Vancouver Canucks: Early Seven-Round Mock Draft

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 /

With less than two weeks left in the Vancouver Canucks season, our focus turns to the draft. Time for a first look at possible 2017 selections.

Many teams are celebrating playoff-clinching wins. For us Vancouver Canucks fans, on the other hand, NCAA free-agent signings are as exciting as it gets. But don’t worry, the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will bring enough excitement to Vancouver.

As of today, the Canucks own a total of six picks in this draft: one in each of the first three rounds, two in the fourth and one in the seventh. In addition, they could get the Columbus Blue Jackets’ second-round selection. Columbus can send either this year’s or next year’s second-rounder to Vancouver as compensation for former Canucks head coach John Tortorella.

The Blue Jackets have until June 1 to make that decision, but for this mock draft’s sake, I decided to include Columbus’s second this year as pick No. 61.

The draft lottery was simulated using the Tankathon lottery simulator. Ranking fourth-last in the league standings, the Canucks had an 8.5 percent chance of winning the first-overall selection and a 26 percent chance of winning a top-three pick.

Here are the results, with each club’s pre-lottery position in parentheses:

  1. Colorado Avalanche (1)
  2. Detroit Red Wings (5)
  3. Arizona Coyotes (2)
  4. Vegas Golden Knights (3)
  5. New Jersey Devils (3)
  6. Vancouver Canucks (4)

Yes, the Canucks dropped down again. And with the Vegas Golden Knights making their NHL draft debut, they even dropped down to No. 6 instead of No. 5.

This won’t be a full mock draft but only the Canucks’ decision. But, in order for you to see the options with pick No. 6, here is whom I would expect to be taken with the first five picks.

  1. Avalanche — C Nolan Patrick, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
  2. Red Wings — C Nico Hischier, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
  3. Coyotes — D Timothy Liljegren, Rögle (SHL)
  4. Golden Knights — C Gabriel Vilardi, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
  5. Devils — C Casey Mittelstadt, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)

With the first five selections made, the Vancouver Canucks are on the clock.

A final note: Remember there are players one team would pick in the second round and another wouldn’t touch until at least the fifth. There are even players one team would draft in the first round that another wouldn’t draft at all. This mock draft is simply done by who I think might be available when the given pick rolls around. 

Round 1

6. player. 104. Don’t be fooled by the scoreless world juniors — Elias Pettersson is a highly exciting offensive player. Playing on a line with Canucks prospect Jonathan Dahlen in the Swedish Allsvenskan, Pettersson finished the 2016-17 season with with 19 goals and 41 points in 43 games. The centre combines elite puck skills with skating, hockey sense and a strong two-way game, making him a very promising prospect. At the very least, Pettersson has top-six forward potential. He might not be in the same tier as the centres picked in the top five, though, so let’s hope the Canucks don’t actually fall to sixth overall.. Centre. Timra, Allsvenskan. Elias Pettersson

Round 2

player. 104. Scouts have some very different opinions on this right-shot defenceman. Conor Timmins is ranked 19th by McKeen’s Hockey, but only 81st by Future Considerations. Timmins had a breakout year offensively, jumping to 61 points from 13 in 2015-16. He is an extremely smart player who distributes the puck well offensively and on the breakout, and disrupts plays defensively. What scouts don’t like is his lack of physicality and his skating, though the latter has improved a lot over the past year.. Defence. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL. Conor Timmins. 36

Jonah Gadjovich finished the season ranked third in OHL scoring with 46 goals in 60 games, but his game isn’t all goal-scoring. At 6-foot-2 and 201 pounds, Gadjovich plays a power-forward game combined with strong two-way abilities. He is neither overly fast not flashy, but he gets the job done. A player who can slide up and down the lineup and fill a variety of roles. Could be gone by the time pick No. 61 rolls around, but here’s to hoping he won’t be.. Left Wing. Owen Sound Attack, OHL. Jonah Gadjovich. 61. player. 104

Round 3

USA U-18, NTDP. David Farrance. 67. player. 104. The Canucks are starting to believe that defensive depth is their biggest organisational strength. But, they are still far from having a top-level D-core in the NHL, and there’s nothing wrong with piling up D-prospects. David Farrance is an offensive force and an excellent skater. He knows how to get the puck out of pressure and start a breakout; he just doesn’t have prototypical NHL-size.. Defence

Round 4

104. A forward who split his draft season between the Regina Pats and the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL, Lane Zablocki can play at centre or on the wing. His 2016-17 numbers aren’t eye-popping, but 28 goals and 54 points in 64 games are more than respectable. Plus, Zablocki is currently raising his draft stock with some outstanding performances in the WHL playoffs.. Right Wing. Red Deer Rebels, WHL. Lane Zablocki. 98. player

Jordan Bellerive. 115. player. 104. The Canucks like homegrown talent; so after skipping out on Michael Rasmussen in the first round, they select a North Vancouver native with pick 115. Jordan Bellerive is a smallish (5-foot-10) but highly skilled centre who knows how to create offence. In 70 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes this season, he has 27 goals and 56 points.. Centre. Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL

Round 7

Goaltender. EC Salzburg U18, RBHRC U18. Benjamin Beck. 191. player. 104. Thatcher Demko is the future of the Canucks franchise, but it’s always good to get a second talented goalie into the system. Benjamin Beck is a giant, listed at 6-foot-7 and 216 pounds. Committed to the University of Maine, Beck reminds his future coach of Maine alumnus <a rel=

The chances of the draft actually shaking out this way are obviously extremely slim, thanks to the large number of players available, players picked, and the varying opinions of NHL scouts. But, if it did shake out this way, I would be very pleased.

Next: 5 Players to Watch for 2017 NHL Draft

The Canucks would get promising players on all three positions, including the playmaking centre and the offensive defenceman they want.

The 2017 NHL Entry Draft will take place in Chicago on June 23 and June 24.