Photo Credit: Rena Laverty

2019 Draft Countdown: Daniil Gutik, Case McCarthy, Drew Helleson, Artemi Knyazev, and Jordan Spence

Welcome to Canucks Army’s 2019 Draft Countdown. Over the next four weeks leading up to the draft, we’ll be rounding up scouting reports, quotes, and videos about our Top-100 prospects available. Here are aggregated profiles on 2019 Draft Countdown: Daniil Gutik, Case McCarthy, Drew Helleson, Artemi Knyazev, and Jordan Spence.

No. 60: Daniil Gutik

Date of birth: August 13th, 2001

Nation: Russia

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Position: LW

Shoots: R

Height: 6’3” / 190 cm

Weight: 179 lbs / 81 kg

Profile: A talented offensive forward with nasty hands and great playmaking, Gutik has been slept on by some scouts. While his skating needs improvement and he could be more physical for his size, gambling on Gutik could really pay off. 

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“Lanky winger prefers to distribute the puck rather than shoot it. He owns strong vision, creativity and offensive instincts. His skating stride is a work in progress but should be bolstered as he develops strength in his lower half.” – Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects

“While his point totals in Russia’s top junior league, the MHL, don’t jump off the page, Gutik can be a forced to be reckoned with out on the ice thanks to his enormous frame and soft hands. – Derek Neumeier – Future Considerations

He possesses very good hockey sense and hands, and is good at creating scoring chances out of nowhere. Needs to cut stupid penalties, and although he is big, he is not necessarily strong on skates.” – Konstantin Glazov, Future Considerations

No. 59: Case McCarthy

Date of birth: January 9th, 2001

Nation: USA

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Position: D

Shoots: R

Height: 6’1” / 185 cm

Weight: 198 lbs / 90 kg

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Profile: A reliable puck-moving blueliner, McCarthy plays a solid two-way game. He’s a strong all-around blueliner who moves the puck well offensively while being physical and hard to beat in his own end. 

I’m a two-way defenseman who has the ability to create offensively with my passing coming out of the zone. I have that defensive aspect of my game where I can play physical in my own end. I want to make guys not want to play against me. I definitely take pride in my own end first. – Casey McCarthy

Has good size, excellence feet and terrific all-around skills and offensive capabilities. Poised with good size and hands. Seemed to out-shine the rest of the highly regarded US defenders in the Five Nations Tourney last August. Committed to Boston University. – Bill Placzek, Draft Site

No.58: Drew Helleson

Date of birth: March 26th, 2001

Nation: USA

Position: D

Shoots: R

Height: 6’3” / 191 cm

Weight: 194 lbs / 88 kg

Profile: A 6-foot-3 mobile defenseman who can move the puck well, Helleson had a great season on a shutdown pairing for the U.S. National U18 team. He’s very reliable defensively and has the playmaking ability to make him a well-rounded rearguard.

A clean and clever two-way defenseman who can skate himself out of a jam in any zone at any point in the game. Helleson is the most reliable puck manager on a very talented NTDP blue line and is capable of maintaining control while being tightly checked or double teamed. He plays in all situations, and he is most effective when he is orchestrating a lengthy possession inside the opposing zone. Helleson does not play like he hungers for his name on the stat sheet — he’s an unselfish rearguard who is comfortable distributing the puck, and one who involves himself in the play as much as possible. Helleson has an average shot but his accuracy is excellent. He is a threat to make a quick dash or fake to the slot and wire a shot through traffic, but he also owns a hard backhander that he can roof with authority.

Helleson is an strong one-on-one defender with quick closing speed and an active stick. He stands up at the blue line and makes reads that lead to counterattacks or odd-man rushes, but he also knows when to retreat and assume his duties near the goal. Helleson seems to have an advanced understanding of his slot duties and stays vigilant no matter the puck’s location in his own end. He will vacate on occasion, and although he isn’t overly physical, Helleson will put forth a ferocious effort while battling in front. – Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst 

Tall USA National Development defenseman with excellent mobility, playmaking prowess, passing ability, and calmness to his game. Moves the biscuit well and will activate from his defensive position. Capable as a power play quarterback and smart and able to get penalty kill time. Very responsible at reading the developing attack and as adept at being part of the attack. Needs a bit more time to get stronger and develop fully. – Bill Placzek, Draft Site

No.57:Artemi Knyazev

Date of birth: January 4th, 2001

Nation: Russia

Position: D

Shoots: L

Height: 5’11” / 180 cm

Weight: 176 lbs / 80 kg

Profile: A smart and aggressive blueliner, Knyazev has great puck-moving ability and sees the ice well. His excellent mobility and assertive play style have some scouts projecting him as a first-rounder. 

Knyazev generally plays the game aggressively and also in a bit in a loose manner, which makes for some fun viewings. His aggressive nature pays off more in his neutral zone where Knyazev looks to break up play early by using his stick to cut off passing lanes. Teams won’t draft Knyazev for his defensive game. He will be selected because of his mobility, his potential as a puck-mover and his willingness to step up. He will be a good gamble to take in June because of his mobility, his potential as a puck-mover and his willingness to step up. – David St. Louis, Habs Eyes on the Prize

Knyazev is a smart player who uses his speed and his stick to defend and get the puck away from the opposition. He excels on the rush as he is strong at carrying the puck with speed and skill. Knyazev uses these abilities to create chances in the offensive zone while still managing to stand tall on the blueline. – David Ciss, Puck Prose

He possesses some slick edges, great agility and an impressive top speed that helps him move around the ice at his will. He controls the action offensively for Chicoutimi with his great instincts, positioning and puck distribution. The Russian defenceman is very poised and he’s always moving to adapt to the play. – Andy Lehoux, Future Considerations

Strong two-defender in the mix as a first rounder. Not overly big, but very willing to play aggressive in both ends. Creative in the attack zone and will step up at his blue line to make contact will maintain good gaps or be more than willing to engage on the wall. Has a low hard shot and has good intelligence and creativity in the offensive end. sees the situation and can be a deceptive creator with great passes and slap passes that are unsuspecting. Will carry the mail or make the outlet. – Bill Placzek, Draft Site


No.56:Jordan Spence

Date of birth: February 24th, 2001

Nation: Canada/Japan

Position: D

Shoots: R

Height: 5’10” / 179cm

Weight: 165 lbs/ 75 kg

Profile: A terrific skater with elite passing ability, Spence has rose in the rankings thanks to a great rookie year in the QMJHL. If Spence can add size and fix some of his mistakes in the defensive zone, he could be a solid gamble. 

Spence is a complete puck-mover two-way defensemen. His skating is simply incredible. His edge work is amazing and his turns are quick and seamless. He just moves around the ice so well. – Andy Lehoux, Future Considerations

Fits the push defender style well with his high end tools, mobility and power play quarterbacking prowess. Not completely polished in his own end, he is good without the puck and a smart hockey head in his own zone. Really good puck carrier with vision. Very agile and mobile but still needs to improve and get stronger if he is to progress to the highest level play. Lots to like in this development push defender. – Bill Placzek, Draft Site

Spence is a smart defenceman who can around the ice with the puck. Seems to constantly have his head up to look for cracks in his opponents’ defence and then exploit it through his playmaking abilities. Measuring in at 5’10” and 165 lbs, there will be questions about his ability to defend in professional hockey. But Spence’s hockey IQ, puck distribution, and vision lets him thrive in the offensive zone, particularly on the man advantage, and are all attributes that would him to overcome those concerns in the defensive zone. – Ryan Biech

Spence’s skating and passing ability are plus tools and give him the opportunity to develop into a top-four defenceman. However, the lack of size and strength could hold him back. It affects a number of things, including his ability to control the play down low as well as the power in his shot. If Spence can add strength and continue his development, he could be a gamble worth taking – Benn Kerr, Las Word on Sports

Read also:

2019 Draft Countdown: Sasha Mutala, Vladislav Firstov, Henri Nikkanen, Jake Lee, Trent Miner

2019 Draft Countdown: Karl Henriksson, Billy Constantinou, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Antti Tuomisto, and Brayden Tracey

  • Rodeobill

    I am curious about these USNDP D men – what role they have played in their teams success. Would those shiny first round forwards look better or worse with a different back end? Watching the Canucks or Edmonton, it’s easy to see that having star forwards don’t mean much when you spend all game in your own zone, perhaps they have added to their forwards stock by giving them a lot more time in the O zone and chances to bump their stats. I am definitely not the right person to answer this question, but I hope Benning and crew take a good look at that anyway.