So, How DID We Do At The 2014 Draft ?

Mitchell Leff

As the Vancouver hockey fan looked excitedly forward to what Jim Benning, and his scouting acumen would do on Draft day ( s ). We got such an interesting assortment of young talent, all at once, that even the punditry that we often rail against as "unfair" as we #embracethehate , all spoke so positively of his choices and moves. Where's the fun in that ?

The truth is, there seemed to be a story for every one of these picks, as Friday's fireworks gave way to Saturday's restocking of the prospect shelves.

The players, as always, will make the choices for the team as prospect camps, Young Stars, preseason surprises and moves still to be made impacts dramatically change and improve last year's ( hopefully ) benchmarks for ineptitude.

We noted the Medicine Hat connections yesterday, and that familiarity could breed some interesting results along the way.  But aside from Jared McCann, we did not touch on the kids.

So, with the help of Google, Youtube, let's take a look at the haul that had the nattering nabobs almost all predicting that "well, they'll be out of the Top 10 in the Connor McDavid year".  Maybe they realized that, with his moves then, Trader Jim just filled his Cap Wallet for next week while getting better, traded the guy that wanted to go bye, and is doing it all while bringing in a class in the draft that looks like it will reflect well on GMJB's scouting acumen in the future. 18 Million makes it very interesting in the week to come when other teams are up against the Cap.

Predictively speaking, of course.  That is all you can really do in the crapshoot which the Draft can be. What a great bunch of stories in The New Class however :

# 6 overall - Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I assert to you that, while our man tried to get up into the stratosphere of the Draft that would have brought Sam Reinhart home, but was quite happy with the other Local Boy if the deal would not come together.  Mr Benning had everyone guessing so much, while knowing he would get himself a solid young winger either way.  The LW Michael Dal Colle or the "Local Boy" Jake Virtanen on the RW side...( almost everyone was able to predict things in this draft that went so by the book that Bob McKenzie nailed the Top 10 names, and had his list ( slightly out of order here and there ) predict 27 of the first 30 players taken this year. )..either way, the Canucks knew they would get someone who they had scouted and liked who plays exactly like they want to play. Meat and Taters Hockey was the quote, and by the looks of here...that is what we got.

Jake Virtanen looks to be the kind of player who will play the style desired and flourish doing it As a local kid and lifelong Canuck fan, he will be highly motivated to do so as well..  Of course, as this is Vancouver, where discussing a teenagers medical history with strangers in a coffee line is almost a required behaviour, there is "something".  In this case, it is a shoulder injury.  All along the way did their due diligence, and player, management and docs all agree it is something that should not be a problem, but if we did not have something to talk about... Let The Kid Play ? - Probably not in the next year, unless he heals like Deadpool and is able to dazzle at camp.  With a more conservative estimate, it is more likely he will go back to the Hitmen for one more year.  There is always the 10 game thing, if the timing can work out with his medical progression. Boom Or Bust ? - I have Trader Jim's back on this one. Virtanen or Reinhart was always the choice, depending on if Dale Tallon wanted Garrison, it seems. I like who we picked here.  The Local Boy Phenomenon is finally sated for a while. First new local prodigy in 1st Round since cam Neely in 1989. No pressure kid.

#24th overall - Yesterday's mentioned Jared McCann.  A player who is compared to Ryan Kesler, and thus got the welcome one usually reserves for Bieber or Dick Cheney here in LotusLand, at least from the Twitterati.  Even though it was only one quote, it was the #ItIsWhatItIs one, and Canuck Fans have never liked hearing that one. Perhaps we are just a bit sensitive after losing McCann's idol.  He probably would have loved to play with him soon. Crack The Lineup ? - Again, the players make the determination, but this is an NHL shot right here...

...and he will be motivated be a perceived drop down the rankings ( it was a bit of a drop, as Bob had him at #16 ). More Than Likely ? - Well, the kid himself said he needs "one more year of junior," and I think the team might agree.  But I do think he makes the team the year after his one. And hopefully plays like Ryan Kesler as he was making the Early 2000's Canucks team.

Saturday's Child Works Hard For a Living ( actually, Thatcher Demko was born on a Friday, which made him "loving and giving". I was born on the "lucky and happy and good and gay" day myself from that little ditty. )  But I think Thatcher Demko sounds great, and will work hard.

# 36th overall - With their first pick of the Saturday festivities, and two picks after the Flames took a goaltender at #34 ( Mason McDonald , and there were two more taken in the picks just after Demko ) the Canucks took the one that was the Top Ranked Goaltender, but who needs minor hip surgery already ( though he sounds just fine with it here ) That Thatcher Demko is from a hockey hotbed of San Diego differs him from Boston College alum Cory Schneider, but the freshman goalie that dazzled in the last Frozen Four was a player that SuperScoutGM reported he had seen in excess of ten times, living in Boston. He is big, ( 6'4", 192 lbs already ) and always square to the puck like the current Devil's #1 goaltender as well. Here Comes Our Young Goalie Savior Then ? - Well, not right away, he is a sophomore. Sometimes kids come out early, but this is more of a longer term gem. Will He Be Good ? - I love the goaltenders, and this one has quality all over him.  Barring some catastrophic regression, he will be playing in World Juniors for his Home and Native Land as well. But very happy with this pick.

#50th Overall - Which came from Tampa Bay in the Garrison deal, became Linden Vey instead...

#66th Overall - From Russia. Nikita Tryamkin Will Crush You. This was maybe my favorite pick of a day full of them. With their own 3rd round pick the Canucks took a player that may end up comparing to Zdeno Chara in the "Boston Model" that it looks like we are following.  He is massive, at 6'7", and a what has been reported from 228 lbs on his official numbers at NHL.com, to I think I remember 262 lbs from some article I cam across yesterday. He is a Mysterious Russian, who is signed in the KHL in Yekaterinberg for another two years ( but who Botch mentioned in his stories linked to yesterday as a decent possibility of getting finagled over here for training camp ) and can skate like this ( in the only Youtube that comes up when you search his name. ) for his size...

#Yowza ! Play Him NOw ! - We will see if he gets over here for the next camp, but if Trader Jim thought a guy like him was worthy of such a high pick, I am excited.  They would have scouted him a lot, and the kid was a big part of the 2013-2014 Russian World Junior Team as well. More Than Likely ? - Who knows, actually. KHL teams and this situation can be weird, but the player usually gets what he wants, and if he wants to get over here sooner than later, so much the better.  He is technically 20 years old, and farther along developmentally. Just depends on how badly he wants the NHL, and how soon.

#96th Overall - Epic Deep Cover Troll there Hurricanes.  With the Canucks missing # 96 from the portfolio, as it was part of the Zac Dalpe / Jeremy Welsh haul from the Carolina team, it opened the door for them to turn the knife in on that trade that seems to echo through Canuck history forever.  They took Glen Wesley's son Josh. The father was the guy that was picked with the draft pick thrown into the Cam Neely trade.

126th Overall - After long time Swedish Scout Thomas Gradin had pushed for Nylander ( who went to the Leafs two picks after Virtanen ) right up until the end, The Triumvirate decided to listen to the Canuck lifer and picked Gustav Forsling in the 5th round.  He was the 25th best Euro according to Central Scouting's last list before the draft, and is an offensive defenseman. He is 5'11", and a sturdy 176 already ( projects well for a guy his size at his age ). I like what Canucks Army dug up from Pronman on the young Swede.  Now Or Later ? - Who knows? Into the pipeline with you son !

156th overall - When you get to the 6th round, it is a lot more of a crap shoot in the NHL. Character is something the scouts make a big deal about.  Read this McKeen's Hockey before the draft story.  Kyle Pettit played on a stacked and loaded Erie Otter team last year, and while 6'4" and 200 lbs, is not thought of as as much of a "banger" as someone his size might.  I LOVE the way the McKeen's staff talk about him as a "definition of a pro" right now. "Welllll? We're Waiting..." - Ease up there Judge Smails.  Im going with McKeen's on this one for now, until I see him with my own eyes going forward.

Plus he's another Ginger, and the turn and smile is pure 1970's cheese. Like him already.  Will be a part of what looks like the Canucks very own ( Gaunce, Fox, etc... ) OHL team developing some chemistry along the way.

186th overall - If there is one player that may actually inspire that Movie Of the Week, it is Mackenzie Stewart. Check out this story from when he first made the Prince Albert Raiders as a 17 year old. Mackenzie was born deaf, and had numerous surgeries at a young age.  He is an A student along the way, and didn't start playing hockey until he was 12 years old.  At 6'3 " and 218 pounds on draft day, is definitely a big boy.  Playing in the rough and tumble WHL in 55 games, he had 5 goals and 4 assists, and 69 PIM. Oh, and check the discrepancy on his size here, though the WHL should be the most accurate, considering he still plays there.( 6'5" and 237 LBS!? )  Growing like a weed ! Will He Make It All The Way ? - I sure hope so.  You never know in that draft position level, but from the looks of things, he has a lot of drive. Maybe it will be enough.

So, there you have it.  There are a couple that we will just have to trust SuperScoutGM on, and a few that look like possible steals.  We get our first look mid September to see them in action. ( not counting the Grouse grind summer prospect testing coming up soon )

Of course, they have to play to get a feel for how GMJB did. Remember, the Penticton Young Stars tourney is September 12 to 15th. Set your internal hockey clocks accordingly.

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