Vancouver Canucks: Benning has plenty of options on draft day

Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

In two weeks, the Vancouver Canucks will find out if they benefited from draft lottery luck. If the Canucks don’t land a top-three selection, general manager Jim Benning will have plenty o options on the table to consider.

The Vancouver Canucks organization and fans anxiously await  the Apr. 28 draft lottery, which will determine if they land generational defenceman Rasmus Dahlin — or perhaps another can’t-miss prospect.

As Ryan Biech pointed out, the Canucks can’t pick fourth or fifth, so it’s either a top-three selection or somewhere from sixth to ninth. And 2018 is a draft class where picking inside the top-five is vital, with Dahlin being in a level of his own.

After that, wingers Andrei Svechnikov, Brady Tkachuck and Flip Zadina also figure to fall in the top-five. Otherwise, blueliners Adam Boqvist and Quinton Hughes will be there for the taking as future top-pairing guys.

If the Canucks win the lottery, then you don’t have to worry about draft day. They will easily take Dahlin with the top pick, and it will be the easiest decision this franchise ever had to make. Oh, how fun that would be for general manager Jim Benning.

But if the Canucks land the second or third pick, there will be options for Benning. If they pick sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth, there will be options for Benning. So in short, unless Vancouver gets the top pick, the front office has to consider all of their options.

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Trading down

Say the Canucks have the second or third pick. Well, teams like the Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens could use Zadina, Tkachuk or Svechnikov. The Canucks don’t need those wingers with Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen in the fold, and with Jonathan Dahlen ready for the NHL.

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What if one of those teams offers Benning their first-round pick plus a second or third rounder just to move up a few spots? If Vancouver doesn’t see a must-have player in the top three, Benning would be wise to stockpile as many picks as he can.

Trading down doesn’t sound as crazy as you think, either. It’s quite obvious the Canucks need another blueliner — especially with Ben Hutton possibly getting dealt this summer.

Rahlin, Boqvist, Quinton Hughes, Evan Bouchard and Noah Dobson are all excellent options.

Surely, one of them will be there for the Canucks if they pick in the seventh-to-ninth range.

It’s well worth adding an extra draft selection if Benning feels he’ll get a blueliner he’s happy with — even if it means trading down.

Trading up

If the Canucks pick second, there’s almost no way they’re trading up for the first pick. They can forget about that. If Vancouver lands the third selection, there’s not much of an incentive to trade up for second.

Picking sixth or seventh isn’t such a bad choice, either. Tkachuk, Svechnikov and Zadina will be desirable for other teams, and the Canucks will be fine with that. But if they fall to eighth or ninth? Benning may want to think about trading up.

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Boqvist, Bouchard and Hughes look to be the next best tier of blueliners after Dahlin. If the Canucks aren’t sure that either of those three will be there, Benning will need to be aggressive.

Trading their first and second-round pick to move up three spots may be a bit high, but perhaps throwing in fourth or fifth-round selections would get it done. It’s important for the Canucks to get one of these near NHL-ready blueliners, and trading up may be the only way to ensure Benning finds one.


At the end of the day, all of this is a moot point if the Canucks win the draft lottery — which would obviously be a great thing. But should the Canucks not win it (and their odds aren’t great), Benning needs to consider all option on the table.

Trading down isn’t such a bad idea, but trading up may also be something worth considering if it can land them that next top-pairing blueliner. But in an ideal world, the Canucks can trade down a couple of spots, secure another pick and still select a player they’re happy with.

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Benning hasn’t traded up or down in the first round in his career as Vancouver general manager, but that could all change in 2018. For now, all eyes are on Apr. 28 — the day the Canucks find out if draft lottery luck was finally on their side or not.