Vancouver Canucks: 2019 draft targets, Quinn Hughes, more

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 11: Zack MacEwen #71 of the Vancouver Canucks sports a Year of the Pig warm-up jerseys commemorating the Chinese Lunar New Year during warmup before their NHL game against the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena February 11, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 11: Zack MacEwen #71 of the Vancouver Canucks sports a Year of the Pig warm-up jerseys commemorating the Chinese Lunar New Year during warmup before their NHL game against the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena February 11, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Team Tank vs Team Playoffs has been a debate all season long, no matter what side you are on, I’ve got a new side for you to take. I decided to send the call for a Canuck Way mailbag, these were from followers of the Twitter account and thanks to them all for sending in the Q’s.

Love it or hate it, Vancouver Canucks fans, Valentine’s Day has come and gone.

Some were spoiled and even more were let down. I enjoyed watching some prospect videos as I set up shop at home during the great snow storm of 2019, which I’m betting British Columbians will be talking about for years to come.

I was one of those savvy chocolate shoppers making my way to Wal-Mart to grab some 50 percent off Hersey’s kisses and Reese’s peanut butter cup on Feb. 15. But now that I have made my annual trip to Wallyworld I thought I would put out the tweet to try and answer some questions from Canucks twitter.

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions to my twitter!

So here it is, let’s get it.

Good start by Gio here, this is something I have been writing about over the past few weeks and am starting to believe that this Canucks team will finish the season drafting somewhere between 10-15th.

There are many different options that the Canucks can go with, there’s room on this team for a top six winger, preferably a left winger which there are a few guys who fit into that 10-15 range.

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The other spot where the Canucks should definitely consider is a defenceman, whether that be a left shot or right shot I would not worry too much about as we still need to bulk up that group of prospects.

Obviously a right shot defenceman is ideal for the team, a guy who projects to be a top four possible first pairing guy would be amazing, but is it possible?

Yes.

Victor Söderström is my guy, I’ve been blown away from watching game tape of him and I’ve documented why in my previous article.

The right shot defenceman fits exactly what the Canucks could use moving forward, a guy who can move the puck with authority, very smart hockey sense and would be able to keep up with a guy like Quinn Hughes.

There are definitely some other options, I like guys like Nolan Foote, Arthur Kaliyev and Alex Newhook. These three are in very different situations but all can play left wing in my opinion, Newhook is electric in the BCHL and I think he moves to the wing in the near future, Foote plays a strong game as a winger and I’m working on a piece that will dive deep into his game. Arthur Kaliyev is a real wildcard, his shot is unreal but can he develop into a well-rounded NHLer, that’s the question.

Must mention Philip Broberg, Moritz Seider and Cam York as some more options for the Canucks to look at if they want to go with Söderström. There are a lot of options for the Canucks if they end up picking 10-15th but the really interesting this would be to see where they go if they fall around the 5th to 7th overall pick.

Weasel is a tough term to try and describe in hockey, but Ryan Kesler definitely falls very close to it. Some Calgary Flames fans may include Alex Burrows and Kevin Bieksa in there but I think I see where Kelly is going with this one. He wants to know which Canucks player will be a guy in the playoffs that plays tough and is one of those guys where you love him if he’s with you but hate him when he’s against you.

My recent conversations with some Utica sources tell me that Jonah Gadjovich is starting to take a step in the AHL. Gadjovich may not only have the best picture on all of Eliteprospects.com but he is also turning some heads in the Canucks organization about the role player that they thought they were drafting in 2017. Gadjo is starting to look like the player that he was in junior and now trying to be that same guy in the pro game.

The thing you’d like to see more of from Gadjovich is some penalty killing time, he does get special teams opportunities with the Utica Comets, but that is mostly on the power play in a net front presence role.

Related Story. Canucks: Three NHL prospects if they pick 11 to 20th. light

I like him in that role on the power play, its something he succeeded at in junior and could be an option for the PP2 in the future. I would like to see if he can develop into a penalty killer next year with the Comets as I think lots of these possible bottom six prospects need to add things to their game that the top six players don’t do regularly.

We don’t need to see guys like Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson killing penalties but would love to see Gadjovich add that tool to his belt.

Kole Lind is in a very similar position but has more of a scoring upside, his confidence has been growing over the past few weeks of the AHL season and looks to have added some more confidence resulting in Lind showing more grit.

When Kole gets lined up with some AHL vets like Wacey Hamilton and Vincent Arseneau you can see him thriving to get to the level of grittiness that Hamilton and Arseneau play with, so when you see Canuck fans going nuts about Kole Lind not playing with good players, remember that he is in his first year of pro hockey and has so much to learn at the AHL level before even getting to the point of learning how to be an everyday NHLer.

We got Antoine Roussel right now and the king of the backhand sauce is definitely trending up with Canucks fans, so if his game is amped up for the playoffs I think some other fan bases would look at Roussel in this “Weasel” role.

If the Canucks fall somewhere between third and seventh in the draft, I think that Bowen Byram is where the conversation begins and ends. He’s right here in this town, playing Major Junior hockey at a top level. He projects to be a top pairing defenceman and when Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko go one, two I think that Byram is the next man up and if the Canucks can draft back to back first rounders consisting of Quinn Hughes and Bowen Byram this team’s defensive prospects just did a full 180 and is exciting for the future!

There are other ways to go as well or if Byram goes before the Canucks can pick they could look at guys like Vasili Podkolzin, Matthew Boldy, Kirby Dach and Dylan Cozens all look to project as top six forwards. Boldy looks solid but I haven’t seen enough tape on him to break his game down and the duo of Dach/Cozens are both centremen who a team lower down in the draft could possibly be interested in trading up for, though I believe Cozens has had some time on the right wing.

Long story long, I would go with a defenceman.

Take Bowen Byram if he is there or look for a team that is in need of a Centre, there are about five or six of them in the top 10 that teams would likely be willing to trade up for.

Oh baby, Quinn Hughes is coming. He’s going to be getting a run likely at the end of this season to prepare him for what will be his rookie season in 2019-20 and something that is often asked is what he can do for the power play, who will he be paired with and how many points will he put up.

The first two questions partially answer the final one, it is safe to say that Hughes will be starting next season on the first unit power play with Brock Boeser on one side and Elias Pettersson on the other. If he gets thrown into that position and can stay healthy that is likely at least 20 power play points.

Five on five will be curious as to who his partner will be, I’d project that if healthy, Quinn Hughes can add 15-20 points at even strength. So I think an impressive rookie season would be if we saw Hughes somewhere around 40-50 points.

At the same time I would guess that Hughes doesn’t play all 82 games next season and he will put up somewhere between 30-40 points.

It’s great to dream and often times I can be caught up in believing too much in a player but with Quinn Hughes I don’t think that will be a problem, though it could be tough making his adjustment into his first NHL season.

Next. Who are the best linemates for Bo Horvat. dark

Thanks to everyone who sent questions in through twitter, if this is something you guys enjoy. My question for you in the comments is what am I horribly wrong about in this article?