Grading the Vancouver Canucks' five 2024 draft picks

With another NHL draft now in the books, we take a look at each of the five players selected by the Vancouver Canucks.
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Candice Ward/GettyImages
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There wasn't exactly much of a buzz surrounding the Vancouver Canucks entering this year's draft. That's what happens when you don't have a first round pick, traded away to help in the acquisition of Elias Lindholm.

In addition, the Canucks also didn't have a second round pick, after this was moved back in 2022 to help get Riley Stillman. This didn't mean the 2024 draft wasn't still of interest to fans, but it certainly didn't hold as much intrigue.

The question is, how did things end up panning out? We take a look at each of their five draft picks and include comments from Canucks scouting director Todd Harvey, made on the team's official site.

N.B. - Keep in mind our grades take into account factors including talent, projections, intangibles and weaknesses.

Melvin Fernström - Round 3, 93rd overall

Winger - Örebro HK J20 (J20 Nationell) - 6 ft & 187 lbs

In fairness, the drafted started off extremely well for the Canucks, in getting a player generally rated quite a bit higher than 93rd. Via Elite Prospects, Melvin Fernström was ranked 47th by Tony Ferrari of The Hockey News, 58th by TSN's Craig Button and 60th by FC Hockey.

To be clear there were others who placed Fernström closer to his eventual draft position, including the Daily Faceoff on the nose at 93rd and McKeen's Hockey at 97th. Overall though, this was a pick Canucks fans should be encouraged by.

With 63 points (and a +25 rating) in 45 regular season games, the 18-year-old finished third in the Swedish J20 league in scoring. His excellent form continued into the playoffs, with 10 more points (and a +4 rating) in eight games.

Fernström is an equal threat as a goalscorer and setting up teammates. His only real negative is his skating, which understandably impacts his speed and movement, but this is compensated for by an excellent hockey IQ.

Harvey: "He's the kind of kid that has a good brain and you can see it with how he gets to the dirty areas and is very detailed with his approach in the offensive zone."

Grade: B

Riley Patterson - Round 4, 125th overall

Centre - Barrie Colts (OHL) - 6 ft 1 & 193 lbs

Riley Patterson is another player who the Canucks managed to get at a lower position than they were generally ranked in scouting reports. As per Elite Prospects, the Daily Faceoff ranked him 89th, The Hockey News had him at 90th and McKeens Hockey placed him 92nd.

Patterson impressed by immediately settling in during his rookie season in the OHL. He produced 62 points in 68 regular season games, together with another three in six playoff contest.

Although listed as a centre, the 18-year-old also has the versatility to player as a winger. Regardless of the position, he shows a very direct approach when it comes to attacking opposing defencemen.

Interestingly, as with Fernström, Patterson's skating could be better; he at times also displays a lack of patience in key situations, although this should improve through experience and maturity. Overall, his upside has him as a potential bottom-six regular at the NHL level.

Harvey: "His feet just continued to get better, and his board work got better. I'm expecting him to have a big, big year next year."

Grade: C+

Anthony Romani - Round 6, 162nd overall

Winger - North Bay Battalion (OHL) - 6 ft & 179 lbs

Despite being taken lowest/last out of the forwards the Canucks drafted, Anthony Romani is arguably the most intriguing of the trio. Don't be fooled despite the fact he was passed over in last year's draft, and only taken in the sixth round this time around.

As with the two forwards selected by the Canucks before him, Romani went lower than the projections. Again as per Elite Prospects, the Daily Faceoff and McKeen' Hockey ranked him 81st, while TSN's Bob McKenzie had him at 90th.

Now we appreciate even if the 18-year-old was drafted more appropriately, he still would have only been a third round pick. The young man can flat out score, leading the OHL with 58 goals and finishing second overall with 111 points, in 68 games.

Romani can cause damage in any number of ways; he can score from anywhere, is dangerous on the break, and excellent at creating space and setting up others. As per Fernström and Patterson, his skating could be better, but overall, despite being a 50/50 shot at best to make it to the NHL, you can't argue with getting someone of his talent so late in the draft.

Harvey: "Obviously, you got to respect the goal scoring, but I think there's a lot more to his game. He can make plays, and he's learning to play away from the puck and be better defensively."

Grade: C

Parker Alcos - Round 6, 189th overall

Defence - Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) - 6 ft 3 & 174 lbs

There's a bit of understandable sentiment regarding Parker Alcos, given that he's originally from the British Columbia region, born in Port Moody. However, what does he potentially offer to the Canucks?

Unsurprisingly given where he was drafted, there are not as many scouting reports when it comes to Alcos. However, for what it's worth he is yet another player who the Canucks did well to get where they did, with Elite Prospects ranking him 93rd and NHL Central Scouting rating him as the 112th best North American skater.

The 17-year-old has intriguing size linked to a need to fill out still -- which he will -- and surprises people with how mobile he is. The irony in this is that his skating is better as a blue-liner, compared to the three forwards drafting by the Canucks.

At the same time, it's important to note that Alcos has limited offensive potential, with him being all about defence. The likelihood of him making the NHL is slim, but at least the tools at his disposal offer him as good a chance as anyone drafted so low.

Harvey: "We are happy that he was there for us, and our people really liked him. I think next year he's going to have a big year with Edmonton but ... he's got a lot of growth left in his game."

Grade: C-

Basile Sansonnens - Round 7, 221st overall

Defence - Gottéron U20 (U20-Elit) - 6ft 3 & 196 lbs

Last of all, the Canucks took Basile Sansonnens with the fifth to last pick of this year's NHL draft. He is similar to Alcos, in that he's a defenceman with a similar size advantage over others.

However the similarities don't end there, albeit in the sense that Sansonnens is another who does not have much offensive game to speak of. If nothing else, the hope is that he can find a way to improve his puck movement through experience.

Even more so than Alcos, the 17-year-old is all about defence and is extremely committed in this area. He has the durability to log big minutes, which includes spending time on the penalty kill.

Scouting reports on Sansonnens are scarce, save for NHL Central Scouting ranking him 131st among European skaters, via Elite Prospects. Overall though, another player with little chance of making it to the NHL but an excellent pick given where he was drafted.

Harvey: "We saw him at some tournaments we scouted in (his) area. So, we’ve seen him a lot and we liked his raw ability and with some growth, there's a good player there."

Grade: D+

Next. Steven Stamkos' demands are too much for the Canucks. Steven Stamkos' demands are too much for the Canucks. dark

Overall

Generally speaking, the Canucks were in a tough position entering this draft. Aside from their first pick not being until the third round, they only had five selections as a whole.

Despite this, we would contend the Canucks did well with the hand they were dealt (albeit of their own doing). Fernström and Patterson both have intriguing potential with a genuine chance to make it in the NHL, while the other three picks are all excellent when considering when they were drafted.

Grade: C

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