With the first round of draft kicking off tonight, we have gotten a feel for who some likely selections are for the Vancouver Canucks to use on with their ninth overall pick.
Also, nice title.
Jim Benning and his scouting staff may have some options if we see a team or two take a risk on a lower-ranked prospect. The goalie Jesper Wallstedt is in the equation, Cody Sillinger has been a rising prospect for the past month, and Fabian Lysell has some very impressive tape to go along with his strong U18s performance.
So let’s look at the six most likely scenarios for the Canucks and their ninth overall pick at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

Simon Edvinsson – B+

Defencemen are hard to find around the league and many teams get their top defencemen from the NHL draft. One of the prospects who has a good chance to drop to nine is Simon Edvinssson.
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The lanky Swedish defenceman would be a big add for the Canucks’ pipeline as he played last season in the SHL and will have an even bigger role next year.
Edvinsson has good offensive instincts, he skates well, he’s physical, and he’s 6’4″.
There’s a lot to like about Edvinsson but I worry about his IQ in the defensive zone.
I’ve often seen him caught on the wrong side of the crease for loose pucks. He struggles to realize where his partner is at times in the defensive zone but when he is engaged with a puck carrier, his defence looks strong with his physicality and long reach on full display.
Another year or two in the SHL would benefit Edvinsson. Playing against pros in one of the top leagues in the world during developmental years will prepare him for an easier transition to North America.
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He’s a big addition to the prospect pool but there are better options for the Canucks. Edvinsson is rumoured to be a top-6 pick so he may not fall to the Canucks anyways.

Trade the pick – C+

Trading the pick is a bad idea. There are some quality prospects that will be available for the Canucks at ninth overall and if the Canucks trade the pick, it seems like a desperate move from Benning to make the playoffs.
Benning has said that he wants to be aggressive and wants to make the playoffs because once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen. This isn’t the right mindset for a group that wants to win the Stanley Cup. The Canucks need to build waves of talent and making the ninth overall pick is a huge opportunity to construct another way of talent for this roster.
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Let’s hope he doesn’t trade the pick, but it’s on the table and rumours are heating up early Friday morning.

Brandt Clarke – A

The best right-shot defenceman falling to the Canucks at nine would be a dream come true for many. After Jett Woo, the Canucks don’t have much behind him in the defence pipeline. Jack Rathbone has moved on to the NHL and Viktor Persson needs to prove himself in the WHL.
Brandt Clarke is an offensive defenceman who has some room to grow with his skating. His defence is fine and if he can add to his current toolbelt, he has the chance to be a top-pairing defenceman in the NHL.
If the Canucks land Clarke, they just got the best RD of the draft and he will be able to contribute to the team in two years.
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The defence needs help and if the Canucks select Clarke, help is on the way.

Kent Johnson – A+

It’s a homerun for the Canucks to select Kent Johnson. He is a local prospect who attends an excellent university for development. Michigan is going to be a powerhouse next season and Johnson will be one of the top play drivers for the Wolverines.
He is a dynamic offensive talent who has top-line potential and could be a nice fit for Elias Pettersson down the road. Johnson does damage on the power play from a variety of places and played like a little guy before he shot up to 6’1″.
He’s skinny, but so was I when I was 17-18. There’s plenty of room on his 6’1″ body for him to build muscle and prepare for pro hockey.
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Johnson has been the most likely pick for the Canucks throughout the past two months of mock drafts. He makes so much sense for the Canucks if they step up to the Zoom podium with thoughts of picking the best available player with their ninth overall selection.

William Eklund – A+++

If William Eklund is the one who falls in this draft, the Canucks need to select him.
He is the forward with the highest potential in the draft. Eklund is a special type of offensive superstar. He looked excellent last season in the SHL with 11 goals and 12 assists while playing in a bottom-six role.
It’s highly unlikely that Eklund falls to nine but it is possible.
This would be a huge win for the Canucks if they can land Eklund.

Luke Hughes – A+

If the Canucks can select Quinn Hughes’ brother in the draft it would be another massive win for the team. Luke Hughes is expected to be drafted in the top five and it’s hard to imagine that the New Jersey Devils will pass on him as they also have a brother’s connection with Jack Hughes.
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Luke is not like the other Hughes, he is 6’2″ and according to him, he can kill penalties.
When it comes to age in the draft, some folks think it matters a ton and if that’s the case for you, you should know that Luke is one of the younger players in this draft. He is off to Michigan next season and will add to their powerful arsenal of talent. Luke won’t turn 18 until September.
He is an incredible skater and his size will only help him as he moves on with his hockey career. With so much LD talent at Michigan, we may see Hughes play on the right side next season and adding that to his game would be huge for the Canucks or whichever team drafts him.
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It likely puts a heck of a smile on Quinn’s face and then maybe they can sign a damn deal already…
Well, that wraps it up for the pre-draft coverage from me. I hope you’ve enjoyed the lists and articles I’ve put together on our way up to the draft. It’s been a blast in the video room my tiny office and I’ve learned a lot about this draft class.
Once the Canucks have made their picks, we will have a ton of in-depth breakdowns of their new prospects.
For the record, I think Luke Hughes is going to fall to the Canucks and they won’t pass on him with the ninth overall pick. If I was a betting man, and I am, I would bet that the Canucks come out of the first round with Kent Johnson. The Canucks are about to get a very important piece to their future and right now, it feels near impossible to screw it up.
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Let’s go!