Well, we're on the outside looking in here, so I might as well start putting some actual thoughts together about this year's actual draft. I've previously written blurbs on 30 prospects and a couple goalies, but let's look at who I think will become the newest Canucks.
It is believed that there is a big drop in skill after the top 4 (Ekblad, Reinhart, Bennett, Dal Colle). It looks as though the players ranked between 5 and 12 are going to end up in range (Ehlers is skyrocketing up the charts, as high as #6 in some scouts opinions); After that all bets are off! That means that there will be a lot of discussions about ‘how far will player x fall’ just like the legendary Cam Fowler watch of 2010.
What You've Told Me
After reviewing the 3 polls that I posted in throughout my series on the February top 30, I think I have an understanding of exactly what we believe to be the target of our first round pick in this year’s draft! We really like big scoring forwards (Virtanen, Ritchie), or smaller highly skilled forwards (Ehlers), or possibly an undersized offensive defenseman (Deangelo). Not exactly as clear as you’d hoped, right? The reality is that each of the groups of players had different ceilings; therefore we weren’t looking for the same attributes out of the groups. I liken this to buying a new car: if you want a Ferrari, but you are looking at Toyota, you cannot expect Ferrari performance. Many of the players mentioned in the 10-30 range are likely to become solid NHLers, and one or two may become stars, but at the moment they aren’t seen that way!
In addition to the selecting of new prospects, there are a lot of other moves that the fan base has been discussing as draft day events. Here’s a small list of things that we’ve discussed: Kesler moves to an Eastern contender; Edler gets fed up with listening to all of the ‘trade Edler’ talk and demands out; We trade up in the draft; Trade down for more assets; Hell, we could win the lottery and have the #1 pick.
What do I think?
I think we will hold on to all of our picks we have already. We are only missing our 4th round pick this year. We gave up this pick in the Welsh/Dalpe deal with Carolina this year. I think we are going to get a pick in a trade and it’s not going to make a lot of fans happy…
We are going to see Kesler bid adieu to Vancouver. If this happens, the return will not be any higher than the alleged Pittsburgh offer of Sutter, Dumoulin, 2014 1st & 2015 3rd. It may not be Pittsburgh, but that’s the value I see the Canucks returning. As fans we often get too attached to a player and believe their value is out of this world when in reality he’s 1 player who was chosen with 1 draft pick to fill 1 position. I understand he’s a former Selke winner who can score, and he’s a beast when he wants to be… BUT he plays physically and puts himself into vulnerable positions by blocking shots and taking the body which eventually could affect his ability to play at his current level. It's not likely that his game deteriorates within the next 2 seasons, but I'd like to see us get more than what we spent on him (2003 23rd overall pick).
Now that we understand how I foresee us obtaining a second selection in the first round, we can look at what I think will go down in Philadelphia on draft day. I’m only going to look at the first 3 rounds because it gets pretty murky beyond the first 3 rounds. That doesn’t lessen the importance of those remaining picks, but I’m not a professional scout and haven’t the time to figure out if the US high school defenseman is better than the Junior A player from Manitoba or how high should we take the overager from Quebec .
1.10 Jake Virtanen F Calgary (WHL) Virtanen is commonly connected to the Canucks; Of the 12 ‘reputable’ mock drafts I have seen, the product of Abbotsford is the choice in 7 of them. Makes sense, right?
1.22(ish) Roland McKeown D Kingston (OHL) McKeown is a good prospect for the back end. In one of the comments in the articles I mentioned that we haven’t had a true blue chip prospect on the back end since the late Luc Bourdon. Problem solved!
2.10 Brendan Lemieux W Barrie (OHL) The spawn of Claude, Brendan is a pain in the ass to play against! No surprise why we draft him, and he looks great in a Canucks jersey in 3 or 4 years as the next AMFB. I watched 5 or 6 of his fights online, and I couldn't find one when he won... BUT he does use some sweet wrestling moves in his fights. He has represented Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, so he does have some offensive abilities as well.
3.10 Blake Weyrick G USNDT (USHL) We didn’t draft a goaltender last year, so I’m certain we need to this year. I think the risk is minimal because of the theoretical lack of overall depth in the draft class. There are videos of Weyrick's play, but they take a real commitment because of their length. Here's a video of him rehabbing in an off-ice drill with Movement Science Physical Therapy & Fitness in LA.
That's how I see the 2014 Entry Draft playing out. What do you see?