Fifth round: 135th overall: Kristoffer Gunnarsson
Kristoffer Gunnarsson is a defensive defenceman who played his draft year with the SHL’s Frölunda HC, Frölunda’s Under-20 team and IK Oskarshamm of the Allsvenskan on loan.
It was unlikely he was going to be an NHLer at the time of the draft and it looks like he won’t be. Since 2017, he has played for Frölunda HC, loaned to Linköping HC, signed with Mora IK of the Allsvenskan and loaned to Kristianstads IK all while putting up very low offensive numbers.
Gunnarsson is still with Mora IK.
Sixth round: 18th overall: Petrus Palmu
Petrus Palmu isn’t the biggest player (5’6″ and 172 pounds) but he has got some speed.
He was coming off a 98-point season with the Owen Sound Attack in his draft year. Palmu returned to his native Finland on loan to TPS Turku the following season. There, he had 36 points in 59 games.
The Finnish winger tried to make things work in North America in the 2018-19 season. But he only played 12 games with the Comets managing one assist before heading back to TPS after constantly being a healthy scratch.
It was not a good look for the Canucks organization as a whole but Palmu did an interview with Sportsnet 650 a few weeks later and it made the organization look worse.
“Honestly, I didn’t get the reason why I didn’t get the ice time, nobody really talked to me,” said Palmu. “I tried to do my job and help the team when I played. I think the first games when I played there, I was playing good, but then like everybody knows, I didn’t get very big minutes, which was very tough for me.”
You might say that it was selfish and petty of Palmu but sitting in the press box doesn’t help with development.
“I want to play NHL. I need the chance,” said Palmu. “I’ve got to be a little bit selfish in my hockey career like everyone else. Right now, I’m here getting better. In Utica, if I would have stayed there and sit in the stands the whole season, I wouldn’t get that good. That’s just a fact.”
The lack of communication with the Comets must have also frustrated Palmu and he has not been back in North America since. He was loaned to Finland’s JYP in 2019-20 and the DEL’s ERC Ingolstadt in 2020-21.
Palmu left the Canucks organization permanently last offseason and he signed with Finland’s Jukirit and was named team captain. This past season, he managed 59 points in 59 games with Jukirit.
The Canucks organization should have given Palmu a better chance and it was just a sour relationship between the two sides. There is no guarantee he would have made the NHL if he was given a better chance,but the Canucks should have handled Palmu better.
Seventh round: 188th overall: Matt Brassard
Matt Brassard was coming off a 32-point season in the OHL between the Barrie Colts and Oshawa Generals. Since the 2017 draft, Brassard has played for the Niagara IceDogs and the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Comets and Wichita Thunder.
In the 2019-20 season, he decided to go to school. He is currently playing for the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers. This past season, the defenceman managed five goals and 17 assists in 22 games.
Brassard is majoring in Business.
Rating the Canucks 2017 draft class
Not every player in a draft class makes the NHL. But how would I rate the Canucks class of 2017?
Pettersson is a big factor in the rating. Rathbone is close to the NHL and DiPietro is still a question mark. The two second-rounders are borderline NHLers but aren’t in the organization while the late-round picks won’t make the NHL.
Benning was praised after the 2017 draft and frankly, out of all the drafts during his tenure 2017 might be the best. It’s not a high bar but it’s something, I guess.
Overall, the 2017 class wasn’t horrible for the Canucks but (other than Pettersson) it isn’t great either. The Canucks 2017 draft class gets a 6/10 from me.
What would your rating be for the 2017 draft for the Canucks? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter.