7 MORE players (all over 6’0”) the Canucks could draft in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft
Photo credit:Daily Hive Vancouver
By Faber1 year ago
There are a lot of options for the Vancouver Canucks with the 41st overall pick in the draft and I wasn’t quite done with the 13 prospects that I wrote about on Tuesday.
So, without further ado, here are seven more prospects — all over six feet tall — that the Canucks might draft with their second-round pick.
Brett Harrison, C, 6’2″, 185 lbs
When the OHL shut down, Brett Harrison was one of the players who quickly made his way overseas to get into game action. He joined KOOVEE to play seven games in their U20 league and got one game in the Mestis league. On top of those games in Finland, he joined Team Canada for the U18s, where he put up two goals in seven games.
Harrison is a defensive centre who can finish around the net but needs work as a playmaker.
He’s got NHL size and will return to the OHL to play with the Oshawa Generals this coming season.
He’s all over the place on different scouting boards. FC Hockey has him at #29 and Bob McKenzie has him at #33, but he can be found as low as #59 on other scouting outlets’ lists.
These OHL players really took a hit with not being able to play in the league they were used to but Harrison found hockey this season and he scored at a good pace in the U20 Finnish league. Scouts say he scored most of his goals right around the net and will need to improve his shot to be a capable scorer in the NHL. His skating is in the below-average category of the draft but his ability to use his body to position himself helps because his main strategy is to just go to the net and finish in tight.
Similar to other OHL players in the draft, he’s behind the eight-ball but if a scout has done their homework on the prospect and likes what they see, he could easily go in the first 50 picks and is a good scoop for the Canucks at 41 if they believe in this kid.
Xavier Bourgault, C/W, 6’0″, 172 lbs
To get to the Canucks at 41, Xavier Bourgault needs to be one of the biggest fallers in the 2021 NHL Draft.
Bourgault is ranked in the top-40 of every major scouting site and is at #17 on Bob McKenzie’s prospect list.
He can score from a variety of spots on the ice and is a high-level passer who makes quick decisions that often are followed by the puck being sent to the high danger areas of the ice. He was over a point per game in his age 17 season and will be a dominant player in the QMJHL next season as a 19-year-old.
The reason why I am including him in this article is that I do see a chance for him to fall hard in the draft. The video scouts that have done a lot of work on this kid are finding a lot of defensive deficiencies in his game and the smarty-pants video guys are all about the little things in the defensive zone. He isn’t a tremendous skater either and that will be another reason why he might slip through the cracks on day one of the draft.
The floor is high for Bourgault and that would make him a top-2 prospect if the Canucks were able to snag him with the 41st pick. I see him being a middle-six winger if he hits his potential. If he can score in the AHL after improving his skating over the next two years, you could have a very valuable prospect in the prospect pipeline.
He’s my faller in the 2021 draft and I like him at 41 if he drops that far.
Danila Klimovich, LW, 6’1″, 187 lbs
After blowing up at the U18s, the Belarusian goal-scoring machine shot up draft boards all across the scouting community.
He’s one of the hardest top prospects to scout, so, a lot of what I saw comes from the U18s.
Klimovich was able to look strong against the best teams in the U18s and has the size and skill to dominate against his age group. He is a big swing prospect but could bring a lot of promise to quickly come over to North America and compete for a spot on a team’s AHL squad.
His big strength is a powerful wrist shot that he has worked very hard on over the years. The big stage of the U18s was his time to show it off. The wrist shot has some pop but the more impressive ability was his one-timer on the power play that consistently found the back of the net. Belarus relied on his shot as their main plan of attack with the man-advantage.
Scouts were impressed with his confidence as he shot the puck like a bat out of hell and you could tell how much the U18 tournament meant to him as this was the biggest stage of his life to showcase why he should be a top-50 pick.
After his dominant performance at the U18s, he’s one of, if not the biggest riser of the draft as many scouts began to dive into the Belarus hockey league to see what else this prospect can do.
Many scouts are hoping Klimovich will make the jump over to North America next year as he is QMJHL property of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
His scoring touch and advanced physical ability make him one of the most intriguing prospects projected in the top-75 of the NHL Draft.
This would be a big swing for the Canucks at 41 but from the success he had at the U18s, I’d imagine that a lot of research and scouting is being done on the big Belarusian by many NHL teams. I’d have to imagine that one team is willing to take a shot on him in the second round.
The Canucks sit in a nice spot at 41 to swing for the fences with this mysterious prospect.
Artyom Grushnikov, LD, 6’2″, 174 lbs
In the first article of this list, the comments section was flooded with people asking for players with size, and Artyom Grushnikov is a defensive defenceman who fits that mould.
Grushnikov is a defensive defenceman who played the 2019-20 season with Krasnaya Armiya of the MHL in Russia. He was selected by the Hamilton Bulldogs in the CHL import draft and was expected to make the jump to the OHL this past year. Due to COVID-19, Grushnikov did not play in any games this past season and was not a part of Russia’s team at the U18s.
Grushnikov has played alongside fellow Canucks prospect Dmitri Zlodeyev on a variety of different U16-U18 teams and his eagerness to come to North American and play is intriguing. He’s one of those prospects whose value had to be hurt from not playing a single recorded game in 2020-21.
The best part of his game is done primarily in the defensive zone. He is a physical defenceman and that shows in how he dominated creases in the MHL as a 16-year-old. Scouts say that he is a smart player who is rarely caught out of position and the more that you watch of him, the more you like because he isn’t just throwing big hits, he is consistently being physical on a nightly basis. His physicality will be on full display next season in the OHL.
The sneaky good part of his game is his ability to make a good first pass out of his own zone. As you can see from the clip above, he has the ability to stretch the opposition with a long pass through the neutral zone. His decision-making is quick and he is fearless when it comes to blocking shots.
Lots of comments wanted a bigger-bodied defenceman, so here he is.
Grushnikov is projected to go somewhere in the 40-60 range and if the Canucks want to invest in a player who was unable to showcase his ability this past season, Grushnikov could be a good option. That being said, his missed season of play could have him fall in the draft and be sitting there in the third round for the Canucks to take. No major scouting outlet has him in their top-40 and Bob McKenzie has him at #68 on his list.
This would be a homerun pick in the third round or a big swing in the second round if the Canucks’ scouting staff is confident enough from his 16/17-year-old season in the MHL.
Cole Jordan, LD, 6’2″, 205
Do you want another big defenceman? Of course you do.
Cole Jordan is a big and strong old-school WHL defence prospect out of the Moose Jaw Warriors organization. He isn’t overly physical but does use his size to his advantage. He uses his big body more in the corners and around the net instead of blowing up guys in the neutral zone.
At his size, it’s interesting to note that the best part of his game probably comes from his skating ability. At 6’2″, 200+ pounds, his footwork is very impressive and he shows good hockey sense on knowing when to jump up in the rush and is aggressive in the neutral zone to disrupt the rush.
The overall consensus about Jordan is that he is a lower-level prospect. To me, it’s worth noting that he has played on one of the worst teams in the WHL over his two years with the Moose Jaw Warriors. In his two seasons, the Warriors have a record of 22-57-7. With a record like that, it’s hard for anybody to look very good. Jordan could be a big trade chip for the Warriors next season and if he is able to get on a team that is competing for a Memorial Cup, his stock could rise quickly if he is able to slide into a top-pairing role on a good WHL team.
Though his offence isn’t the best part of his game, there is definitely some potential there for him to grow into it. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize him as a defensive defenceman because he does such a good job through the neutral zone and can create offence in a hurry. He’s more a two-way defenceman who has the size to not be outmuscled in his own zone.
He’s ranked outside of the top-50 in all major scouting outlets and NHL Central Scouting has him as low as #88 out of North American skaters. Someone is going to get a steal on this guy, I like the way he plays a lot, but it could be a stretch to take a risk on him at 41. FC Hockey has him ranked at 66, and the highest I’ve seen him ranked is at 56.
Highly risky for the Canucks at 41 but you all want some big bodies so here he is!
Jack Bar, RD, 6’2″, 194 lbs
Let’s keep the big body defenceman streak going with one of my favourite names in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Jack Bar is a smooth-skating, lengthy defenceman who has shades of an offensive defenceman but also enjoys throwing the body around in open ice and in the corners. His top speed isn’t anything to write home about but he is constantly moving around the ice like a nine-year-old who just drank his first energy drink.
The big knock on Bar is his decision-making, which is a huge red mark on any prospect. He looks like a quality prospect with how he moves around the ice but scouts who have consistently watched him in the USHL say that he makes a lot of bad decisions with the puck. Defensively, he is good at being in the right spot at the right time but he doesn’t have standout offensive traits that would go nicely with his above-average agility.
A talent evaluator for EliteProspects told me, “we like his rush defence and some points of activation in the offensive zone but we’re pretty cool on the rest of his projection.”
Something that I really liked about Bar is his motor. He is always moving his feet in the offensive zone and though that catches him out of position at times, he is a noticeable player on almost every shift. His ability to use his long stick when defending the rush looks like it will help him at every level that he gets to.
I was told that he should be available for the Canucks in the third round and might even slip to the fourth round for them. This seems like a stretch for them to go with Bar at 41 but he fits an organizational need. He could be an option if they trade down from 41 or up from their later-round picks.
William Stromgren, LW, 6’3″, 176 lbs
Let’s wrap things up with a big strong skating Swedish forward.
William Stromgren is someone who likely falls out of the first round and is a top name on day two of the draft.
There is so much to like about his game. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s strong on the puck and he has a good shot. The big knock on him before this season was his selfishness with the puck in the J18 and J20 Swedish leagues. He jumped into the Swedish second and third pro leagues this past season and changed that narrative about his game. He became a good playmaker as a pro in Sweden and looked good on Sweden’s squad at the U18s.
As a second-round pick, it’s hard to find a more complete winger than Stromgren. He has a powerful stride that he uses well to get up and down the ice and his strength in the corners in the Allsvenken made him look ready for the SHL next season. He will join Nils Höglander’s old Rögle team and might get similar minutes to Höglander in his draft +1 season.
The Rögle coaching staff did a good job with Höglander on developing his defensive game and if Stromgren can work as hard as Höglander at that end of the ice, he will be a good pickup for whichever team selects him in the second round.
A big winger who could translate into a nice middle-six winger for the Canucks down the road, Stromgren is an excellent pick if he lands with the Canucks at 41. He lacks that honey-badger type of play that we see with Höglander but he makes up for it with an above-average shot that only has room to grow as he gets bigger and stronger.
If you are looking for a winger with size, speed and scoring ability in the second round, there may not be a better one than Stromgren.
Well, that wraps it up for my two-part series on options for the Canucks in the second round of the draft. Back to the film room and phones, I go. Time to dig out some late-round options for the Canucks in the upcoming draft.
See you in a couple of weeks for that!
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