Every year, the NHL witnesses an influx of talent, some of which will never play in the big leagues, destined to toil on the farm club. Others still will occasionally get called up to fill the odd gap or hole in the main lineup, but never truly make their mark as an NHL’er. Finally, though, there are those young men who aspire to greatness, catch the probing eyes of scouts and team management, and play regularly at the highest level on earth. This season, the Vancouver Canucks have a selection at 25th overall, with the hopes that the young man they choose will become a roster player in the future for the big club. But before we get to that, there are a few pieces of information to share about the upcoming Entry Draft.
Here is the link to the entire 1st round Mock Draft as performed by the writers of Fansided.com:
These are the picks the Canucks hold as of this moment: No. 25, 115, 145, 172, 175, 205.
As reported on in the last Canuck Way, it appears the Canucks might be shopping the #25 selection. The reason for this is that they do not currently own a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Again, the second round pick was used in obtaining Steve Bernier from the San Jose Sharks. In a similar move, Andrew Alberts was relocated from Carolina in exchange for their 3rd round pick, to help add a little depth heading into the 2010 Playoffs. During a recent TSN interview with Mike Gillis (General Manager), he said that in order to give them options in the 2nd and 3rd round, they might move the 25th pick.
The following “Mock Draft” was initiated and enabled by my parent site, Fansided.com. Basically, each representative (writer) from each NHL club was invited to share in the drafting process. Using the prospect pool from the upcoming draft, we simulated the 1st round picks, chronologically according to NHL listed drafting order. In my humble opinion, I believe there to be a few strong, defensively responsible defensemen available at the 25th pick. I feel the Canucks would be remiss to do anything than obtain a shutdown defender, especially with the very real possibility that Willie Mitchell might not re-sign with the Canucks. Yann Suave and Taylor Ellington may have a future on the Canucks blueline, but to what extent the more defensively minded youngsters could reach ‘shutdown’ status is questionable.
Pysyk has drawn comparisons to Jordan Leopold early in his career. At the 25th selection, two other noteworthy defenders had been chosen prior to him. Though I had hoped for a more punishing, physical defenceman, Pysyk has the skating and mental capacity to flourish under the right circumstances. It has been reported that he is exceptionally good using his stick, which, combined with his speed, is very effective. He attempts moves and makes plays that other juniors dare not. The new NHL seems to cater to the faster, quicker players, and with the calibre of speed that many NHL forwards possess, it’s imperative that defensemen be fleet of foot.
Cons: The injury bug hampered Pysyk this past season in the WHL. After capturing gold for Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, he was concussed after 8 games, missing two weeks of action. Then, in January, he broke his foot (a la Ryan Johnson) blocking a shot, though he played 4 games before realizing the seriousness of the injury. Those things being said, it’s encouraging that he returned as quickly as possible from those injuries, even playing through pain for 4 games.
All things considered, it would have been ideal for my own selection had the Thrashers not selected Dylan McIlrath from the Moose Jaw Warriors. But, as in real life, the player you’re hoping for doesn’t always last on the board as long as you need him to, so it’s all about having a backup plan. Still, Mark Pysyk was slated to go earlier than this selection, so I believe the Canucks would do well to draft someone with his pedigree and natural talent. No matter what, we’ll find out tomorrow what they’ll really do with the pick, whether it’s dealt, kept, or used to bring in additional 2nd and 3rd round picks. Who will don the teal and blue this year?