The Canucks took a swing at upside at the 2024 NHL Draft

Photo credit:© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Hall
11 days ago
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Make do with what you have. That’s the mantra the Vancouver Canucks lived by this past weekend at the NHL Draft.
With no first or second-round picks, the club was forced to wait patiently as they watched 92 players fall off the board before them. Once their time came, it was clear from the get-go that they had a clear target in mind: swing for the fences with upside.
And why not?
With few picks and an already lacklustre pool of prospects, there’s no better way to boost your pipeline than to swing on a few high-level prospects.
Let’s check in with the haul.
Round 3, pick 192nd overall
Melvin Fernström, Örebro HK, J20 Nationell
A Swede, You Say? A Örebro Product, You Say?
The Canucks’ scouting team did not stray far from their roots with their first pick of the draft, selecting Melvin Fernström.
Right off the bat, it’s easy to see what makes him such an intriguing prospect.
He was a force in the J20 circuit last year, leading the league with 31 goals and finishing third with 63 points in 45 games. These totals were good enough for the third-highest draft-eligible season in league history.
He’s also enjoyed strong success at the international level, co-leading his Swedish team to a Bronze Medal finish at the U18 World Championships with three goals and eight points.
None of this is surprising, either. Fernström’s game is tailored around his ability to produce offence. Anchored by a smart brain, the right winger has a knack for being in the right spot and tops it off with a tremendous release.
When asked about his game, Canucks Scouting Director Todd Harvey told Canucks.com:
“We like the way he plays a good two-way game. He goes to the spots to score goals. He’s the kind of kid that has a good brain and you can see it with how he gets to the dirty areas and is very detailed with his approach in the offensive zone.”
A strong shot, a good brain, and a detailed game? So, what’s the catch?
Make no mistake about it: this was a pure offensive upside pick and a worthy one at this stage of the draft. However, there are definite areas of concern that could easily keep him from realizing that future upside.
What stands out immediately is his skating ability.
“He just isn’t quick enough — simple as that,” JD Burke mentions in an EliteProspects scouting report. “He can’t keep up with the game physically, and he’s not anticipating the play in a way that covers for that deficiency.”
This is a common theme throughout the scouting community, and some have huge questions about his ability to jump to the next level as a result.
Another area of concern is his physicality. At 6’0, 188 lbs, the size isn’t underwhelming, but the way that he uses that frame is. He lacks the want to get to the corners and fight pucks and elects for the turnback rather than “taking the hit to make the play.”
Going forward, he could improve by being a little more urgent in his game and using his body more to win puck battles.
All that said, these are certainly areas that can be worked on and at the ripe age of 18, it’s a gamble well worth taking in the late stages of the third round. If he can add some grit to his game and work on his feet, there could be serious offensive upside.
You won’t have to wait long to catch him in action. He’ll join Tom Willander at this year’s World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, USA, from July 26 to August 3.
Round 4, pick 122nd overall
Riley Patterson, Barrie Colts, OHL
That’s Patterson, not Pettersson. But it’s close.
While we loved the upside swing on Fernström, we appreciate the value pick with Riley Patterson even more.
The Ontario native had a stellar rookie year with the Barrie Colts. Despite a slower start in his adjustment to the league, he caught fire after Christmas to finish strong. He ended the season second among all rookie skaters with 62 points and led that field with 29 goals.
Canucks Scouting Director Todd Harvey had high praise for Patterson:
“His season started slow, but in the second half, he really came on. He came back after Christmas and started putting some points up on the board, but he also was playing a more direct game. He can play a little bit of center and he can also play the wing. His feet just continued to get better, and his board work got better. I’m expecting him to have a big, big year next year,” said Harvey.
He’s considered a dual-threat offensive contributor who drives play with a strong IQ and a keen sense of the game. Unlike Fernström, Patterson is considered a strong skater and can easily beat defenders off the rush.
What we like about Patterson is his projectability. Yes, he’s a mid-round pick and still has raw elements to his game, but the way he plays feels safe and very projectable. We’ve been told that he’s a “coach’s dream” and is capable of playing in all situations.
He feels like a safe bet to play NHL games out of this crop.
Round 6, 162nd overall
Anthony Romani, North Bay Battalion, OHL
This pick is all but confirmed by the club’s draft theme.
Anthony Romani’s numbers were somewhat pedestrian in his original draft year (2022-23), which, combined with concerns about his defensive game and below-average skating, resulted in him being left off the draft table.
This year, he not only worked on his all-around game but came back with a vengeance. Remarkably, he led the entire OHL with 58 goals and finished second in points with a whopping 111.
Romani is a dual-threat player who can make you pay with sneaky cross-ice plays or finish with a booming shot. If there’s offence to be had, he’ll sniff it out. While he’s not considered a quick skater, he thrives in transition, manipulating the defence to open them up and find the open man.
In the long term, Romani will still need to work on his skating and overall physical game. Yet, in the sixth round, it’s hard to knock a player who puts up the kind of numbers he did.
Round six, 189th overall
Parker Alcos, Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL
While we love offensive upside swings with their first three picks, it was nice to see the Canucks finally look toward the backend. And by all accounts, they sniffed out some solid value this deep in the draft.
Parker Alcos, a local kid from Port Moody, ticks off a ton of boxes. He’s a right shot, he’s got good size, and he’s mobile — we call that the trifecta.
“Mobility forms the basis of Alcos’ game,” says EliteProspects. “He’s a fluid skater who achieves full flexion through his stride, retains most of it through his edges, and retains speed through his pivots and transitions.”
Even as a rookie defender, he played heavy minutes last year with the Edmonton Oil Kings, finishing with 15 points, the seventh most among WHL rookie defenders.
With a profile such as his, there looks to be a lot of runway. Standing 6’3 but weighing only 174 lbs, there is still some filling out to do. Mix that with his tremendous skating; there could be some real potential there.
Todd Harvey certainly thinks so.
“He is a really, really good skater. He is mobile and he can really move pucks. He’s light and has a lot of growth left. We are happy that he was there for us, and our people really liked him. I think next year he’s going to have a big year with Edmonton but like I said, he’s got a lot of growth left in his game,” said Harvey.
Round 7, 221st overall
Basile Sansonnens, Lausanne, U20-Elit
Admittedly, Basile Sansonnens was not on our radar as a potential pick, especially with a few highly regarded defenders still in the mix.
Yet, the Canucks chose to finish with a sturdy shutdown defender playing in the Swiss U20 league.
Standing at 6’4″ and weighing 198 lbs, Sansonnens offers a large frame and strong skating ability. His Elite Prospects page might not excite stat-watchers, as he doesn’t profile as a significant point-getter. However, Todd Harvey praised his size and raw intangibles.
“He’s a big defenceman. He’s raw. He moves pretty good for a big guy and he’s going to play in Lausanne next year. We saw him at some tournaments we scouted in that area. So, we’ve seen him a lot and we liked his raw ability and with some growth, there’s a good player there,” said Harvey.
The Canucks have taken measurable gambles already, so why not one more?
While Sansonnens has a long road ahead, his towering, mobile, and penalty-killing profile offers potential. We’ll see if he can translate his game to the men’s league in the Swiss circuit.
Overall, it’s hard to find criticism in the club’s work at the podium. Without any high-grade picks to work with, they did a solid job of finding value with each round and get full marks for taking swings on upside.
We’ll get a good look at each of the new faces this week as they head to Vancouver to take part in the club’s annual Development Camp. We will have full coverage here at CanucksArmy, so make sure that you follow along!

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