Monday Mailbag: Moving up to 3rd overall feels impossible, and the best winger for the Canucks at 11th overall

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
11 months ago
We are back with another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy. 
The draft is now less than 40 days away if you can believe it. The Canucks possess the 11th overall pick, no selection in the second round, two third-round picks, three fourth-round picks, a six-round pick, and a seventh-round pick.
The abundance of selections in the third and fourth rounds has got us thinking more and more about trading up into the second round. It’s not likely that the team will get into the top 40, but we could see them put together a package consisting of third and fourth-round picks that can get them into the 45-62 range.
A lot of the debate will come from how the draft plays out. There is certainly value to be found in the middle rounds, but being able to select a guy at 49th that you believe had first-round talent is a very possible scenario for the Canucks. Draft boards are so vastly different for teams after their top 20, that we can see the scouting department being very excited for a player that they can select in the second round.
For example, look at Nils Höglander. The Swedish-born winger had first-round talent but lacked first-round size and defending. The hope is that he has made enough improvements in his weaknesses by now that he can be an every-night contributor and finds a middle-six role with the Canucks next season.
We would like to see him in a fourth-line role to earn some trust from head coach Rick Tocchet. Once he earns the trust in the defensive zone, he will be rewarded with an opportunity closer to the top end of the lineup. It’s all about improving on his weaknesses.
Okay, it’s time for some questions from Twitter. We’ve got a fun crop this week, so, without wasting any more words, let’s dive into this week’s mailbag and see what the wonderful people of #CanucksTwitter had to ask this week.
There are certainly a lot of arguments going on about who the top two defencemen are in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. Consensus rankings would probably tell you that Axel Sandin Pellikka and David Reinbacher are the top two. I’d be surprised if both of those players are gone by 11, but if they are, trading down feels like a pretty good option.
We all know that the Canucks’ prospect pool is lacking top-end talent as well as above-average overall depth.
Let’s use an example from last year’s draft.
The Arizona Coyotes acquired the 11th overall pick in exchange for the 27th, 34th, and 45th picks.
If the Canucks were offered this three-pick package for their 11th overall pick, I would gladly accept and help bolster the prospect pool with three top 50 picks.
Another example would be from the 2019 draft, where the Coyotes acquired the 11th overall pick in exchange for the 14th pick and the 45th pick.
If this was a package that the Canucks could get, I’d again move the pick.
You can do a lot with adding a second-round pick and having to only move down three spots in this particular draft doesn’t feel too bad. I don’t believe there’s that much of a difference between 11 and 14 and the Canucks hopefully see the value in a trade-down option.
It would all depend on how the draft shakes down, but if David Reinbacher is gone by 11 as many expect he will be, trading down a few spots or a dozen spots feels like a good option for the Canucks. The draft capital that comes with it is just so valuable. The temptation to make the 11th overall pick is strong, but the 11th overall pick has been the most traded first-round pick over the past four years.
There’s a small chance that Matvei Michkov drops, and if that’s the case, you’d love to see the Canucks make a long-term investment for a tremendously talented player.
Andrew Cristall and Colby Barlow are two wingers who look like they would be fine picks at 11th overall but after that, there isn’t really a true winger who makes a lot of sense at 11.
Dalibor Dvorský is more of a centre but I guess you could throw Matthew Wood into the mix at 11 if you really like the player, I just don’t know if you want to take such a big swing with your one and only pick in the first two rounds.
This duo may get a chance to play together at this year’s World Junior Championships. Both players have strength and good puck skills. They will need to develop a ton to make it in the NHL as a pairing together but there’s a lot to like about the ceiling of this pairing.
Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) will have more developmental support this offseason with Jonathan Lekkerimäki joining him at Örebro.
Tom Willander is ranked as the second-best defenceman in my draft rankings and could end up being a perfect trade-down option for the Canucks.
Moving up into the top five is extremely difficult to imagine and it has not happened on draft day once over the past 10 drafts.
A trade package to get up to three and be able to select one of Leo Carlsson or Adam Fantilli probably costs you more than an arm and a leg. The deal has to start with the 11th overall pick, it likely sees a young player like Vasily Podkolzin in the trade as well as something near the value of a first-round pick and then some mid-round picks to round out the trade.
Carlsson or Fantilli both have the chance to be elite and we are going to spitball here and give two trade proposals. I just hate doing this because it’s likely so so so wrong, but whatever.
Option 1
To Columbus
2023 11th overall pick
Vasily Podkolzin
Jack Rathbone
2024 first-round pick (top-two protection)
To Vancouver
2023 3rd overall pick
2024 fourth-round pick
Option 2
To Columbus
J.T. Miller
2023 11th overall pick
2023 89th overall pick
Vasily Podkolzin
To Vancouver
2023 3rd overall pick
Jack Roslovic
I just don’t think either of these trades will draw enough interest from the Blue Jackets.
The only way would be if they are really high on landing Miller for the next seven years with his $8,000,000 cap hit.
It just seems to be too hard to trade into the top five.
Speed Round
Bottom-three defenceman.
Pettersson has the chance to be a new-age bottom-pairing guy with the ability to move into the top four if an injury occurs. This is if he hits his ceiling or comes close to it.
The only way he comes back is if he feels most comfortable with the Canucks’ organization.
I’m sure some contending teams would like to have him on a cheap one-year deal, but there will probably be some teams who will give him two years of term.
I don’t expect him to be a Canuck next season but he would be a nice depth piece once again if he does end up in a Canucks jersey next year.
His time in Utica didn’t come with a promotion to the NHL and since then, he’s been one of the most prolific scorers in the Finnish Liiga over the past two seasons.
It’s too bad that the AHL team wasn’t in Abbotsford one year earlier, If that was the case, Lukas Jasek may be in the conversation to play in the NHL club’s bottom-six next year. He’s off to the SHL next season. The Canucks retain Jasek’s NHL signing rights until June 30th, 2025.
I’d go with Matt Cooke.
Jarrko Ruutu was a hell of a lot of fun but Matt Cooke seemed to be consistently higher up in lineups.
I’m looking at the big goaltender, Aku Koskenvuo.
He loved working with Ian Clark at development camp but then was the third-string goalie for Harvard all year long. With Harvard’s starter Mitchell Gibson moving on to pro, the door is wide open for Koskenvuo and Derek Mullahy to battle for starts next year. Expect a lot more Koskenvuo coverage if he can earn the starter’s job next year.
Well, that wraps up another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy. 
I’ll head back to the tape and work on more draft coverage coming soon to the site. Thanks as always to the great folks who sent in questions this week. We will be back next Monday with another instalment of the mailbag!

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