Mock Draft has Canucks doing surprisingly well with their 3rd round pick

The Vancouver Canucks don't pick until the third round of this year's draft, but will do well in getting Nathan Villeneuve based on the results of a mock draft.
Sudbury Wolves v Oshawa Generals
Sudbury Wolves v Oshawa Generals / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

Even as the Stanley Cup Final continues (at least for one more game anyway), the Vancouver Canucks move ever closer to this year's NHL entry draft. In fact we're now less than two weeks away, with it scheduled to take place on June 28-29 in Las Vegas.

You can potentially make the case that this year's draft is not as significant as usual for the Canucks and their fans. They have just five selections overall, with their first pick not coming until the third round.

However, this can be countered by the argument that so few selections only makes each pick that much more important, particularly the Canucks' third rounder. As much as the odds decrease of a player being successful as you navigate through the rounds, you just never know.

In this respect, it leads to the question of who the Canucks might take in the third round this year, with the 93rd overall draft pick? Well, mock draft results have them taking a player they would -- theoretically at least -- be pleasantly surprised to still see available.

With the 93rd pick, the Canucks take ...

More specifically, the mock simulation draft which includes up-to-date rankings for prospects, has the Canucks selecting Nathan Villeneuve. Born in Ottawa, he is coming off his second season in the OHL, with the Sudbury Wolves.

To provide some context on how well the Canucks would do to get Villeneuve, consider that he has been ranked 71st by TSN's Bob McKenzie. In addition, he has been ranked 64th by Draft Prospects Hockey and 84th by Elite Prospects, who provided all of this information and more.

In terms of the various scouting reports on Villeneuve, what is continually mentioned is his energy, hard shot, physicality and defensive game as a two-way forward. Reference is also made to his high hockey IQ and general awareness of what's happening on the ice.

The 18-year-old had an excellent 2023-24 campaign for the Wolves, with 50 points (23 goals and 27 assists) and a +10 rating in 56 regular season games. However, it could have been even better for him.

Off-ice controversy for Villeneuve

As per CBC, Villeneuve was suspended for 15 games due to violating the OHL's social media policy. It came about as a result of inappropriate, game-related comments shared on a Wolves group between players.

Upon appeal it was ruled the centre could return for the playoffs, but the incident impacted the reputation of the team generally and the player specifically. (Teammate Evan Konyen was also suspended for 10 games, which was subsequently reduced to six games.) However, as much as the situation may well play a part in decreasing his stock value, it shouldn't keep the Canucks away from him if they get the chance.

While not excusing what Villeneuve did, the reality is he's only a teenager. Let's be honest, who among us hasn't made mistakes during our youth? (And probably mostly gotten away with it, away from the increased scrutiny which comes with being a part of organised sports.)

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Villeneuve will have learned from the incident and, just like everyone else, deserves the opportunity to prove himself and show he has grown from the adversity. Overall, if he is still available with the 93rd pick, the Canucks would do well to snap him up.

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