5. Olli Juolevi vs. Matthew Tkachuk
To round this out, we have a serious long-term battle that could be fun to watch for many years. The Canucks sent one of their most promising scorers, Hunter Shinkaruk, to the Calgary Flames in February, and followed that up by leaving another promising scorer for the Flames at the 2016 draft.
Most scouts agreed that the top-six players of the draft were forwards, namely Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Matthew Tkachuk and Alexander Nylander. What followed behind that was more talented forwards as well as a few defensemen, including Olli Juolevi, Mikhail Sergachev and Jacob Chychrun. There was no consensus top D-man, nor were there many who would have picked a defenseman in the top five.
The Canucks did just that.
Canucks Nation was hoping Jim Benning could land forward Pierre-Luc Dubois. If that didn’t work out, which turned out to be the case, most were hoping for Tkachuk. Well, it became Juolevi, and we now have to live with that.
Wait, live with that? Isn’t Juolevi a terrific prospect? He sure as hell is. The only issue is that the Flames won another highly talented scorer who might spend the majority of his career scoring goals against the Canucks.
It will be a while until both prospects play major roles in their respective organisations. However, the 2016-17 campaign could give us a first idea of who got the better player. If one of Tkachuk and Juolevi makes the NHL, that could be a first indication.