlier in the fourth round, Jim Benning continued to add to the defensive depth of the prospect pool.

Although not much is known about Gunnarsson at this point, we’ll certainly get a better feeling for his game come development camp within the next few weeks.

  • Pat Quinn Way

    Yet another joke pick from Sweden, where the hockey bods refuse to let their kids play in the AHL, which is still the only league worthy enough to groom players for the NHL (80 per cent of nhl’ers come from the AHL).

    This is hands down the worst draft yet under Benning. Guys, the aim here is to draft players who can help your team compete for the Stanley Cup. None of these lacklustre 2017 picks are going to do that.

        • Whatthe...

          Honestly curious how you are able to determine joke picks from “Stanley Cup” picks at this point – especially given Edm’s extremely weak draft history recently and the fact that after the 1st round Calgary didn’t pick again until the fourth. Have you watched all of these players or what info do you base your conclusions on?

          • Pat Quinn Way

            Using decades of experience and success both in business and watching/studying hockey all over the globe fella. I’m not even talking about the draft mate, i’d rather forget that Canucks horror show which has failed for the FOURTH draft in a row to garner us an NHL ready number one centre or an elite puckmoving PP QB defenceman to compete in the division, regardless of what the kid writers on CA are crowing about because some of their picks match up with Benning like it’s an achievement lol…

            Open your eyes mate, Calgary just added Travis Hamonic to a blueline that already boasts Dougie Hamilton, TJ Brodie and Giordano to compliment the likes of Tkachuk, Gaudreau and Monahan upfront, that’s an outstanding group that we are light years away from icing.

            The Oilers just added Ryan Strome to their already excellent team and cleared cap space to keep two of the best players in the league for years to come. THESE are the kind of moves it takes to compete for a cup… not adding tiny Swedes who won’t even come over until they are allowed and plugs who simply won’t make a difference – see what i’m saying here guy!!!!

          • Missing Lou

            Part can you change your name your are degrading a hockey legend. It would be nice if you were to troll another blog too. Vancouver just finished a 10 year run and it takes time to rebuild. I am not sure how our draft will turn out and neither do you. I am excited with the new coach and new players.

        • Whatthe...

          Are you OK? You seem angry. Drafts should not cause this level of stress. Just a comment.

          You referenced the draft so not sure what else to write about that. Hamonic and Strome (IMHO I don’t view Strome as a huge addition) are simply reflections of where each team is at. After years of being horrible, the Flames/Oil are now on the upswing…I don’t see how adding either of those players, at the prices paid, makes sense for the Canucks.

    • LTFan

      PQW – why don’t you give us, the un-enlightened, who you would have picked at the various spots that Benning and his crew picked a player. That would go a long way to give you some credibility as most on here continue to trash your comments. Over to you.

      • Pat Quinn Way

        The first round is all that’s required to prove Benning is an epic draft day fail

        2014 – Nylander or Larkin

        2015 – Boeser (that’s one out of 20 picks pre 2017 for Benning!)

        2016 – Matty Tkachuk

        2017 – Cody Glass or trade down for either Liljigren or Cal Foote

        I would also be totally active in the trade department that my illustrious namesake was so expert at. Benning has done NOTHING!

    • Green Bastard

      You think the canucks should have given up their 1st and 2nd round picks next year and another 2nd for Hamonic, or someone like that? Would that be smart for a rebuild team? You can’t be that blind or stoopid, could you? Call it as you see it, but maybe run your ideas past your mom first.

      • Pat Quinn Way

        Learn to read a$$wipe – I said great move by the Flames to solidify their blueline into what all the experts are agreeing is now one of the best top four D in the NHL. Being a playoff team on the rise, their first rounder won’t be high anyway, so giving away crapshoot picks for Hamonic is a fantastic move, as you’d expect from a guy like Burkey who drafted the Sedins.

        Different story for the nucks because they will be picking in the top three (lotto pending). BUT that doesn’t excuse Benning for not making any bold moves in the trade market to improve the team NOW which is my point.

        Windowlickers like you don’t get it – ‘rebuilding’ is a nonsense cliche, the aim every year is to ice a team to win and reach the playoffs to compete for the cup. Under the correct leadership like Edmonton, Calgary and TO this is easily attainable quickly, and you do it by holding onto your better players, making bold moves via trade and drafting well… under a clown like Benning, that’s simply not happening. Now, run along kid, tail between legs.

        • Bud Poile

          “…the aim every year is to ice a team to win and reach the playoffs to compete for the cup. Under the correct leadership like Edmonton, Calgary and TO this is easily attainable quickly”PQW
          Thanks for the laugh of the day! Revisionism at it’s best.
          “Boeser (that’s one out of 20 picks pre 2017 for Benning!)”PQW
          In reality,a world far,far away from where PQW exists,Benning has drafted 5 players that have already played NHL games.Boeser will have what looks like a decent to good NHL career and with Joulevi,Demko,Gaudette and Brisebois all fully expected to play in the NHL that makes 9 NHL players over 3 drafts.Lockwood and Zhukenov aren’t ruled out,either.
          Pulling two NHL’ers per draft is keeping par with the best NHL managers.
          Pulling three is top notch.
          Pulling four is exceptional.
          Pulling five is the very best.
          Benning pulled five in draft #1.
          Very early,but I see five-six potential in draft #4.
          That’s excellence Vancouver has never witnessed and the entire league rarely sees.
          The absolute best part is PQW couldn’t be happier!

  • Jabs

    This is probably the only pick I’m not sure about.

    I am thinking he is signed by a pro team in Sweden which prohibits the Canucks from offering him a contract instead of having to use a draft pick on him but they must like him a see some upside so I guess the draft pick protects his rights.