Vancouver Canucks have to draft a defenceman with 7th pick


The Vancouver Canucks were on the wrong side of lottery luck once again, but a franchise defenceman awaits for general manager Jim Benning with the seventh selection.

It won’t be Rasmus Dahlin, but the Vancouver Canucks are still going to get the player they’ve needed for a long time with the seventh overall selection.

Now, the only question is if it will be Adam Boqvist, Quinn Hughes, Noah Dobson or Evan Bouchard. It seems like a guarantee in that Brady Tkachuk, Filip Zadina and Andrei Svechnikov will be gone by the time general manager Jim Benning picks, so the Canucks won’t be tempted to take the best player available.

Benning knows he has a good foundation of young forwards, led by Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, Jonathan Dahlen and Jake Virtanen. But outside of Olli Juolevi (if he ever develops the way we hope), and Chris Tanev (who’s oft-injured and could even be traded this summer), the Canucks are lacking in quality blueliners.

So even if somehow and someway one of the core three forwards prospects in this draft are available with the seventh pick, Benning should know he doesn’t need another winger.

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The Canucks have those, and the idea of Juolevi pairing with one of this year’s top defensive prospects is too intriguing.

How could Benning pass on all these talented blueliners, with scouts viewing them as top-pairing guys?

Boqvist is the smooth skating, do-it-all blueliner. In fact, TSN’s Craig Button compared him to Ottawa Senators star, Erik Karlsson.

Bouchard has a wicked shot from the point and could enter the NHL right away. Hughes has been praised for his smart play in the defensive zone, while Dobson can move the puck well while also displaying strong hockey IQ.

These are all players that could change the Canucks. It’s almost impossible to see how Benning could overlook all of them and decide to add another forward, when there are more than enough on the roster and in the pipeline system. Shall we throw in the names of Adam Gaudette and Kole Lind as well?

Just envision the Canucks having Horvat and Pettersson as their top two centres. Boeser, Dahlen and Virtanen on the wing. Thatcher Demko is easily your goalie of the future. Then you have a blue line built around Juolevi and either Bouchard, Hughes, Dobson or Boqvist? This is what a future Stanley Cup contender looks like.

Per Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province, Benning could be open to trading down this year, as long as he feels confident the Canucks will get the player they want later. That may be too risky. He needs one of these four.

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In a way, this was the right year for the Canucks to fall back in the NHL Draft. This is the time for them to find a top-end defenceman, and they’re in position to get one. This is a stacked class loaded with talent all over, and Benning has one awaiting for him.