WDYTT: Who is your number one first round draft target for the Canucks?

Stephan Roget
1 year ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet that’s always ranked in the first round.
Speaking of draft rankings, it’s the time of year when they transition from speculative into definitive. The 2022 NHL Entry Draft is upon us, and it promises to be a big one for the Vancouver Canucks. And not just because they’re at the center of swirling trade rumours; the Canucks also own their first first round draft selection for the first time in two years, and they’re going to use it.
As of this writing, the GM Patrik Allvin and Co. are slotted to pick 15th overall in the first round. They may trade up, they may trade down, but Allvin has made one thing patently clear: he’s going to call at least one somebody down to the floor at Montreal today to put on a Vancouver jersey.
Our own Faber will be on the scene the moment it happens. But you can beat him to the punch via prediction, and by answering this week’s question:

Who is your number one first round draft target for the Canucks in 2022?

Let it be known in the comment section.
Last week, we asked:

How soon do you believe the Vancouver Canucks can become true Stanley Cup contenders?

You answered below!
Note: With more than 100(!) responses this week, we had to be a little choosier than usual. Our apologies if your answer did not make the cut.
Hockey Bunker:
Five years if they draft and develop well.
They need three top-four defensemen, a top centre, a high-scorning winger and, a goalie of the future to back up Demko.
Bo Ho:
Two years.
I am a true (stupid) Canucks fan.
Three years. Hopefully it’s faster, but as we have witnessed, shortcuts could make it longer.
This is a very tough question with so much up in the air, and no real offseason moves have taken place yet. I am going to say generously two-three years out. That’s time for a player or two from this draft to develop and be contributing on an ELC. (Hoping we get another first rounder via trade this year.) Also enough time to shed some bad contracts, and time for one-to-three of our current prospects to step up and start contributing. Pretty vanilla answer, but I think it’s realistic.
They won’t be. By the time the young core is peaking, OEL’s contract will be a true anchor. Cup-winning teams are exactly that because they don’t have anchors and instead have wrung every bit of talent possible for dollar spent.
To contend for the Cup? Longer than most fans think. Probably four to five years to clean up the salary mess and replace the overpaid and underperforming players and have Quinn, Pettersson et al be at their peak. The Canucks look just good enough to miss really early picks, so hopefully they can strike lightning in the 10 to 15OA picks.
I think two-to-three years is realistic. They need to add at least one impact player in this year’s and next year’s draft for that to happen, though, and to get at least one solid player back in return for trades. Say they add a dynamic LD through the draft this year, get a reliable RD in return for a trade of Miller or Boeser, then add a top-six forward through the draft next year, they will be in pretty good shape. The finishing touches after that can be hopefully be added through later round picks, trades, and affordable free agents.
Puck Viking:
The quicker they rebuild they quicker they’ll contend. The team has no prospects, one of the worst defense groups in the NHL, and loads of horrible contracts.
If they don’t rebuild this off season they’re wasting prime years of Demko, Hughes, and Pete.
So, if no rebuild, they won’t contend for at least a decade.
Brian Togri:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
To be a “true Stanley Cup contender” this team probably needs at least four years. At minimum, the entire right side D requires reconstruction and that more than likely happens via trades and the draft. IF the Canucks can acquire a young high end RD this offseason, that player (and others) will still need time to develop and learn his trade at a level that will allow the team to really compete. That is not to say that an appearance or two in the playoffs is out of the question, but when one looks at the tough lessons Washington, Tampa, and now Colorado had to learn to be legit contenders, it’s unlikely Vancouver will not have some hard knocks along the way.
Canucks should be a viable contender by ‘24… 2124!!!
fv fan:
If this management does most things right, with no shortcuts, and gets a bit of luck on the way, I think two years to playoffs and Year Three to really start being a consistent threat for the Cup.
The big question is, will the owner and management be willing to take a big step backwards next year to give themselves a chance to achieve this?
Demko could win the Canucks a Cup next year if he is rested and healthy, all the team needs to do is get him in the playoffs. Losing Miller will be a big hit to the organization, as no trade will bring back a player with as much influence to help push to win games. So keep Miller, and lose him the following year when the other stars will be a year older and with playoff experience ready to take the team to another level.
Ragnarok Ouroboros:
Depends what we get back for Miller. Either we are setup for a run in a couple of years, or we are set back from being competitive for a few years. Canucks need a good defenseman to come back in a Miller trade, otherwise they will be a middling team.
Killer Marmot:
Most of the pieces are there. The forward lines, left-side defense, and goaltending all look fine. And they have three or four mature prospects coming in that might help a lot. Missing is one or two solid depth centermen and, of course, at least one quality right-hand defenseman.
Can Allvin address these weaknesses this summer? The depth centermen probably, but RHD is a tough nut to crack. The Canucks will have to be satisfied with just having a good shot at the playoffs this coming season. But should those key components fall into place, then the Canucks can be contenders in ’25 or ’26. They are not far off.
Defenceman Factory:
The Canucks need to move into contention in the next two to three years with the core they have or the players they trade them for. This matches the timeframe management has given. While there are huge challenges to make that happen, it is well within the realm of possibility.
Looking at the last two championship teams and the core players, they drafted most of those players 7-10 years before they won Cups. There were certainly younger contributors, but the Avs don’t win without their core players drafted in 2015 and prior. The same thing appears for the Bolts 2020 Cup and their drafts in 2013 and prior. Draft picks take a long time to really lead a team.
The Canucks have a solid core. Demko, Pettersson, Horvat, and Podkolzin are certainly players you can win with. The Canucks need to evaluate if they are better with Hughes and Boeser or with players they can trade them for. The same goes for Miller, but given his age and potential cost, the considerations are a bit different. I don’t see the Canucks embracing a substantial rebuild for several years, if ever, under this ownership.
El Kabong:
The time frame for when the Canucks become actual Stanley Cup contenders depends on how fast the Benning mess can be cleared up. The OEL trade really handcuffs this CAP-strapped team, as well as Boeser’s $7.5M qualifying offer, followed by overpayments to Poolman, Myers, Pearson, Dickenson, and the Ferland debacle. Toss in a few more CAP anchors like Holtby and Virtanen’s buyout.
JR keeps saying a year or two, so I will go with that. He has more insight into what will happen than I do. The team won at a .649 clip under Bruce. A couple of good trades, good FAs and guys like EP and Brock playing to their ceiling, and who knows? One or two years it could be.
Being a contender will depend on the kind of deals they can swing. Can they solve their cap issues and add some young talent at the same time?
They need to clear cap, not just push the problem down the road like Benning did.
It will also depend on how well they draft.
I thought JR said two to three years. I think they might become a playoff team in three, but a Cup contender is farther out then that.
That can change if they land a superstar at the draft.
They will have to get worse before they get better, and that will only really happen with top draft picks. I’m sure I will get a lot of down votes, but I’m saying seven years.
A River Named Curt:
When the last Benning anchor contract is off the books. In other words, seven years.
Forward thinker:
Really depends on the moves this summer. I they can get a top pair RHD and a good RHC who can kill penalties, they are not far away. Likely three years.
The only way the Canucks can become a contending team is to have guys added to the roster right away to give support to a decent core. Yeah, sounds simple if you say it quickly. Burnaby Joe took a while to lead his club to the Cup and Nate Mac was in the league nine years before he won it. The Twins were in the league like 10 years before they went to the 2011 Final, so don’t expect miracles overnight. It could be two years or five years or maybe never with this group.

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