Judd Brackett addresses the media about the Canucks 2017 NHL Entry Draft

With the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in the rearview mirror, the Director of Amateur Scouting for the Canucks, Judd Brackett, made himself available for the media.

In the scrum, Brackett gave his thoughts on each of the players selected on the second day of the draft and provided some insight into what the Canucks thought process was.

The Canucks took Kole Lind with the 33rd overall pick and was someone they thought had first round talent. They liked his game and Brackett spoke highly of Lind’s hockey sense.

Another player that we think has really good hockey sense, awareness, spatial recognition and shot. He protects the puck well and has some ability to get to the net.

With the 55th overall pick, the Canucks selected Jonah Gadjovich from the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL. Brackett spoke about the wingers’ game:

Obviously, Jonah is a high character guy with a big net-front presence. He’s always there and helps their powerplay. He gets his stick on the puck and good on rebounds. Good in front and around the net. He has a high motor and big body.

He’s going to keep coming with his skating, he knows it and we talked to him about it with him at the combine. But we believe in him as a kid. Good character and we really think he’s going to get there.

With their 3rd round pick, the Canucks selected Michael DiPietro from the Windsor Spitfires. Brackett spoke highly of the netminder, pointing to his work ethic multiple times:

What resonates with us is his compete and battle. He’s very athletic, he’s powerful in there. By standards, he isn’t the prototypical size wise. But we feel he makes up for it with athleticism, his speed, quickness and his determination. He doesn’t give up on pucks. He’s a winner, which was proven this year in the Memorial Cup. He was young for his year, leading that team. You can see the presence he has.

The Canucks took US born defenceman Jack Rathbone with the 95th overall pick. The Canucks seem to be very high on the young defender and will have to be patient.

Jack Rathbone is a smaller guy who is an excellent skater who plays with a lot of energy. He gets up in the play, good puck mover with a heavy shot from the point. He’s going back to high school and off to Harvard after that.

With the first pick acquired in the trade down with the Blackhawks, the Canucks selected D+2 defenceman Kristoffer Gunnarsson from Sweden. Obviously, he is a little more developed but Brackett had very good things to say:

Gunnarsson is a 97, we saw him at the World Juniors this year. He’s a very different style. He’s an abrasive, hard defender who contains really well and has a good stick. But he’s very smart. His first reads and first passes are clean. He is playing in the senior leagues and is more experienced.

On the flip side of the size spectrum, the Canucks selected overage forward Petrus Palmu from the Owen Sound. The shortest player selected by any team in the NHL this year, Brackett spoke highly of the young Finn:

He was tremendous this year. Owen Sound was very successful and high powered but Palmu, for us, was one who drove the offence for them. He’s a two-way guy. Obviously, when you look at him on a roster, the height catches you by surprise but I think in our eyes, he’s a stocky fire hydrant type. Can play through traffic and sticks. Has a high hockey sense.

With the last pick of the draft, the Canucks selected D+1 defenceman Matthew Brassard from the OHL. He was a player they had an eye on last year too:

Matthew is someone we identified a bit last year in Barrie. But he had limited games and reps so he was a player that we wanted to keep an eye on. Traded mid-season to Oshawa and at that point took over their powerplay. Was a guy who we targetted early on.

Before the scrum broke out, Brackett had some interesting thoughts about their thought process in their selections.

We identified players and targetted them in certain rounds and they were there. We were fortunate in some spots. Now we turn them over to player development. Some of it is on them, and some of it on us in their development paths.

Knowing that we had the second pick of the second round that we could really target a player or two. Kole did things that were certainly deserving of being a first round pick, so we feel fortunate and got good value there.

Teams were active and calling, and so were we. We thought where we targeting players that they might still be there. A chance to add another pick in the later rounds and just increase our percentages of finding players.

Brackett was asked again if he felt that things shook out how he expected it to go

Yeah, the players that were there were still there. It was a wise decision [trading down] and it is certainly looking as something we do again in the future.

Looking at the Canucks draft class in their entirety, there is little doubt that the Canucks did very well with their crop. But those final comments from Brackett are extremely encouraging as it shows that they are trying to increase their odds of extracting players from the draft while still getting the players that they are targeting.

Obviously, we won’t know for a few years how this draft class will shake out, but overall there is a lot to like about what the Canucks did here in Chicago.

  • TrueBlue

    You guys have put together some great coverage, and this article is one of the best. Terrific insight from Brackett, thanks for putting this together.

    It’s great to see the picks we collected in and of themselves, but to hear that the Canucks’ draft floor game plan played out so well by their own estimation is doubly reassuring. Great day!

  • About the only thing to complain about with this draft is that the Canucks didn’t find a way to move back into the first round to grab Liljegren or Vilardi or Suzuki, all of whom were taken outside the top-10. Otherwise looks like very strong work by Benning & Co.

  • Walker

    Thanks for the coverage, CA. From the countdown of the top 100 picks through to the draft, you were the go to place for me to keep on top of what was happening. Great job.

  • Pat Quinn Way

    Could we please stop with this nonsense narrative of ‘a great draft’ by the Benning and Canucks clown show. This is their FOURTH draft and there is still no number one centre, no succession plan for the Sedins, no elite puck moving D man.

    Let me show you some examples of great drafting from astute hockey minds who know what they’re doing, all of whom picked below the Canucks in the first round.

    1. Timothy Liljegren at 17 by the Leafs – steal of the round with tremendous upside and will be an offensive blueline beast under Babs/Shanny/Lamorello. Amazing pick from the masters, they are doing backflips over this one.

    2. Cal Foote by the Bolts – pedigree son of a legend, Kelowna Rockets beast at 14 another steal by the legend that is Stevie Y. Tremendous pick to go with the Sergachev deal.

    3. Gabe Villardi by the Kings – has all the tools and, like Bo, will work to improve his skating which will make him elite. Immense pick at 11 by NHL legend Rob Blake.

    4. Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki by the Knights. Double whammy of outstanding picks from McPhee that will see the Canucks in the basement again along with Arizona, the Knights above them. The Glass miss has Matt Tkachuk 2.0 written all over it.

    5. Owen Tippett by the Panthers – an outstanding pure goal scorer likened to Phil Kessel at 10 is a brilliant pick by one of the all time draft greats, Dale Tallon, who knows that scoring goals is the hardest part of the game. Canucks missed it Tallon nailed it.

    Guys, I won’t even other with the other rounds – this is more than enough to prove Benning MUST GO! Isn’t it?

    • Jabs

      You are comparing apples to oranges and trolling I suspect. Nonetheless, every situation is different. Canucks got their guy in Petterson.

      Why would the Canucks draft one of the players you are naming when they got a potentially elite player? These guys may be very good but the Canucks probably got the best player available to them so that equals a great draft.

    • Gino über alles

      The only thing that must go is you and your multiple aliases trolling this site. Unless you’re clairvoyant or somehow smarter than the scouting departments of 16 other teams then you’ve got no idea if Liljegren is a steal or not, and the last two drafts shows that it’s quite likely that the Canucks have drafted two of the hardest positions to fill; a number one defenseman and a number one center. If you can’t see Juolevi as an elite puck-moving D man then your mind is wrecked on meth, virtually each and every scouting report I’ve ever read on him screams out exactly that. I don’t know what the point of your list was, there isn’t one person listed there that I’d rather have than Pettersson (although like most I wasn’t particular between he and Glass) and I’m pretty comfortable leaving my trust in this decision to them.

      Long term success at the NHL level means you have to play the long game; drafting, developing, and being extraordinarily patient with the youth of your team. While there are bound to be a hiccup or two along the way you have to be encouraged that the Canucks are (finally) embracing the long term route that is critically necessary to a hockey team. We’re taking huge strides to getting back to where this team needs to be, why don’t you get on board?

      • Pat Quinn Way

        “We’re taking huge strides to getting back to where this team needs to be, why don’t you get on board?”

        Simple mate, because i don’t BELIEVE we are anywhere near to getting where we need to be. Not-even-close.

        I know what it takes to build a winner and we’re not buildng one. See, I’m not a master chef but i know a good meal when i eat one. I’m not Leonardo Da Vinci but i know a masterpiece painting when i see one! Catch my drift…

        “Unless you’re clairvoyant or somehow smarter than the scouting departments of 16 other teams then you’ve got no idea if Liljegren is a steal or not”

        Yeah i have got an idea, and so do Lou Lamorello, Brendan Shanahan and Mike Babcock, who are all over the moon about this absolute steal. So, I’ll hitch my wagon to those three serial winners thanks very much.

        I don’t rate Juolevi as ‘elite’. Not even close, otherwise he would already be in the show like Ekman-Larrsen, Seth Jones and 19 year old Zach Werenski have since day one and there wouldn’t be so many doubts about him!

        Let me remind all you guys, as the saying goes, ‘blind faith in your leaders will get you killed’…

        • Whothesteal

          Juolevi not playing at age 18 to 19 so he does not have elite upside, you are a bright one. Love your clueless quotes too; “I’m not a master chef but i know a good meal when i eat one. I’m not Leonardo Da Vinci but i know a masterpiece painting when i see one! Catch my drift… ” I betting you have no clue way those quotes are clueless?

          • TD

            Couldn’t agree more, Juolevi and Pettersson are both highly skilled but lacked physical maturity at 18. The Canucks will have to wait a little longer for them to mature, but not for the skill to develop. As a fan, I want the best player 5 years from now. I know the Canucks will suck for at least 2 more years. At that time, all of the drafted prospects will begin to make their impact.

    • Whothesteal

      Love this guy’s post, always good for a laugh. Lets look at:
      1) nice pick risky but good, over rated during the first half of the season. Mono did not help, but it was his hockey IQ that had him drop.
      2) Foote, good pick. No way a steal.
      3) This was a surprise was hoping Van would pick him, but happy with the higher IQ and skill of our light weight Pattersson. If Pattersson had Gabe size he would have been fighting for first overall.
      4) Cody Class. Yes would like to have him, but because this Lind kid did not get the same hype no one really knew that this kid’s overall package is just as good as Class. Suzuki someone else whom I wanted, but again he got hyped and the kid with just as much skill in Palmu did not. Palmu could be the steal of the draft. His height really backed off scouts and GMs but his skill is top ten. Palmu is a tank at 170, if he gets to 185 or more lookout.
      5) Owen Tippett say hi to Jonah Gadjovich.
      Pat you’re a hoot.

      • DJ_44

        This must be you equivalent of using your left hand; logging in under multiple user names feels like it is a different person? Maybe if you had the IQ of Elias Pettersson you could actually pull it off…..pun intended.

        • Pat Quinn Way

          Peter Chiarelli built that team idiot, he was the GM, Benning was just the lackie and that clearly shows in the way Chia has expertly rebuilt the Oilers in no time compared to Benning sending us down the sh*tter. Also how dare you come here gloating about the Bruins on a Canucks forum. Moron!

          • Gino über alles

            Chiarelli sure looked like an expert when he pulled the trigger on the Seguin trade, when he grossly overpaid Lucic, and traded Barzal and draft picks for Reinhart, who couldn’t crack their roster and then they lost for nothing. Think about that, that trade sucked so bad that he made Garth Snow look like a genius. To be fair he did well with the Maroon trade and shipping Hall out of town was badly overdue, but really this rebuild is because they landed McJesus and not because Chiarelli “expertly rebuilt” them.

            And McTavish was the GM when that happened, moron.

        • Psych Major

          Have to agree with this. As a professional, the fact that some sad b^stard would sign in and out 12 times just to mark a commenter down when no one else would take issue with the post, proves beyond doubt that this guy ‘bud poile’ has serious mental issues. I have also noticed that two of his sock accounts ‘pheenster’ and ‘I Am Ted’ are particularly nasty and vile in their dialogue, which show direct signs of schizophrenia and extreme anger issues. One word – Loser.

          • Bud Poile

            Step in any time now,JD.
            Bit overdue aa few months ago.
            “As a professional”,my petunia.
            You can’t even distinguish the individual writers apart on a hockey blog.

    • Fortitude00

      For the record most of the experts weren’t sure there were any #1 centres in this draft. The draft was very weak but with that said the Canucks figured Pettersson might have that skill set. Time will tell and generally after pick #2 the feeling is most of these kids will never make it to the NHL or takes 2-5 years to get there.
      As far as Glass he is a mystery might be good might be a bust but I guarantee he shouldn’t be playing in the NHL this year. So comparing him to Tkachuk’s season last year is silly and there is no way he steps in and becomes Tkachuk 2.0 next year.
      One more thing on Glass I saw a lot of people in Van city wanting him but I am glad Benning and company went the Elias route. This kid should be dynamite once he puts on 20lbs.

  • DJ_44

    It’s great to see the Canucks have addressed there needs with the last 1st Rounders in the last three drafts:

    1. A succession plan for the Hendrik (Pettersson)
    2. A elite, smart, highly skilled puck moving D-man (Joulevi)
    3. A scoring winger (Boeser).

    Wow. Maybe they are executing a plan.

    • Pat Quinn Way

      1. Who is Hendrik? “I don’t think I’m ready for the NHL, I need to become bigger and stronger,” said Pettersson after he was selected.

      2. The Hockey News re-picked the Juolevi draft and had him going down to 13th overall. Many around the team think the real thing holding him back from playing in the NHL is his lack of strength. Juolevi took a step back after being drafted and was demoted to 2nd PP unit on the London Knights. – the hockey news

      3. Never mentioned him so irrelevant. Wingers are a dime a dozen, not an issue.

      Guys, after another gong show draft failed to deliver our urgent needs, the Canucks now need to trade for Matt Duchene and/or an elite NHL offensive defenceman – not kids who may or may not ever make the show! Smell the coffee boys.

      • Gino über alles

        1. You’ll notice Scandinavian kids tend to say that a lot, because they’re smart enough to see that they aren’t even close to matching up physically to the men playing in the NHL. If a 165lb hockey player DOESN’T say that then you’d have to question his overall IQ, never mind his hockey IQ. Not an issue.

        2. Juolevi was moved to London’s second pp to create better balance between the two units, and he was never pegged as a pp guy. This isn’t a bad thing, think Neidermayer or Lidstrom for example…neither were considered elite pp guys either and they were just fine. Juolevi scored as many points but on a vastly worse London team that was missed Tkachuk, Marner, or Dvorak from the previous year, that’s not a step back. Not an issue.

        3. Finding a potential first line winger that competes and scores are NOT a dime a dozen, particularly at 23rd overall, or every team would have them. Drafting him there was considered a heist, you can’t fault Benning for this if you wish to have even a shred of credibility. Not an issue.

        Trading for Duchene (would put the rebuild back years) or an elite NHL offensive defenseman is ridiculously stupid. When was the last such D man to be traded, and what was the cost? Would either acquisition put them back in the playoffs or even help the rebuild? Maybe smell the coffee yourself, and put down the bong while you’re at it….the only way we’re out of this is by drafting and developing and I’m pretty comfortable with how it’s looking so far, especially after this draft.

      • Green Bastard

        The hockey news, haha. You’re an idiot. The Hockey News had Lind at #27, we got him at 33… steal! The Hockey News had Gadjovich ranked #33, we picked him at 55… total larceny!!! I thought I would mention what position the Canucks drafted these guys at as you probably didn’t know. And to mock peoples spelling on a board like this demonstrates your immaturity kiddo. Wake up sunny boi, smell your mom’s coffee.

  • Steamer

    Good discussion – we’ll see in a few years. Would have preferred not to have taken a goalie at #64, but no complaints about first 3 or picking up Palmu, given his production & chemistry with Gadjavich. Lots of clips on youtube showing Gadjovich & Palmu together. A bit uneasy regarding Rathbone given he missed time due to a concussion; not an encouraging injury history for an 18 year old.

    • Bud Poile

      Rathbone’s concussion was mild and he returned to hockey within a month.
      Contrast that with Crosby’s 7th concussion these playoffs,no missed games and goes on to win Stanley.

          • Bud Poile

            You know zero to nothing about concussions,I take it.
            A mild concussion is common for contact sports players:i.e. hockey players.
            Most NHL players have suffered concussions without diagnosis.
            Crosby should have retired years ago with a history of repeated ,serious concussions.
            So stuff your ignorant comments, Rusted One.

          • TheRealRusty

            Bud. Yes you do seem to be quite the expert on concussions which might explain most (if not all) of your drivel. Didnt know carrying around GMJBTL’s jockstraps was such a hazardous job!!!

      • Psych Major

        The extent of this loser Bud’s knowledge is based entirely on what he can google/wiki and cut n paste… the man is an utter fool with serious mental issues and zero actual knowledge from experience, as his post history under over a dozen accounts clearly proves.

        Conclusion – needs ‘professional’ help, badly.

  • Gino über alles

    There has been an enormous amount of effort undertaken by the team at this site to analyze these player profiles for us to mull over and debate and it’s been a real treat the last few months to go over them and get a better understanding of what is happening at the draft. I want to thank all of you for all the hard work and let you know that it’s been greatly appreciated, this has been a go to site for all the information on the Canucks of the future and I’m really looking forward to reading more about them in the months ahead.

  • Doodly Doot

    Other than not taking N. Hague at 33 (plausible Tryamkin upgrade), they did pretty good.
    Excellent coverage Army, pre and post. Nothing even close in traditional media. Keep it up. And thanks!

    • MM

      Yah i was wondering about that one. After getting their Center, I was hoping for Hague especially since they need D so much. Not that i have a problem with Lind…

  • LTFan

    I have read all the posts (25) so far. Except for some criticism by the same people most on here are of the opinion the Canucks have drafted quite well. Also none of the players selected by the Canucks from the 2017 Draft will make the team for at least 2 years. According to what I have read here, some players will go back to Junior, a few can play in the AHL and a few will remain with their European teams for another year. There will be no rush to push any of them into the NHL. So folks we are going to struggle for a few more years while the 2016 and 2017 drafted players develop. Like many on here it is difficult watching your team struggle night after night to win games. Hopefully there is a silver lining by 2019 and some of the players selected will be on the team. These players are the future.

    • TrueBlue

      I personally think it’s a good thing that no one projects to be on the roster next year. It’s going to be a tough year, yes.. no picks from this year can do anything to prevent that, it would just demoralize them. And with the strength of the draft next year, it’ll be worth the pain.

  • Freud

    Whether you like this draft or not, Vegas also appears to have had a great draft.

    Their first 4 picks were all in Bob McKenzie’s first round. Their first 7 picks were all in his top 80.

    They also secured former first rounders Alex Tuck and Shea Theodore this weekend, who are both 21 yrs old.

    You would also think they’ll be getting more draft picks over the next few years through their pending deals.

    Vancouver will be competing against Vegas just to get out of their division in 3-5 years when they will be stronger again. They will also have to get through a McDavid in his prime, just to get out of their division.

    Is this draft enough?

    • TrueBlue

      No, and it was never going to be enough. Realistically we need another year of being a bad team, and we need Juolevi+ to step up and make Tanev expendable. Hopefully the silver lining on not trading him this year is that he has a great season next year and returns a high pick in a stronger 2018 draft.

      • Pat Quinn Way

        What makes you think drafting under Benning is going to change anything? He has had a 5th, another 5th, a 6th, a 23rd and 24th in the first round alone and only ONE (Boeser) of 20 picks total has made the team whilst the likes of Cody Glass, Ehlers, Nylander, Tkachuk and 34 goal David Pastrnak were all passed over by this so-called draft guru lol.

        How many times do you guys have to be kicked in the head before you say ouch!

          • Pat Quinn Way

            But you didn’t after watching Bo Horvat quickly become our best player from 9th on the board did you! Not too mention the 5 division titles, 2 presidents trophies, our only western conf title, the hysteria of a Stanley Cup final run, playoff hockey year-after-year and hart/art ross/selke trophies for the Sedins n Kes.

            I miss those glory days under GMMG so much. Don’t you?…

          • DJ_44

            The fact that a 9th overall selection quickly became our best player is more of an indictment of Gillis/Gilman (and Nonis before him) draft performance rather that the compliment you thought it was.

          • Psych Major

            Don’t bother with this newbie fu^kwit Braindead – a classic case of delusion, double talk and terrible attempts at trolling by begging for the attention and not receiving any. Case in point…

            “Hague or Timmins at 33 and I’d be happy” – Green Bastard

            the Knights picked Hague directly after the Canucks passed…

            “Great draft by Jim and the Canucks!” – Green Bastard


    • defenceman factory

      No this draft isn’t enough but a step in the right direction.

      Canucks have good prospects at goalie and have a decent number of very strong forward prospects and young players. If Benning got the Pettersen pick right (I think he did) the Canucks are going to score a lot of goals.

      The quality of the D prospects is uncertain but probably needs to be better. There are some adequate players and others with high potential but time will tell. I’d be more confident if there was a sure fire PP quarterback.

      Next year could be pretty rugged especially if (when) Edler or Tanev miss much time. Hopefully Benning figures out a way to have a few extra picks next year.

      It shows just how long the road is back from years of a win now mandate and dismal drafting. The rebuild on the fly mandate sure didn’t speed things up.

  • Fortitude00

    Anyone getting wound up about this draft needs to take a deep breath. The Canucks will be lucky to get one player out of this draft that plays in the NHL and if they get 2 its gold. Next years draft should see the star player that we build around for the future.
    The #1 problem with fans is they don’t understand it takes years(3-5) for most draft picks to develop. If a guy outside the top 2 jumps into the NHL in his first couple years and has success it is rare.

  • TheRealPB

    I really hope CA builds off of the past month and a bit of content — absolutely loved the prospect profiles and while I might not have always agreed with your rankings they still made a lot of sense. The review of the picks we made was also good — not super worried about the later round ones, they really are lottery tickets. It was absolutely great that we went with the 3 skilled forwards and high compete goalie in the first four picks; Benning’s biggest awkward moment this draft seems to have been when he quickly grabbed that kid from making the 1st round selection.

    Also, can we please stop feeding the troll? PQW’s diatribes are nonsensical, boring and completely inaccurate. I am not sure why people spend so much time engaging.

    The consensus seems to be that three or four teams had a truly poor draft and we weren’t one of them. The NYR reaching for Anderson (though Chytil was a good pick in the 2nd), the bizarre Pens trade out of the 1st (plus a good young player) to get Ryan Reaves (!), and most of all the truly bizarro draft for the Red Wings. Now there was a team that went in with I think 11 picks and made some terrible choices (Petruzelli the G was the only good one i think). At 5 I think any of Petterson, Glass or Vilardi was a coin-toss; but to take Rasmussen with Vilardi and Tippett still around was bad.

    I thought our selections really did make me think this regime is committed to a rebuild; more upper level skills in some of those picks rather than the safer low upside ones.