Vancouver Canucks 2017 NHL Draft Profile: D Reilly Walsh

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Vancouver Canucks want to get a blueliner that’s capable of being a power-play quarterback, they might have to look past the first two rounds.

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning seems set on the two player types he desires the most. One, a playmaking center to become the go-to guy on the top line in the post-Sedin era. And two, an offensive defenseman who can quarterback a power play.

If the Canucks could just draft Nico Hischier and Cale Makar and call it a day, that would be great. But, unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Instead, there is a solid chance that Vancouver will only pick up a center at No. 5, leaving the D-man for the later rounds.

After profiling Grant Anderson yesterday, here is another late-round target in Reilly Walsh!

Name: Reilly Walsh

Position: Defense

Shoots: Right

Birthdate: 1999-04-21

Height, weight: 6’0”, 176 lbs

Team, league: Proctor Academy, USHS

Stats (from 
















#130 by Future Considerations
#60 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 3/5, 4/5

NHL-potential: Top-four defenseman

Draft Range: Third to fifth round

Scouting report

"Possibly the best Eastern Prep school prospect in the class, he is a bit undersized, but no one can deny his superb skating and offensive talent as he lead all scores as a dee-man. Has great pace to his game, and can get up ice in transition and put the puck right in front of his teammates, ripe for picking. As this juncture, doesn’t have the size to handle his own end with dominance, but makes up for that with a strong work ethic, and on ice smarts. Hustles and uses his feet and stick to corral the biscuit and transition it out. Terrific on the power play with his wrister and the way he uses the extra time and spca to create offensive looks. (Bill Placzek,"


Reilly Walsh is an excellent offensive defenseman who was a point-producing machine at the high-school level and continued to make an impact with the USHL Chicago Steel. With the puck, Walsh is everything you want to see from a modern NHL blueliner.

Walsh is an excellent skater with strong mobility, allowing him transition quickly from defense to offense and start a rush. He carries the puck with confidence, but also sees his teammates well and plays crisp, accurate outlet passes. With that, Walsh is an excellent player to have when his team gains possession in the defensive zone.

Offensively, Walsh likes to jump in and contribute. He displays strong offensive awareness and understands what his options are, resulting in many right decisions at the right times. Walsh can set up chances for his teammates or finish plays himself with a strong wrist shot or one-timer.

His 69 points in 30 USHS games and 10 points in 24 contests in the USHL prove Walsh can be an offensive impact player.


Walsh is an excellent offensive player, but the same can’t be said about his defensive abilities.

Evaluating the defensive aspect of a prospect’s game can be tough at low levels, because defending isn’t that hard against young players that don’t have pro potential. Hence, scouts get worried when an NHL draft prospect doesn’t defend well at the USHS level. And with Walsh, that has been an issue.

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It’s not that Walsh doesn’t want to defend, but rather that it often looks like he can’t do it any better. His defensive awareness and positioning are major question marks, as is his physical engagement. Defensively, there just isn’t much there.

In addition, some scouts question his defensive compete level. Maybe Walsh would be better in his own zone if he simply worked harder and tried his very best to get engaged physically, block shots, and do whatever his coach wants to see.

Final Thoughts

The team that drafts Walsh will do it for his offensive tools — nothing else. Walsh has the potential to be a big-time impact player from the backend at the highest level. And since offensive defensemen, especially right-handed ones, are a hot commodity in the NHL, there is a great chance that Walsh will be picked relatively early.

Walsh is most commonly ranked around the 100th spot, but he could easily be a third-round pick for a team that craves an offensive blueliner like him. The Canucks are one of those teams, but they only own the 64th pick in the third round. For a player with Walsh’s question marks, that’s probably a little early.

Instead, look for Vancouver targeting Walsh in the fourth round, with their 95th or 112th selection.

Next: All 2017 NHL Draft Profiles

If the Canucks decide to fix their scoring issues by picking up a playmaking center at five and another forward like Kole Lind, Jason Robertson or Joni Ikonen in the second round, they could definitely target a player like Walsh after that.