2. D Olli Juolevi
Acquired: Drafted 5th overall, 2016
With the fifth-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Canucks made sure they got a blue-chip prospect on defense, after picking up goaltender Demko and forward Brock Boeser in previous years. Juolevi is confident that he can make the NHL roster out of training camp in his first year, but that is probably not a realistic scenario.
In 2015-16, Juolevi won every big title there is to win in junior hockey. The Ontario Hockey League championship, the Memorial Cup, the World Junior Championship. There really isn’t much left to gain for the 18-year-old Finn. But yet, he is expected to go back to play another season with the OHL London Knights — because it’s the only option.
Read More: Why Olli Juolevi Was a Great Pick
Every year, there are prospects who would be best off playing in the American Hockey League, but they aren’t allowed, thanks to the NHL’s agreement with the Canadian Hockey League. Juolevi is ready to play pro hockey, but it’s probably not enough to make the NHL yet. A year of seasoning in the AHL would be perfect.
Instead, we will likely see an Ivan Provorov scenario. The Philadelphia Flyers’ seventh-overall pick from 2015 was sent back to junior for the 2015-16 campaign, won the WHL championship, recorded the most points by a WHL defenseman, and was named top defenseman in both the WHL and CHL. He is now expected to join the Flyers’ blue line in the NHL. Juolevi will hopefully be ready for Vancouver after a dominant OHL year as well.
Next: Brock Boeser