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Canucks Army 2017 Pre-Season Prospect Profiles: #8 Kole Lind

When the Vancouver Canucks selected Jonah Gadjovich at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft earlier this summer, many were quick to throw the “power forward” phrase around. While fellow second-round selection Kole Lind doesn’t have the size or strength that Gadjovich does, don’t be surprised if we look back one day and find that Lind came closer to fitting that bill.

No, he’s never going to be Milan Lucic or Todd Bertuzzi, but he’s got soft hands, a nose for the net, and even a bit of a mean streak.

Qualifications

We’ve changed the qualifications up just a little bit this year. Being under the age of 25 is still mandatory (as of the coming September 15th), but instead of Calder Trophy rules, we’re just requiring players to have played less than 25 games in the NHL (essentially ignoring the Calder Trophy’s rule about playing more than six games in multiple seasons).

Graduates from this time last year include Brendan Gaunce, Troy Stecher, and Nikita Tryamkin, while Anton Rodin is simply too old now, and Jake Virtanen is not being considered solely as a result of his games played.

Scouting Report

Kole Lind isn’t the Canucks best prospect, but he may be my favourite. As Western Hockey League fan, I’ve had a front seat to Kole Lind’s career with the Kelowna Rockets. Every time I saw the Rockets in action Lind was one of the biggest standouts, and I always left wondering why more people weren’t talking about him. We had Lind at 37 in our 2017 pre-draft rankings, but I was shocked to see him that low, considering I had Lind at 21 on my list. In other words, Lind is a first-round calibre prospect, at least in my estimation.

Lind lead a strong Rockets team in scoring last season, with 87 points in 70 games. Among first-time draft-eligible forwards, Lind ranked 5th in the WHL in point-per-game pace behind only top-five picks Nolan Patrick and Cody Glass and Canucks Army favourites Kailer Yamamoto and Mason Shaw.

Ryan Biech covered the pre-draft profile of Lind, where he gave a great rundown on the basics of Lind’s game:

“Lind is a player that I’m very familiar with given he played for the Rockets in the WHL this past year. Back in November, I did a complete scouting report on a game between the Vancouver Giants and Kelowna here. Lind played well that night, showcasing his hockey sense and ability to read the play. At the time, Lind was hovering around an projected early third round selection, but he had such a good season he is now in the conversation as a potential first round pick.

Lind will need to fill out as he is quite lean, but once he does, he will be able to effectively use his skill set at the next level. He is relentless on the puck when on the forecheck and uses his speed to push defencemen into quick decisions.

His ability to make a play out of nothing is what separates him. Lind slips into the gap in coverage and suddenly the puck comes there. The Shaunavan native is a skilled passer who puts the puck right on the stick of his teammate, but his shot release is still very good. He is able to create offence in multiple ways and that makes him extremely effective.”

While Lind isn’t quite what you’d call a two-way ace, there aren’t any glaring holes in his game. A lot of Lind’s production came via secondary assists and on the powerplay, but that’s true of virtually all of his peers as well, and it’s clear through multiple viewings that Lind was usually the player driving the bus on his line. It’s also worth noting that although Lind is listed at RW he also saw a lot of action in the middle with the Rockets as well. That versatility could be a valuable asset moving forward.

pGPS looks fondly on Lind, who carries an expected success percentage of 41.2% based on a sample of 192 players. Lind’s cohort includes a number of highly impressive names, including Jamie Benn, Ryan Johansen, Andrew Ladd, Shane Doan, and Ray Ferraro.

 

 

At this point, there isn’t a ton more to say about Lind because he’s an under-the-radar prospect who’s still got a lot to prove before he cracks an NHL lineup. One thing is certain, though: the early signs are good. The Canucks probably don’t have a future elite forward in Lind, but he looks like a player who could eventually turn out to be a versatile and offensively-gifted middle-six winger. If you can get that with an early second round pick, that’s a huge win.

  • Canucks Realist

    You failed to mention that the very next pick was 6′ 6 – 215lb (at 18) Nicolas Hague, a defensive behemouth with offensive/pp upside who would’ve been an ideal replacement for the departed Tryamkin. He went to Vegas and once again, Benning was outsmarted by McPhee – this kid put up 46 points, was a plus 28 and racked up 107 penalty minutes for Mississagua on D last season.

    Now, love the Kelowna Rockets, but considering that small middle-six wingers are a dime-a-dozen and contending teams are built on the kind of player Hague is from the backend, this was a massive oversight imo… remember the name when we play Vegas over the years guys – Nicolas Hague. It will come back to haunt us, i assure you.

    • Forward Thinker

      I do not agree with your assessment that Lind is a miss. Hague is big but that does not mean he will be an NHL defender. I understand he is not mobile and, like Trayamkin, does not make the best use of his size. Lind is a strong forward who can move from third to second line and from wing to centre and still be effective that is an asset. I think you are underestimating his value. No knock on Hague, but Lind is a good choice.

    • DJ_44

      Did you see Hague at the world jr. summer showcase? The guy could not skate well enough to keep up with the game at the pace it was played. I think they actually benched him.

      Maybe he will gain coordination as he matures, but that was not a ringing endorsement of your appraisal.

  • Gino über alles

    I actually really wanted the Canucks to draft Isaac Ratcliffe when he slipped to the second round, I was really happy when Colorado passed on him at 32nd (though I really wanted Timmins as well), but the more I read about Lind the happier I am with this pick. I have a lot of faith in how the Canucks draft and am pretty willing to play this out and see.

    Hague though, you’ve got to be kidding….there’s a 6’6 defender every year whom looks good at the draft table and we never hear of them again. Having pp upside means that he hasn’t hit it yet….in junior. This was a heck of a draft for the home team as their picks all seemed to have as much character as they do talent, and that’s how hockey teams are built.

    • Jabs

      Every time I saw Ratcliffe play it seemed like he was tripping over his own skates, he looks like a very awkward skater. I like the pick the Canucks made, Lind is a way better player than Ratcliffe.

    • kelowna kev

      ”Having pp upside means that he hasn’t hit it yet….in junior.”

      don’t have a clue what the hell that means because surely if you are a decent pp player in juniour that’s the only yardstick there is to see there is great potential to translate this into the NHL!

      seen kole lind play a bunch for the rockets and trust me, he ain’t all that. also a bit of an immature party boy, which isn’t gonna be helped when he hits vancouver. cal foote (and his younger brother) are the real deal though, but have to agree that the big fella hague would’ve been a smarter choice. don’t forget, these kids are just prospects at this point, so it makes alot more sense to me to pick a huge offensive D-man with a very good scouting report than to pass it up for a small winger who isn’t called pat kane.

      • Bud Poile

        ” it makes alot more sense to me to pick a huge offensive D-man with a very good scouting report than to pass it up for a small winger…”
        6’1″
        176 lbs.
        18 years old
        Common sense says he’s not small,whatsoever.

        • kelowna kev

          “Lind will need to fill out as he is very lean and also learn how to play a more physical game as he rarely hits” – craig button

          I watch him play guy, do you? as others have said cole is not physical at all and his lanky 175 on a 6 1 frame is not impressive, especially compared to a 6’6 and 215ib beast at the same age. might wanna keep it zipped there fella, unless you know better than those of us who watch the rockets on a regular basis.

          • Bud Poile

            You said he’s small and he’s not.
            You got that wrong so I’ll side with the Canucks scouting staff’s decision to draft him over your opinion.
            Thanks.

          • defenceman factory

            Lind may be listed at 6’1″ 176 lbs but he plays like 5’9″ 156 lbs. The last time he went into a corner his kindergarden teacher sat him there for misbehaving.

            I don’t know who might have been a better pick but I would have preferred the Canucks stayed away from Lind. I’m glad the Canucks didn’t take Hague. The kid clearly cannot skate.

            Hopefully Lind grows up but last season he was consistently the whiniest player on the ice.

          • Bud the Dud

            Wasting your time with this proven no lifer loser guys, let little ‘special’ bud side wth the Canucks scouting staff…i mean, they’ve done such a great job so far eh lmfao

  • defenceman factory

    I am still very concerned about this pick. I’ve seen Lind play a lot and my biggest concern is how he disappears in big games. He was a +36 through the regular season feasting on horrible teams like the Giants but went -5 in the playoffs. He completely vanished against Seattle in the conference final. It would be interesting to look at Lind’s points last season under the light of quality of competition. The Rockets were a very strong club last year and I think that masked Lind’s shortcomings. I’ve watched several games where it appeared Lind was unaware hockey was a contact sport.

    Lind will have much more of a leadership role this year. Kid definitely has some skills and hopefully he will continue to develop.

  • PadStack

    As someone who lives in Kelowna and saw Kole play live 20+ times last year I will say this: he seems like a decent prospect but I think there were players with higher ceilings. I would not describe him as a physical player, he can be chippy but mostly after the whistles. Most of his points are generated by banging in pucks 5 ft from the net (not necessarily a bad thing). That said, he’s a sound skater and solid in his own zone. In my opinion I imagine him topping out as a 3rd line player with 10-15G, 20-30pts a year. Not a bad pick by any means, but I would have preferred Hague or Boquist, players with a higher ceiling.

    • Bud the Dud

      Great to have some real insight from you Kelowna rednecks on this one. Sounds like another Benning bust to me, while the usual blowhards are trying in vain to tow the party line that this was a good pick! Take no notice, they are trolling losers.

      I totally agree that McPhee robbed us, not once but twice. I had Glass and Hague as my top first and second rounders, with Callan Foote and Tim Liljegren as my top trade down options. I stick by it.

      Also, I won’t be watching for five years to form an astute opinion on both Vegas players compared to Petterson and Lind either… I picked Tkachuk over Juolevi in 2016 and that’s already a done deal… Matty is in the show straight from the draft, Juolevi is not. End of story.

          • Bud the Dud

            *edit*
            “Last year Marner, Tkachuk, Provorov, Matthews, Nylander, Laine,etc. jumped straight from the draft table into making an impact at the highest level.” – Bud Poile aka the sh(i)thouse RAT

            ” The Canucks need players that can contribute out of the gate, particularly on D. I would take Liljegren or Heiskanen. Glass or Vilardi if they go for the future. Hopefully it’s a player that is close to NHL ready come September” – Bud Poile aka the Quadra Island c(u)nt

          • Saundero

            Bud and Dud.

            It seems like you guys have some serious relationship issues to work out. Maybe seek out situations where you can have an open and frank conversation with one another. May I suggest a walk in Stanley Park, maybe grab a coffee, or perchance grab the opportunity to take in a hockey game together.

            Either way, like many rocky relationships, it’s embarrassing when you air your dirty laundry in public.

            Kiss and make up already.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    The WHL is a very hard league to score in relative to the OHL and Q, from my observation. For a guy in his draft year, and in that league specifically, Lind’s production was very impressive (it compares quite favourably to Virtanen’s, for instance, and he went 6th overall). Sure he has to fill out quite a bit, but betting on physically immature but gifted players to gain muscle in their late teens seems far smarter of a long term wager than betting on preternaturally big guys with below average hockey sense to all the sudden “get it” out there. Benning’s drafting at the 2017 draft was outstanding by that measure, and I sure don’t like to praise him that much.