The Vancouver Canucks are scheduled to host the 2019 NHL Entry Draft on June 21 and 22 at Rogers Arena, and they’re currently slated to select 10th overall—their lowest first round selection since selecting Brock Boeser 23rd overall in 2015.
The 2019 draft class looks to be a deep one—and there will be multiple high-level prospects left to choose from when Jim Benning and Co. are called to the podium—but 10th overall might prove underwhelming for a franchise that has selected inside the top-ten in five of the last six drafts. That’s just one of many reasons why the Canucks might be looking to trade up before making their selection.
Alternatively, Benning could look to move higher in the draft if there’s a certain player he has his eye on or if a prospect drops a few spots unexpectedly—or if the price is too reasonable to pass up. Speaking of prices, this edition of the Trade Market will take a look at what each of the nine teams slotted before Vancouver in the draft might ask in return for a pick swap—and whether or not such a move would be worth the Canucks’ while.
1st Overall, New Jersey Devils
There’s been a lot of discussion around the possibility of trading up for the Devils’ pick and selecting Jack Hughes—but such a move is so unlikely as to barely warrant discussion. Assuming that Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are off the table—as they should be—New Jersey would be asking for something along the lines of
Brock Boeser+Bo Horvat+10th Overall
Such a price would hopefully be too rich for Jim Benning’s blood. Losing two foundational pieces—along with a good shot at a third—for a non-generational player would be poor asset management, especially when the Canucks already have a top center in Pettersson.
2nd Overall, New York Rangers
Kaapo Kakko appears to be every bit the talent that Jack Hughes is, and so everything said about the value of the 1st overall pick can probably be applied to the 2nd. The Rangers are in the midst of a rebuild but already loaded with draft picks, so they could be open to exchanging Kakko for another top flight prospect with a plus—something like
Quinn Hughes+10th Overall
With the Vancouver fanbase already in love with Hughes, such a trade would be a hard sell—and probably not in the overall best interest of the franchise. The Canucks already have Brock Boeser at the right wing and are in need of more young assets, not fewer.
3rd Overall, Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks were the real winners of the 2019 Draft Lottery, jumping into the top-three from 12th overall despite still being a playoff contender. As such, they’re probably not eager to deal away a pick that could step into their lineup on an entry level contract within a year or two—although they might be persuaded to trade it for a premier player that could contribute right away. A deal of
Brock Boeser+10th Overall
Would probably pique Chicago’s interest and could be worth the Canucks’ while if Boeser’s contract demands have been particularly onerous—and if Benning really, really likes Bowen Byram or one of the big centers. Again, both sides are probably better off keeping the assets they already have.
4th Overall, Colorado Avalanche (via Ottawa Senators)
At fourth overall via the incompetence of the Ottawa organization—and also in possession of their own 16th overall pick—the Avalanche are the first team on the list that might be described as likely to actively shop their pick. As an active contender, Colorado is apparently in the market for a second-line center and is always looking for more defensemen, so perhaps they’d be interested in something like
Bo Horvat+Olli Juolevi
With the sharp drop in talent after the top two or three of the 2019 Draft, however, the Canucks would have a tough time justifying a Horvat trade to their fans. Horvat has already been pencilled in as the team’s next captain by a majority of the fanbase—and trading him for a prospect that would be a year or two away would be counterproductive at this point in the rebuild.
5th Overall, Los Angeles Kings
The Kings are in dire need of young assets, so they’re probably not all that interested in moving from the fifth spot—unless they’re moving up themselves, that is. Vancouver would have to go futures-heavy in a trade for the 5th overall, with something like
10th Overall+40th Overall+2020 2nd Round Pick
The Canucks—who aren’t exactly rich in surplus draft picks—can’t really afford such a package, and are thus unlikely to close a deal with the Kings.
6th Overall, Detroit Red Wings
At this point, the 2019 draft class is so nebulous that trade-up scenarios will be heavily dependent on teams’ individual scouting lists. A jump from 10th to 6th could be as simple as
10th Overall+40th Overall
But it all depends on who is available. As the hosts of the draft, the Canucks probably want to make as many picks as possible. Benning would likely avoid trading their 2019 second rounder and instead look to deal picks from future years—but that would also make the Red Wings a whole lot less interested.
7th Overall, Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres have made a lot of picks in recent years and are on the verge of playoff contention, so they might be open to accepting picks from future years as part of a trade-up scenario. Something along the lines of
10th Overall+2020 2nd Or 3rd Round Pick
Could get Buffalo to bite, but it’s entirely dependent on their ranking of the prospects available. If they agree to this sort of deal—and there’s a player that Benning and his scouts really want—this would probably be a deal worth making, if only to excite the fans in attendance.
8th Overall, Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers present an interesting opportunity when it comes to trading up—and, as it always is with Edmonton, “interesting” doesn’t translate to something complimentary. The Oilers are hard up for cap space, and they have apparently discussed moving their pick as a way to alleviate their financial situation. Jumping two spots in the draft wouldn’t warrant taking on a major cap dump, but the Aquilinis could probably swallow Brandon Manning’s one remaining year for the
In a straight-up deal. It’s hard to imagine many fans complaining about that—especially with Manning likely playing out his contract in Utica.
9th Overall, Anaheim Ducks
Jumping up one spot in the draft wouldn’t be all that expensive, but it’s an entirely situational thing. If the Canucks approach the Ducks about such a swap, it will mean that Benning and Co. have their eyes on a specific player that they think Anaheim also wants to pick—and there will have to be another player that the Ducks are comfortable picking instead in exchange for compensation. At most, the Canucks would give up
10th Overall+2020 3rd Round Pick
Such a scenario is unlikely anyway, as draft rankings are so scattered that the Ducks and Canucks probably have their eyes on entirely different players.
Trading into the top-ten of any NHL Entry Draft is difficult—unless one goes the Colorado Avalanche route and does so a year in advance. It’s going to be especially difficult in a draft year that is so rich with talent in the upper half of the first round. The downside of this is that it will ultimately not prove worthwhile for Jim Benning to trade up before taking the podium in Rogers Arena on June 21—but the upside is that the Vancouver Canucks are still practically guaranteed to draft a dynamite prospect at 10th overall in front of the hometown crowd.