Trevor Linden: Vancouver Canucks wouldn’t take Patrick or Hischier

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (left), Philadelphia Flyers select center Nolan Patrick (right), and Dallas Stars select defenseman Miro Heiskanen (center) pose for a photo after being selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft on June 23, 2017, at the United Center, in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (left), Philadelphia Flyers select center Nolan Patrick (right), and Dallas Stars select defenseman Miro Heiskanen (center) pose for a photo after being selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft on June 23, 2017, at the United Center, in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Vancouver Canucks team president Trevor Linden announced that the team would not have selected Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick if they had won the draft lottery. The Canucks selected Swedish centre Elias Pettersson with the fifth pick.

For the second year in a row, the NHL draft lottery wasn’t kind to the Vancouver Canucks. Despite finishing 28th overall in 2016 and 29th in 2017, the Canucks fell down to the number five selection in both years.

2016 wasn’t the year to fall down, as the Canucks missed out on generational prospects Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine. Nonetheless, slick-skating defenceman Olli Juolevi was a nice consolation prize at No. 5.

However, the general consensus among many NHL scouts was that the 2017 draft class didn’t come with any generational talent. Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier were the top two prospects heading into the draft.

Here’s how TSN’s Bob McKenzie broke it down back in September:

"While some of the scouts surveyed by TSN do not discount Patrick evolving into that role, the consensus view is Patrick is projected more as a second-line NHL centre and doesn’t have the same “wow” factor as McDavid, Eichel and Matthews.More from The Canuck WayWhich team won the Bo Horvat trade?What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu RätyBack to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature nightCanucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg"

So when the draft lottery once again treated the Canucks terribly in 2017, it didn’t feel as devastating.

Nobody really knows which 2017 draftees will be superstars, which ones will be second-tier players and which ones will be busts.

The Canucks selected centre Elias Pettersson with the fifth overall selection, while Hischier (first), and Patrick (second), went to the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively.

But did the Canucks really miss out on not winning the draft lottery?

According to TSN 1040’s Matt Sekeres, team president Trevor Linden wasn’t planning to take any of the consensus top two prospects in the draft:

Well, there you have it. It seems like the Canucks wound up getting the player they wanted after all. Linden himself remained optimistic after the draft lottery results:

Of course, we won’t find out for another three-to-five years if the Canucks used the pick on Pettersson wisely. We also have no idea of Hischier or Patrick truly turn out to be stars (or second liners), in their respective careers.

Next: Mike Gillis' 5 biggest draft misses

But at the end of the day, it seems as though the Vancouver Canucks are more than happy with the way the draft lottery went for them. Now, they can only hope Elias Pettersson can turn into a future star for the franchise.