Vancouver Canucks: 5 Reasons Why Olli Juolevi Was a Great Pick

Jun 24, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Olli Juolevi poses for a photo after being selected as the number five overall draft pick by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagra Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Olli Juolevi poses for a photo after being selected as the number five overall draft pick by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagra Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /
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5. Immediate impact

Don’t be too surprised if Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi are the only players who make an immediate impact in the NHL. The fourth-likeliest to be in the NHL for 2016-17 is probably Carolina’s 21st-overall selection Julien Gauthier, thanks to his massive frame and power-forward game. Nobody really expects any other top-10 picks to jump in right away, because most play a skilled game that needs refining first, or they aren’t strong enough — which is said about Juolevi.

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However, also don’t be surprised if Juolevi sticks around for all of training camp and even gets a nine-game trial in the NHL or more. If the Canucks’ defense was ever strong enough to bring in a rookie who was just drafted, it is this year.

Vancouver has a strong top four with Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Ben Hutton and Erik Gudbranson. Those four will eat up the majority of minutes every night. With Edler and Hutton on the power play and Tanev and Gudbranson on the penalty kill, those four players could take up 45-50 minutes per night. That leaves 10-15 minutes for Nikita Tryamkin and Juolevi.

From there, Juolevi’s minutes could increase from game to game. As a skilled offensive player, he could also see minutes on the power-play.

Adjustment to the pro level is not easy. Compared to the CHL, players have significantly less time to do something with the puck once they get it. There often is no time to look around and evaluate options, because there are only split seconds available before an opponent comes in with a crushing hit. Juolevi, however, plays a game that should be easily adaptable to the pro ranks.

Next: What Drafting Juolevi Does for Vancouver

While players like Mikhail Sergachev always want to make something happen once they get the puck, Juolevi likes to play it safe. He can play high-percentage passes under pressure and displays outstanding decision making.

The Canucks will have to make a decision on whether 10-15 minutes a night in the NHL are better than 25-30 in the OHL. But they are used to that already — Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann can tell you about it.