The Vancouver Canucks are falling down the standings, improving their 2016 NHL Draft Lottery odds.
Nobody likes seeing the Vancouver Canucks lose against some of the worst teams in the league. Nobody likes to admit that they, too, are one of the worst teams in the league. But, thanks to the draft system, being bad always gives us something to look forward to: the NHL Draft.
We have taken a look at several players throughout the 2016 NHL Draft in the past weeks, but it may be time to take a look at the top-five prospects as well. Yes, the Vancouver Canucks have a very real chance to end up drafting that high.
Read: 3 Second-Round Targets
Read: 5 Late-Round Targets
Over the past years, there have been many extremely talented players who came in through the draft, especially from the top of the first round. Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche, 1st overall 2013), Seth Jones (Nashville Predators, 4th overall), Aaron Ekblad (Florida Panthers, 1st overall 2014), Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers, 1st overall 2015), Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres, 2nd overall 2015) — to name just a few. This year will be no different.
At the top of almost every ranking sits centre Auston Matthews. Scouts agree, Matthews would have been good enough to play in the NHL in the 2015-16 season. But he didn’t because he was born on September 17th, 1997, just two days past the date for eligibility for last year’s draft.
So, instead of being selected second or third overall right before or right after Eichel as the youngest player of the 2015 Draft, Matthews will now be selected first overall in 2016, as the oldest player. That’s just the way things go sometimes.
Behind that, there are several other interesting prospects, some of which will be ready to jump right in and be difference makers in the world’s best hockey league. Sooner or later, though, there will likely be a drop-off in talent.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning is not the only one to mention that — and he’s probably got a point. Which is, in turn, just another reason why missing the playoffs wouldn’t be all that bad for the Canucks.
Time to take a look at who Benning might be able to select come June.
Next: C Auston Matthews