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Faber on the clock: Drafting size and skill with every Canucks pick at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft (Vol.3)

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Photo credit:@laynedesign47 on IG
Faber
By Faber
9 months ago
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We’re back! We will end up doing one more of these right before the draft, which will see round one take place next Wednesday, June 28th beginning at 4:00 pm Pacific Time and rounds two through seven on Thursday, June 29th beginning at 8:00 am PT.
In this volume three of running through the draft simulator, we are going to focus in on size and skill. The Canucks need some size in their prospect pool and we are going to go with players who are at least 6’1″ with every pick. There will be somewhat of a lean towards centres and defencemen because we believe that’s where the Canucks need the most help in their prospect pipeline. We ended up not drafting a single winger in this draft.
Volume 1 (Defence Heavy)
Volume 2 (Homerun Swings)
Shoutout to FCHockey for their draft simulator. We used this interactive feature on their website which you can try HERE.
We also drafted the first 10 picks manually in this draft. Here’s how the draft went in the first 10 picks.

Draft simulator from FC Hockey
We have some options at 11th overall. Let’s just dive right into our draft.
First Round (11th overall) — Dmitri Simashev, LHD
There were a lot of options with the 11th overall pick but decided to go with the 6’4″ Russian defenceman who we believe is the best defender in the 2023 class.
Matthew Wood (RW), Ryan Leonard (C/RW), Eduard Sale (LW), and Axel Sandin Pellikka (RD) were the other four players we were contemplating with the 11th overall pick.
Dmitri Simashev is where we’re going with the 11th overall pick and are feeling pretty good about the pick.
Simashev is going to play two more seasons in the KHL before he comes over to North America, and with his agent being Dan Milstein, we aren’t worried about the Russia factor because Milstein is really damn good at his job.
We want a defenceman for the Canucks’ prospect pool and they would be getting a top-tier one here with Simashev. He is the best defensive defenceman in the draft and also is likely the best skater of the defence crop — his skill set is tremendous and the fact that he is 6’4″ and plays mean is just icing on the cake.
The expectation is that Simashev will come to training camp in the fall of 2025 and it would be shocking if he didn’t make the NHL roster out of camp ahead of the 2025-26 season.
Simashev has the potential to be the steal of the draft with the Canucks selecting him at 11th overall and his value is similar to Quinn Hughes’ at the 2018 draft. The big difference with Simashev is the fact that he is six inches taller than Hughes.
There’s apparently some risk in drafting Simashev but we don’t see it. We’re confident in Simashev at 11th overall and with how the draft played out in front of him, the only other name we really considered was Ryan Leonard but many believe that he will end up being a winger at the next level and he is in the similar group of ranking as Simashev on out list. With that being said, we are going to take the defenceman with number one potential — a huge pickup for the prospect pool.
Third Round (75th overall) — Coulson Pitre, RH-C
We are heading to the OHL for our next pick and are going with the ultra-aggressive, 6’1″ centre, Coulson Pitre.
Pitre is coming off back-to-back seasons with 20+ goals in the OHL and brought a much higher level of playmaking this past season with the Flint Firebirds.
We like the way that Pitre leverages the puck away from defenders by using his size and length. He is also very sneaky with his aggressiveness — he’s not making egregious big slashes or throwing massive hits but he is often doing little things to annoy the opposition and has enough strength to be able to knock over OHL competition with relative ease.
You like the pace that Pitre plays at and can see him being a bottom-six centre in the NHL one day. A safe bet for our 75th overall selection, picking a good Canadian kid with some grit.
Oh, and he’s a Dan Milstein client, I feel like I need to add that information to every prospect that is represented by Mr.Milstein, lol.
Third Round (89th overall) — Andrew Gibson, RD
We’re taking the 6’3″, right-shot defenceman here with the Canucks’ second third-round pick. Andrew Gibson plays a physical game, can move the puck well enough to project as a support defenceman and if he is able to improve his skating over the next three years, he will be a good asset for the backend.
Gibson scored seven goals and added 14 assists last season with the Soo Greyhounds. He played with fellow Canucks defence prospect Kirill Kudryavtsev and looks like he will be ready for the jump to pro after a couple more years in the OHL.
Even though Canada had a poor performance at the U18s, Gibson showed decently well as he was given more and more ice time as the tournament went on. His first four games at the U18s saw him average 14:37 of ice time and his final four games saw him average 20:43 of ice time per game, including his final game of the U18s seeing him get 25:05 of ice time in a 4-3 win over Slovakia.
He’s a staple on the penalty kill for his OHL team as well as Canada’s U18 team back in April.
Gibson’s profile is something to get excited about but he’s not likely to be the player that shows up on many highlight reels. We’re looking at a lunchpail kind of defenceman who works hard, plays his position well and uses his size and strength to dominate in the corners. If he can figure out how to evolve his game well from the OHL into pro hockey and just improve on his pace a bit, we will be looking at a nice third-round pick-up for the Canucks.
Fourth Round (105th overall) — Dominik Petr, LH-C
At 6’2″ and 165 pounds, there is a lot of filling out to do for left-handed centreman Dominik Petr.
Petr played in the Finnish junior leagues this past season but didn’t score at a high rate after being dominant in the U18 Finnish league during the 2021-22 season. He only scored three goals and added seven assists in 26 U18 and U20 Finnish league games this season but was a play driver at the U18s and was one of Czechia’s most consistent players.
We somewhat expect Petr to make the jump to the AHL sooner rather than later because he didn’t have a great fit with his Finnish team last year. He may look towards the SHL or potentially even the Allsvenskan but if the AHL team is willing to take on the 18-year-old, it could end up being the best path of development for him in a similar way to how Danila Klimovich came over at 18 years old.
A month ago, we wrote about Petr as an option for the Canucks to pick with one of their mid-round picks and getting him at 105 is good value.
“Petr moves decently well once he is up to speed but his stride makes you believe that the right skating coach can find another gear in his game or perhaps he just needs to add strength to his lower body before he can find that next gear. He’s lanky and is listed at just 165 pounds but his best trait is keeping his stick on the ice around the crease and being quick enough to win battles for the puck in high-danger areas.”
Good size, has strong hands, and plays an aggressive centre position — having him come right over to Abbotsford would be an added bonus if he is willing and you believe in your AHL development staff.
Fourth Round (107th overall) — Dylan MacKinnon, RD
One of the most physical defencemen in the 2023 draft was available at 107th overall and we didn’t hesitate to draft right-shot d-man, Dylan MacKinnon.
There were times last season when MacKinnon was a hot scorer but he also went long periods without adding much offence. The hope is that he can make significant improvements with his offensive touch in his draft-plus-one season. MacKinnon doesn’t have much top-four potential but at 107th overall, he has enough good traits to believe that he could kill penalties and be a physical presence on your third-pairing one day.
MacKinnon is the type of prospect that the Canucks are missing in their prospect pool and feels like a player that Rick Tocchet would like.
The Canucks need more of these tough defencemen and with Gibson and Simashev being the two defencemen the Canucks took earlier in the draft, we continue to add size and strength to the backend by selecting MacKinnon at the end of the fourth round.
Fourth Round (119th overall) — Rodwin Dionicio, LD
We’re going to stay big and tough with this next pick.
Even though Rodwin Dionicio is a 19-year-old re-entry to the draft, he took a massive step this past season and found confidence in his game that gets you excited about what he will do in his final OHL season.
Here’s what we wrote about Dionicio a month ago.
“A big and strong, two-way defenceman who leans a bit more to the offensive side of things after showcasing himself with 11 goals and 32 assists in 33 OHL games this past season.
One big worry in his game is his defence of the rush. He doesn’t move well when he’s skating backwards but does have a good stick when the attacker comes within his reach. He will need to re-invent his skating technique to one day become an NHL player. For now, he has a floor of being a tough guy in the AHL and valuable defence prospect depth. We expect to see Dionicio go somewhere in the 90-160 range of the draft. His profile is certainly something that teams will be looking for.”
Dionicio plays a physical game and will be making the jump to the AHL after the 2023-24 OHL season. He will get another run at the World Junior Championships with Switzerland this December and he should be looked at as one of the biggest minute-munchers of the WJC.
If his offence takes another step in a similar way to how it did last season, Dionicio is a steal in the fourth round. It seems like his stock has a big of helium in it and he is moving up quickly as the draft approaches. A player who was passed on in the 2022 draft is now looking like a prospect who many teams want to take a risk on. It’s an added bonus that he is probably joining your AHL team in April/May.
If he’s there at 119, it’s a big value for a big defenceman with a lot of offensive skill that just seemed to show up last season.
Sixth Round (171st overall) — Matteo Mann, RD
Our final pick is heavily leaning toward size more than skill. Matteo Mann is a 6’5″, 225-pound, right-shot defenceman out of the QMJHL.
His offence took a dip this season during his third year in the Q but his physicality continues to be at an elite level.
Mann is a beast on the ice and he knows it. He utilizes his reach while defending and needs to because his skating needs some work before you can consider him a true NHL prospect. We would like to see Mann finish up his QMJHL career with a bit more offence before he makes the jump to the AHL. We like the player’s profile here and find that he has enough physical traits to make him worth a sixth-round pick.
You’re not finding any prospect without warts this late in the draft and we decided to go with the size on this last pick. Mann is arguably the most fear-delivering player in the QMJHL and his physicality will translate to pro hockey with ease. The worry is his skating and offence but he’s just never going to be a big points guy. With Mann, you draft him in the sixth round and hope to see him have a nice uptick in offence during his fourth QMJHL season. He is eligible to play one more year after next season and then he will be going pro and jumping into your AHL club as a 20-year-old.
The thought of adding a 6’5″, right-shot defenceman who ranks in some scouting sites’ top 100 feels pretty good here at 171 — even if there’s not much of any offensive upside in his game.
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That wraps up our third instalment of ‘Faber on the clock‘.
We will be back with the fourth and final volume of this series, which has been a treat to write and from my quick viewing of the comments, it seems to be a hit with some of the readers as well.
I read a comment about doing a live version of this while I’m at the draft and I will totally do that so we can go back and see how my picks would match up against the Canucks.
The draft is coming soon and the Canucks have a chance to add a lot of value to their prospect pool with their current crop of picks. That’s the main thing we are trying to do with these articles and in general, it should be an exciting time for fans.
See you soon for ‘Volume 4: The best draft possible’.

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