The Vancouver Canucks will have many tough decisions to make in June.
Over the past weeks, we took a first look at the top two rounds of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and profiled players the Vancouver Canucks could target. But the top two rounds are only the tip of the iceberg that is the draft.
Now, you could argue that players drafted later than the second round rarely turn into impact players on the NHL level. While that is certainly true, I want you to take a look through this list and re-evaluate your thoughts:
- 117th overall, 1998 — C Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
- 210th overall, 1999 — C Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings
- 205th overall, 2000 — G Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
- 258th overall, 2004 — G Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
- 129th overall, 2007 — LW Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
The Detroit Red Wings snagged two of their best players of all time late in the 1998 and 1999 Drafts, respectively. The New York Rangers and Nashville Predators found their long-time franchise goalies even later. The Dallas Stars selected Jamie Benn outside the top 100, and Benn is currently a top-three scorer in the league.
Obviously, the chances of making a steal like that are extremely slim, but they are there. How about an example from the Canucks? Guess where first-line right winger Jannik Hansen was drafted. In the ninth round, 287th overall, of the 2004 Draft.
Hansen is not a superstar by any means, but he developed into an important player for his team. He now has 517 regular season games played and 210 points in the best league in the world. In addition, he played in 64 playoff contests. That is comparable to the career of Lauri Korpikoski, who was selected 19th overall by the Rangers in the same year.
There is no guarantee for anything in the NHL Draft, which shows one thing: scouting is extremely important, and the later rounds are at least as important as the first two. A lot can and will still change, but it is never too early for a first look.
So, here is one player for each round that the Canucks could, and perhaps should, target at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Next: Round 3