Vancouver Canucks: Projecting how the draft will play out


A look at how the draft might potentially play out, who the Vancouver Canucks should target, and who they will select with the seventh overall selection.

Like a wax strip being pulled off a hairy leg, Vancouver Canucks fans felt a swift burning sensation after it was revealed that they would select seventh overall in the 2018 NHL entry draft.

However, once the pain of losing out on the first overall selection subsided, it dawned on many that the Canucks will still get a high quality player with their seventh overall pick.

Not only do the Canucks have a high pick, but this year’s draft is rich in defenceman, which is a position of great need for the Canucks. The Canucks might finally find the top pairing defenceman their prospect cupboard so desperately craves!

While the thought of adding a defenceman for organizational need is tempting, it is important to select the best player available (bpa). This is the approach the team has to go with. The question is who will be the bpa when its the Canucks turn?

While the top-three are essentially set in stone, there is a lot of fluidity between spots four to seven. Anything can happen, which makes projecting who is available so frustrating for management and fans.

Just for fun, I thought I’d try to shed some light on how the draft will go by putting myself in the shoes of each of the six teams picking before the Canucks. Mind you, this mock draft is not based off bpa, but more of how I feel the draft will play out leading up to the Canucks pick, where they should select the bpa out of the remaining players.

1. Buffalo Sabres: Rasmus Dahlin (D)

Nothing to look at here folks.

2. Carolina Hurricanes: Filip Zadina (F)

For nearly the entire season, I had Andrei Svechnikov at second overall, and his play this season has only proven to everyone that he deserves to go second overall. If any other team was picking in this slot, they would take Svechnikov.

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However, Zadina is just as good an offensive talent, and has fantastic chemistry with Carolina prospect and fellow Czech Martin Necas from their years of playing on the Czech National team together.

The thought of reuniting those two for years to come is to tantalizing to pass up on. Look for Zadina here.

3. Montreal Canadiens: Andrei Svechnikov (F)

Speed, power, and goal scoring ability. Him and Jonathan Drouin will make sweet music together for a long time. Svechnikov would have looked good on Elias Pettersson’s line.

4. Ottawa Senators: Adam Boqvist (D)

The Canucks would love to get their hands on Boqvist. He plays the game in a similar fashion to that of Ottawa stud Erik Karlsson. Which is exactly why the Senators will take Boqvist in this spot. Who better to mentor a Karlsson like player than Karlsson himself?

5. Arizona Coyotes: Quinn Hughes (D)

A player similar to Boqvist, the Canucks and their fans would do cartwheels if he were available at seven. While there are concerns about the power in his shot, Hughes is such a smart and agile player who can quarterback the powerplay with the best of the them.

Alas, advanced stats guru and giraffe impersonator John Chayka will rob the Canucks of the opportunity to select Hughes. The though of Clayton Keller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Hughes on the same powerplay unit is too tempting to pass on. Not to mention Hughes advanced stats would make Chayka go weak at the knees.

6. Detroit Red Wings: Evan Bouchard (D)

A big defenceman with a strong mind for the game, the Detroit Red Wings will be all to happy to select the first Canadian of this draft. The Canucks would be very hard pressed to pass on Bouchard if he were available at seven. He is the type of player that GM Jim Benning dreams about every night.

Not only is he above average in all three zones, he has a history of playing with Canucks prospect Olli Juolevi. This chemistry could translate well to the NHL, where both defenceman can transition the puck out quick and hem the other team in the offensive zone. Unfortunately, the Canucks come up a pick short of getting him.

7. Vancouver Canucks: Oliver Wahlstrom (F)

The Canucks really need defenceman, but it will be too hard to pass up on Oliver Wahlstrom. I myself am a huge Oliver Wahlstrom fan. I believe this player has the potential to become like Brock Boeser.

He can play both wing and centre, has an excellent release, fantastic hands, and is a strong presence along the boards.

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With his shoot first mentality, he would be a perfect complement to a pass first player in Elias Pettersson, and a crash the net player in Jonathan Dahlen. He would allow Boeser to play on a line with Bo Horvat, giving the Canucks two dangerous scoring lines.

He might not help the Canucks get the puck up ice like a defenceman, but last time I checked a game is decided on how many goals you score, not how many times you carry the puck out of the defensive zone.


Passing up on a defenceman might be a tough pill to swallow, but like I said earlier there is a lot of quality defenceman in this draft. The Canucks could easily get a strong defenceman in the second round.

However, picking for a need over bpa is not an option. While the Canucks defensive needs have been a glaring hole, the Canucks also need help scoring. The Canucks were 26th in league scoring this year.

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With the exception of Pettersson, the Canucks have some decent forward prospects, none have the high-end dynamic ability to be first line players. Wahlstrom does. In short, I feel the draft will play out where the Canucks will have no choice but to pick a forward, which is not necessarily ideal, but will nonetheless help the team moving forward.