Canucks select Artyom Manukyan at No. 186 and Matthew Thiessen at No. 192

The Canucks wrapped up their 2018 NHL draft by selecting winger Artyom Manukyan with the No. 186 pick and goaltender Matthew Thiessen with the No. 192 pick.

On Manukyan…

The team had the No. 161 pick to Washington for the No. 186 pick which they used on Manukyan and Washington’s sixth-round pick in 2019. They currently have eight picks for the 2019 draft.

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Manukyan had a prolific season in the MHL, but was passed over twice in the NHL draft due to his small stature.

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We don’t have a profile on Manukyan in our pre-draft top-100. Some other profiles…

Dobber Prospects 

Playing for Omskie Yastreby, Manukyan is the youngest player in the top five and leads the league in scoring by 12 points. He has 96 points, 36 of those goals with 60 assists, in only 52 games played. He will be 19 in June and could potentially be a top player for Russia in the upcoming World Junior Championship. Now you (the reader) may be wondering why you have not heard of Maukyan, at least I was, but then I read why. Manukyan is 5’7 and only 139 pounds, making him a very small player. Now he does have the skill, speed, IQ, and elusiveness that NHL teams covet, but he also has the size that many shy away from (and the birth country). If he were to gain some mass to his frame it would be wise of an NHL team to take a chance on this player late in the 2017 draft. He has set the record for point seasons in the MHL with 96, the previous being 94, so there is a ton of skill there. The points separating third place in scoring from 31st are 19 points, now the points separating Manukyan from third place is 37 TOTAL POINTS, if this kid could grow he could be very sought after asset.

MXA Junior Hockey League

“[Manukyan’s] biggest asset is his skill,” says Artyom Batrak, Kharlamov Cup champion and KHL-TV commentator. “It’s plain to see if you just follow Junior Hockey League on Twitter. Almost every week they tweet Manukyan’s masterpieces. I’ve seen a lot of his goals. I’ve seen him undressed have of the team to score a goal. He also has a great hockey IQ but you have to keep in mind that he plays in the Junior Hockey League. It’s one thing to deliver in JHL and it gets much harder in the KHL. However, Artyom has a head on his shoulders – he understands how to play the puck under pressure. As for his shot, it’s very good by JHL standards. Artyom scored a lot of goals because he knows how to shoot the puck.

“Why didn’t Valery Bragin invite Manukyan for the World Juniors camp? In recent years only players with professional hockey experience get a place on his team – at the very least, you need to have VHL experience. Manukyan didn’t have that experience. He played this season only for Omskie Yastreby, which isn’t enough for Bragin. It’s hard to say why Avangard coaching staff didn’t call him up for the final games of the regular season. Manukyan lacks size, he has a very mediocre frame. Although, a lot of people with his size do well on both sides of the pond. Besides, he’s in the system of one of the top KHL teams. Avangard have a great team and it’s difficult to crack the roster.

“I think, Manukyan is ready to play in a professional league next season. He’s too good for the JHL. His numbers in the JHL are fantastic. But unless Artyom will improve physically, it’s not likely we’re going to see him in KHL next season. Perhaps, he will train with Avangard in the pre-season and then go on to play in the VHL.”

On Thiessen…

With their final pick in the draft, the Canucks selected Matthew Thiessen who is committed to play for the University of Maine next season.

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As a league, the MJHL is generally inferior year over year when stacked up against other junior A leagues in regards to its ability to churn out NHLA quality prospects. That was not the case this year with the young Altona native who backstopped his Steinbach Pistons to a league championship and berth in the RBC Cup. Thiessen is a classic butterfly goalie who is a by the book technician that has perfected his form at a young age. Although he doesn’t deviate from this style much, his athletic ability is a definite asset as his motor functions and foot speed allow him to be more than just a typical angle savvy blocking type goaltender. The biggest issue I saw here was spatial awareness with the puck outside of his crease, something that can definitely be improved with time. He’s off to attend the University of Maine on a scholarship and is one of the more intriguing mysteries in the goaltending category this season.

  • TD

    Not counting the goalie, the Canucks tallest pick was 6’. I would have liked a little more balance as some bigger players are needed, especially in the playoffs.

    • Tedchinook

      I’m concerned they went small, small , small too. You obviously need a balance and given they were a slightly smaller than average team to start with I would have preferred a few bigger players mixed in.

      • Kneedroptalbot

        Skating, skating, skating, speed and skill.
        With no redline in todays NHL its a wide open game. All of the final 4 teams had lots of SSSSS. Canucks drafted a lot of very good skaters 🙂

        • Tedchinook

          Of the final four teams Winnipeg and Washington are among the biggest teams in the league. It’s not ALL about speed – it’s important obviously but you need a blend to win. The NHL has certainly opened their eyes to guys who are smaller and bring other attributes, but it’s not becoming a munchkin league.

  • wojohowitz

    A rather uneven performance by Benning and his team of scouts. He is ecstatic about Hughes and we can give him the benefit of no doubt. The kid said all the right things; Next year Canucks, Utica or Michigan.

    Jett Woo A 200 lb eighteen year old. Could be a Hamhuis for the next decade.

    Tyler Madden. There were better choices available.

    Toni Utunen. Could be a solid top four.

    Artem Manukyan 139 lbs really.

    Matthew Thiessen After four years at Maine he could be Kirk McLean all over again. Seventh round – buy a lottery ticket.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      I would have taken Dobson over Hughes, but most would agree that he was a steal at 7. Woo is a good pick, but Madden was not the BPA when his number came up. The rest is a crapshoot anyways.

        • Spiel

          The scouting report on McShane is that he is not a good skater. Pretty clear that the current scouting emphasis is on skating ability, so that was likely the reason they didn’t jump at McShane at this point. The reports on Madden are that he has blazing speed, tenacity, to go along with good vision and excellent puck skills. Judd Bracket gave some insight as to why they chose Madded over Wise. They felt Madden has more potential upside since he has not yet developed physically (5’11, 150ish lbs). Hence, the scouts felt that Wise is more of a finished product physically at 5’10, 190. The scouts felt it was worth a shot to see what Madden can do as he matures physically. I don’t think this is the pick of a grinder as some are portraying.

  • wojohowitz

    The bigger issue is that Benning seems to be trying to draft 3rd and 4th line grinders – like Kyle Petit, McKenzie Stewart and Madden – and he should be looking at free agents for those roles. San Jose does it well. A guy like Burrows learnt how to grind in the ECHL. Most drafted teenagers want to be trophy winners – not grinders.

    Different for defencemen who understand that playing a tough physical game might lead to a career but tough grinding forwards learn it in minor pro leagues.

    • Bud Poile

      Pettersson,Boeser,Lind,Rathbone,Manukyan,Juolevi,Hughes et al are not grinders but all rather highly skilled.
      The scouting team jointly create their list of players that result in having the best chance to make it to the NHL.
      It’s about odds,not your issues.

  • Rolland

    Always a crap shoot this deep, I don’t get the Madden attraction although I know nothing about him, good leader and gritty I’ve read. I watched Ronning a lot when he played in New West with the Bruins, I thought he was to small and soft for the NHL so there you go. I’ve watched some clips of Manukyan and he has the skills alright and pretty good wheels. Some good additions all in all.

  • Jamie E

    “I have VERY strong opinions about players I have never seen in a hockey game.” – commenters.

    Let’s wait a year or two and see how these players pan out before either celebrating or condemning picks. Canucks Army does some very good and entertaining prospects analysis. That doesn’t mean they are right. Bracket and Benning have earned some patience from me.

    • Bud Poile

      “He’s a little bigger than listed (at 140 pounds) but he is undersized,” Brackett said. “We watched him quite a bit at the Subway Series and the World Juniors. He’s a proven scorer in his junior league back home and broke records.
      “He does everything with pace. He’s another guy who you talk about courage and character and as a young guy, you need that.” Judd B

      Ronning,Boudrias and Lupul were all 5’8″.
      The Canucks will do their utmost to beef up their prospect so he has a shot.It’s not like he’s lacking skill ,speed or strength.

      • canuckfan

        If he has the drive to make it he will be a bargain he is still only 19 so can put on a few pounds. The play has not been along the boards digging the puck out, the play is now who can get to the puck the fastest and put it in play not fire it into the corner and see who can come out with it. Our defence is going to have a full change over in the next few years. Hutton can skate so lets see if he can get in the shape he needs to be in to play each and every shift at 110 percent. If he develops a work ethic like Stecher he can salvage a career and be the player he looked his first year.
        I don’t mind if the Canucks iced the same defence as last year because we need another good draft. Let some of the young prospects gel together in Utica its about adding that next great one in next years draft. Have Hughes play one more year of college with his brother then sign him for the end of the season and do all that we can to be able to draft his brother if that means losing then lets get to it.

  • wojohowitz

    Here`s some leftovers from the draft;

    | see Bud Melnyk at the Ottawa table and think; Man are they in trouble. He`s probably telling them who to pick.

    Give Treliving some credit. He paid a heavy price for Hamilton, signed him to a big contract and then quickly cut bait and moved on when he realized the players commitment was questionable – something Benning won`t do with Gudbranson.

    Moving up in the draft has to be pre-arranged with higher picks. When the Rangers approached Ottawa about the 22 for 26 and 48 picks Ottawa didn`t have to think about it. They knew it might happen and were ready.

    Benning was sitting on the 7th pick with Hughes, Boqvist, Bouchard, Dobson and Smith available. He doesn`t consider a switch which could bring in a quality defenceman like Klefbom or de Haan and still get a top knotch defensive prospect.

    Kudos to Doug Wilson for inserting himself into the Hoffman trade. Picking up picks at almost no risks. He`s learnt a few things since acquiring Heatley and blaming Niemi.

  • I am Ted

    Cam, thanks for posting info on the draft. It’s nice to see some effort being put out here. I see some of the other regulars aren’t blogging as much and I am hoping that allows for new bloggers to come in and offer more articles like CA used to provide.

  • Fred-65

    So does Manukyan join the other youngster for the prospects camp. It’ll be interesting to see how he stacks up against others, same for Toni Utunen. They’re unknowns playing in leagues we have lite experience of

  • Amazed at how many people are complaining about Manukyan’s size. He’s a sixth-round pick. Swing for the fences. The kid has led Russian junior and pro leagues in scoring. He can clearly play. Maybe his height will keep him out of the NHL, or maybe he’ll be able to translate his skill to the North American game. I’d rather Benning use depth picks on guys who have a 5% chance to be a first-line talent than guys who have a 10% chance to be a fourth-line grinder.