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Judd Brackett’s TSN 1040 Post-Draft Wrap Up

For most of the regular season, the two days of the NHL Entry Draft were a long time coming. Knowing the Canucks would end up with relatively high picks in each round, the opportunity to bring new players into the organization was an exciting thought. They went into the draft with seven picks total, but that increased to eight when Jim Benning traded a fourth-rounder for fifth and sixth-round picks.

Although some remain unconvinced that Elias Pettersson over Cody Glass was the right move, the Canucks certainly impressed with their picks on Day 2.  Judd Brackett checked in with TSN 1040 to give the 4-11 on the newest members of the organization.

Elias Pettersson – 1st round, 5th overall

Brackett:“I’m not sure [him playing with Dahlen] was a tipping point, but it was a relevant point. Obviously playing together and playing in a men’s league – the success that they’ve had – we took into consideration. You have instant chemistry there and a chance to maybe have them playing together in the top 6 in the future. It’s hard to ignore.”

Brackett on Pettersson’s weight:“He does (have room to grow). He’s 6’2” and the width of his shoulders – he obviously has room to grow and he knows that. Strength is something he’s going to work on. When you watch him play, what’s 165 lbs for him might be 175 or 180 for others. He’s strong and he can leverage and protect the puck along the wall.”

As we are all aware of, Henrik and Daniel are nearing the ends of their careers and will be going into the history books. The Canucks are set up for a great story should Pettersson and Dahlen reach their potentials. As the best two Swedes retire, the next two are just beginning. Temper expectations, however, because both players will likely need some time. Described by Hockeyprospect.com’s Shane Malloy as “A potential No. 1 centre”, the Canucks would have done excellent if Pettersson comes anywhere close to Henrik’s level of play.

Kole Lind – 2nd round, 33rd overall

Kole Lind is a player whose case could certainly be made to be a first-round pick. Luckily for the Canucks, he barely slipped and they took him with their first second-round pick. Playing in the WHL, opportunities to watch Lind play well be plentiful. He plays for an excellent program in Kelowna that has produced the likes of Jamie Benn, Leon Draisaitl, Tyson Barrie, and yes, Alex Edler as well.

Brackett:“At the close of last night – knowing we had the second pick at the second round – it was easy for us to have a discussion and talk about Kole Lind and what he brings. He’s a smart hockey player, excellent hands, quick release. He has some power in his game and goes to the net. He’s a feisty guy and his 80+ penalty minutes indicate that. There’s a subtlety to his game, but there’s no denying he gets himself involved all over the ice. His awareness and hockey sense is excellent.”

Jonah Gadjovich – 2nd round, 55th overall

Like Lind, Gadjovich could have easily been a late first-round pick. Picking him up in the latter end of the second round, the Canucks got themselves a big power forward who can shoot the puck. Having played with Vegas first-rounder Nick Suzuki for a majority of the season, the duo is bound to have an even better season next year.

Brackett:“There’s no denying what he is. He is a big body, he’s a net-front presence. His ability on the power-play and what he does in the net-front – gets sticks on pucks and rebounds and creating space for others – is excellent.”

Brackett on Gadjovich’s skating: “We identified it as his weakness right now. We talked to him at the Combine and we talked to him during the year – he knows it and he’s aware of it. I think you get the sense he’s a high-character kid and he’s motivated. He’s aware of his strengths and weaknesses and that’s important.

Although Gadjovich’s skating is the main weakness, he stated in an interview with Matt Sekeres that he is working with skating coach Tracy Tutton. Tutton has worked with the Anaheim Ducks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and is currently the skating coach with the Oshawa Generals. Contrary to popular belief, she is not the coach working with Bo Horvat. Nonetheless, Gadjovich is aware of his flaw and is motivated to improve it. That’s always a good sign, especially from an 18 year-old.

Michael DiPietro – 3rd round, 64th overall

Benning stated yesterday that he planned on drafting a goaltender sometime after the second round, and that he did. Fresh off a Memorial Cup win with the Windsor Spitfires, DiPietro was regarded as one of the best goaltenders in the draft. Although Canucks Army had him ranked 88th, there was certainly the possibility that he’d be taken by the time the Canucks picked in the fourth round. DiPietro is a promising goaltender who would make a nice pair with Thatchet Demko in the future.

Brackett:“He’s a proven winner – 18 and led [his] team to the Memorial Cup in his hometown. He’s been through some adversity, he’s a hard worker, and he has tremendous athleticism. If you’re looking for the prototypical 6’2 goalie, that’s not him. His power and his movements and desperation and compete are second to none for us.”

Jack Rathbone – 4th round, 95th overall

With their fourth-round pick, the Canucks went the rare high school route to select their first defenseman. The last time the team drafted a player out of high school was in 2012 when they took Matthew Beattie out of Exeter. Not only is Rathbone a blueliner, but he’s an offensive blueliner and his numbers certainly show it.

Brackett:“I’ve known Jack, he’s actually played some summer tournaments for me back in the day. I have quite a bit a familiarity with him. A tremendous skater, puck mover, likes to get up in the play, has power-play ability, big shot from the point. Very exciting. The level is the level, but I’m not worried about Jack. He’s a self-starter and a go-getter. I expect him to dominate the way he did this year and continue to push the envelope.”

For those hesitant about drafting out of high school, Brackett’s familiarity with Rathbone should ease those thoughts. Rathbone is a project, but he definitely has the potential to be a productive NHL player.

Kristoffer Gunnarsson – 5th round, 135th overall

Arguably the most questionable pick of the draft, the Canucks simply added defensive depth to their prospect pool. Not much is known about Gunnarsson, but we’ll have a better idea at development camp.

Brackett:“He’s for sure a defensive-oriented player. He’s aggressive, he’s got some jam to him for sure. When you play against him, you know you’re playing against him. He’s experienced and had a very strong World Juniors. He was the responsible, stay-at-home guy who made guys pay.”

Petrus Palmu – 6th round, 181st overall

Over the past few years, the NHL has seen a rise in small, speedy forwards. Although many teams have embraced the idea of drafting players of the like, the Canucks never appeared to be one of them. That is until today. Standing at 5’7″, Palmu played on the same line as Jonah Gadjovich and Nick Suzuki in Owen Sound. According to Elite Prospects, Palmu has the speed, offensive skills, and capable defensive play to have been a sure-fire draft pick in the past two drafts. The Canucks got a waterbug who can definitely turn some heads in the future.

Brackett: “We had to (ignore his height). His play speaks for itself. The height is a bit shocking, but it’s never held him back. His success has continued. Physically, he’s short but I would not call him small. He’s got a fire hydrant build and you have to play through him. He’s got a low centre of gravity, great sense, awareness and makes other better, too.”

Matthew Brassard, 188th overall

With their last pick, the Canucks went for another shoot-for-the-fences player, and one who loves to shoot.

Brackett:“When you get to that round, he has a clear, defining separating skill – an ability with the puck, generates shots. We identified him early last year but had limited reps in Barrie. When he was traded, it really sparked our interest so we got into Oshawa quite a bit. He’s been a shooter all along.”

For the second straight year, the Canucks exercised their late-round picks on over-aged players. Last year, the Canucks selected Jakob Stukel (D+1), Rodrigo Abols (D+2), and Brett McKenzie (D+1), and then drew upon the same approach this season.

Brackett on drafting over-aged players: “I don’t know if it’s that they’re more ready, but it’s an organizational approach of continuing to monitor development. We want to see players are still making progress. Just because it’s not their first time through doesn’t mean they’re not a later bloomer or their game hasn’t taken the next big step. We’re not they’re to give up on guys, we’re going to keep watching them.”

Although it was reported by Matt Sekeres that major changes may be coming to the front-office, one can easily say that the 2017 NHL Draft has, so far, looked like one their best. They certainly did good drafting Pettersson, Lind, Gadjovich, and DiPietro in the early rounds, and then took two fliers in Rathbone and Palmu. One can certainly argue against the picks of Gunnarsson and Brassard, though it’s far too early to jump to that conclusion. Overall, the Canucks did very well over the past two days.

  • Fortitude00

    Can’t really complain won’t know for 5 years how most of these guys pan out. Would have liked to see an offensive d men with a RHS drafted early but I am ok with the picks.

  • TD

    They drafted 3 players that could have gone in the first round. That sounds pretty good. I was a Glass fan, but Pettersson has a higher level of skill. I don’t mind the swing for the fences with the pick, lets hope he can add some weight. I like the Dipietro pick. Good chance he will represent at the world juniors at Christmas. Who knows with goalies, but they added one of the top ranked prospects. Like the last poster stated, we won’t know for a bunch of years.

    • Pat Quinn Way

      We will know about Cody Glass right away because like Matt Tkachuk, he will be playing NHL hockey straight from the draft next season and already has a man’s body (6′ 2, 185). Petterssen is stuck in Sweden until his masters tell him he can play in the NHL and not the AHL, as they refuse to let their kids play in a superior North American league with NHL rink sizes (the A produces 80 per cent of NHL’ers) , so it could be years (if ever) before this 161 pound wimp who needs to add a colossal 25 lbs of muscle (more like 30 plus in the pacific) makes the show for a team ‘desperate’ for an NHL ready number one centre now! Brutal pick and just like at the NHL awards/expansion draft and draft we are once again the laughing stock of the league.

      • Lightbrigade

        At the combine, Glass weighed in at 177lbs and Pettersson weighed 165lbs…..for the record…..and neither guy should be anywhere near the NHL next year.

      • Andy

        1. You don’t draft players from the AHL, so the “80% percent of NHlers come from the AHL” comment is useless when discussing drafting.

        2. If you’re all about players developing in the AHL, then Peterson/Dahlen are superior prospects because their Swedish hockey experience makes them exempt from the CHL/AHL agreement – both are allowed to join the AHL basically whenever, whereas a Junior player has to finish 4 years of CHL play (or be 20 at the start of the season)

        3. Did you see the Canucks expansion list? This is not a team ready to compete next year. This is the perfect time to insulate the young, skilled prospects (Dahlen, Juolevi, Demko, Petterson, maybe even Boeser) from the rebuilding NHL roster and let them develop. If you’re such a big fan of the Maple Leafs moves, this should look exceptionally familiar (see: the year in which they ended up with Matthews)

  • Elliot McKenzie

    Looks like this is the place to be as SBN is deadsville. Hoping for some decent hockey talk here.

    Is anyone concerned about how Vegas schooled us in the draft and appear to already have a very good team in the making, because I am? Picking up Suzuki and Glass in the first was worrying enough but then letting them get a 6′ 5 Defensive beast Nic Hague as well was a big mistake in my opinion.

    With quality like Fleury, Methot and James Neal also in the mix for the Golden Knights, I think we are in for a real tough season. Could be make or break for the current management team, what do you think?

    • Braindead Benning

      Agreed, LV should ice a more balanced team then the canucks but then again, the 2017 Batam B league champion could probably give the canucks a run for the money…lol gotta give Kudos to TL & JB going into their 4th year and looking like another 28-31 finish

      Anyway, on paper it definitely appears that the GW picked up a little more depth on drafting however, they did have a bit of an advantage with the extra first rounder which will give all those JB jock sniffers another excuse….i guess we will see in 2-3 years time