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Faber: A final Vancouver Canucks primer for day one of the NHL Entry Draft

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Photo credit:@Canucks on Twitter
Faber
By Faber
7 months ago
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We’re at the end of our NHL draft preview coverage and today is the day where we can really start to dive into who the Canucks select with their 11th overall selection in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
This article is not going to go too deep in detail about prospects but instead, we will just lay out a bunch of basic information about the Canucks’ upcoming draft.
Let’s dive in.
First off, we should talk about the time. Round one of the NHL draft is set to begin at 4:00 pm Pacific Time. We may have to wait a few minutes for the clock to begin on the first overall pick but as you probably all know already, Vancouver’s own Connor Bedard is projected to go first overall to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canucks hold the 11th overall selection in the draft and are currently without a second-round pick but hold two picks in the third round, three picks in the fourth round and one pick in the sixth round. The Canucks are currently scheduled to make the 11th, 75th, 89th, 105th, 107th, 119th, and 171st picks in the draft.
We often see picks moved, so these seven picks could be moved on day one or two of the draft.
There’s always wonder if the first round pick will be traded and there are certainly some options for the Canucks to trade down and pick up a much-needed second-round pick. We spoke to General Manager Patrik Allvin on Tuesday and he threw some water on the chances of moving up in the draft.
“I think we’re going to pick 11 here,” said Allvin on Tuesday. “Not much discussions of moving up at this point. So we’re excited about 11.”
Moving down or up is certainly still an option but all signs are pointing to the Canucks making their pick at 11th overall.
As for that 11th overall pick, there are a ton of options and the most talked-about players of late include these five prospects.
Tom Willander, RD
A smooth skating, 6’1″, right-shot defenceman out of Sweden. He’s one of the top skating defencemen in the draft, is trusted in his own zone and had a bit of offensive punch but overall has a solid two-way profile. His stylistic fit meshes well with Quinn Hughes’ style, and if Willander were to reach his ceiling of potential, he would be the perfect partner for Hughes — this is if Willander develops at the best possible level over the next two years.
Willander is off to the NCAA next season and will join Boston University in the fall. It’s an interesting move for a high-end Swedish prospect. He certainly would have been given time in the SHL next season but elected to go the NCAA route — which will come with much more ice time and the Hockey East division that he will play in is some of the highest quality NCAA hockey in the USA.
Nate Danielson, C
Many are calling this the ‘safe pick’ and they are probably right. Danielson projects as a middle-six centre and he plays a good transitional game but lacks the explosiveness that you like to see from a top-12 pick. He reminds us of Brandon Sutter but perhaps can stay healthier throughout his NHL career and probably has a bit more offensive pop in his game. The funny connection here is that Sutter was selected 11th overall in his draft year.
Maybe we will see the Canucks go get the centre that their prospect pool desperately needs with 11th overall.
Zach Benson, LW
Arguably one of the top-five most talented players in the draft, Zach Benson is a left winger who stands at 5’10” and possesses the best vision and playmaking skills in the draft. Benson has top-line potential and he makes all of his teammates better when he’s on the ice.
There’s a bit of a worry in the scouting community about his skating and that his size is going to hurt him but it’s not like he’s 5’6″ and slow — he’s 5’10” and doesn’t have burner speed.
If Benson slides outside of the top-10, he makes a lot of sense for the Canucks at 11th overall. He’s one of the two wingers (Matvei Michkov) that we’d be happy if the Canucks left with on day one. Benson profiles as a hell of a linemate for the entirety of Elias Pettersson’s next contract.
Oliver Moore, C
He hasn’t been mocked to the Canucks by many of the major scouting sites but Moore is the best skater in the 2023 draft. He’s also a centre, and is 5’11”.
Moore wasn’t on the big line at the USNTDP this past season but he was still dominant in a second-line role. His defensive play and puck retrievals were also near the top of the class. Moore has some talents that make it very hard to believe that he will slide outside of the top-10 but some teams are going to reach for defencemen and that makes it possible for Moore to slide to 11.
The worry about Moore is that he is so much faster than everyone and when the game speeds up at the next level, he may not be able to dominate as much as he has with the United States National Team Development Program. We think there are enough good things in how he forechecks and closes in on the opposition between the blue lines. He will need to get bigger and stronger over his next one-to-three years at the University of Minnesota but if he is somehow able to become an even better skater with some added muscle — look out.
Matthew Wood, LW
A good, local kid. Matthew Wood is from the wonderful city of Nanaimo and when it comes to being a stationary attacker, Wood is certainly in the conversation as one of the top-seven pure scorers in the draft. Wood is excellent on the power play and with his size, he can play a variety of positions on the man-advantage.
Wood is 6’3″, shoots right, and was a centre in the BCHL during his 16-year-old season but moved to the wing this past season as he made the jump to NCAA hockey. The jump to the NCAA wasn’t that tough for the 17-year-old — he scored 11 goals and added 23 assists in 35 games during his freshman minus one season.
There are some worries about his skating and defending but if he can figure those out, he will be looked at as one of the steals in this draft if he slides outside of the top-10.
What we hope is that he works on his weaknesses and maybe gets back to playing centre next season. It’s likely pretty damn hard for an NCAA coach to put a 17-year-old kid at centre and perhaps he will return to the middle for his second year in the NCAA.

NHL DRAFT COVERAGE PRESENTED BY BETWAY

So, now that we’ve covered five prospects who could be there for the Canucks at 11th overall, it’s time to give a quick blurb on some wildcards.
Dmitri Simashev is obviously the first name to talk about. He’s a 6’4″, left-shot defenceman out of Russia who skates better than any defenceman in this draft. The Russia factor may be a problem but it doesn’t worry us. Dan Milstein is his agent and all that dude does is get his clients into the NHL, and a lot of time with the Canucks.
David Reinbacher is probably the best right-shot defenceman in the draft but we see him going in the top-10 and probably not getting out of the top-seven. He may be able to jump into the AHL next season and some have even whispered about him being a candidate to get some NHL games as soon as next season.
Matvei Michkov is the second-best pure scorer in the draft and he has some amazing skills with the puck on stick. He’s a human highlight reel but his three-year contract in the KHL is sure to scare off some teams. He could end up going second overall or maybe 11th. Many don’t think he will get past Washington at eighth overall but crazier things have happened on the draft floor.
Well, if you’ve been following along here at CanucksArmy, thank you! We’ve enjoyed the comments as well as the interactions on social media. All that’s neft now is waiting for the Canucks’ pick to be in and from there, we will be sure to watch every second of that player over the past season.
We will end off our draft previewing by asking you — who do you think the Canucks will select at 11th overall?

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