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The New Guy (s): Zhukenov and Jasek

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The mysterious Russian and the little known Czech kind of got ignored a bit, what with all the gnashing of teeth and wailing to heaven of the latest goaltender traded ( What is it with us and goalie trades ? ). Let's see what the googles tell us...

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The press at the draft were of course focused on the guys actually there, and that is normal.  Brock Boeser is a good looking American kid that has drawn comparisons to Brett Hull in the past, and Guillaume Brisebois led a bad team ( at 17 ) as a captain in the Q'.

You can talk to those guys, and the stories almost write themselves.  It is a little tougher with the European picks the Canucks made this year.  Hell, typing in Zhukenov's name in Youtube gets you nothing !  But let's see what we can find for you.  Jim Benning supposedly compared Zhukenov to Datsyuk ( no pressure there ) in a scrum, and raised few eyebrows with that.  There is always a sense of mystery with overseas picks, just because of the simple fact you see them less, and have to go on the opinions of others.  Which, we all know, can vary widely.

Dmitry Zhukenov

There will always be debates about a Russian in this market.  We have seen the pinnacle of the excellence in Russian players in Bure and Larionov, and the deep valley that includes Krutov and innumerable picks over the last several GM's that simply stayed and played in the KHL.  We have known the good and the bad when it comes to picking guys that have another lucrative option just by staying at home.  There are too many stories of guys that did not come over, or came and went back, to not give one pause.

But it is not Dmitry's fault those things happened here in the past.  He is certainly an International Man of Mystery though.  Our friends at Canuck Army are usually pretty good at ferreting out info, and Rhys basically throws up his hands here.  His eliteprospects page is here as well.  Their blurb there does describe someone with the same talents, even if he does not use them to the level Pavel has.  It is not the kid's fault someone ( and allegedly the GM as well ) compared him to the best Russian player of his generation, and that is a pretty great compliment to give anyone.  Let's hope he is at least in the ballpark...

The 5'11", 175 lb centre did put up some pretty gaudy numbers at International ( U19, U18, Ivan Hlinka ) tourneys, with 6 goals and 16 points in 16 games.  In addition, at 6 games in the U17 "best on best" level of competition, he had 3 goals and 10 points.

To me, regardless of what kind of info is out there, it comes down to whether you trust the guy making the pick.  SuperScout and his team obviously saw the guy play to pick him.  In the end, if someone is mentioned in the same breath as Datsyuk by anyone, that is good enough for me to take the shot, especially with the 114th pick.  That is a pretty high ceiling.

Lukas Jasek

Our friends at The Army seemed pretty happy with the pick here.

In terms of value, easily Vancouver`s best bang-for-your-buck pick of the draft. Jasek was on our top-45 radar, so great value in the 6th round.

He was ranked higher just about everywhere relative to his 174th overall spot on the big board, and that is always a good sign.  Apart from being good value, it is the style of play, at least as his eliteprospects.com report talks about that excittes me.

A highly intelligent winger that has the ability to produce strong numbers due to his intense style of play. Tenacity and athleticism are well-represented by his slashing style of skating, cutting hard to the net and being able to hold onto the puck for that extra second. Creativity and offensive instincts are coveted assets that Jasek possesses; he exhibits exceptional vision and a sharp, accurate shot. He will need to get stronger to be able to adapt to the harsher physical conditions of the North American game. All-in-all, a speedy offensive predator that looks to impact all aspects of the game, creating energy in waves. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)

There is much to like about that in today's NHL.  Every prospect has to "get stronger" ( and every team has a whole team to help the players do that, nutritionally and athletically) , but you can't teach those abilities, especially the desire to cut to the net without fear.  That is a talent that makes late round picks millionaires down the road.

So, there you go  Jim Benning said he sees "three or four NHLers" from this group ?  With the two talented Euros in that consideration, and with the projected upside for both of them, it is nice to get back into the European pool of talent up front.  Both these guys seem to be in Thomas Gradin's wheelhouse, and I would imagine that he had a decent amount of input on both of them.  You never know when it comes to draft picks, especially farther down the rankings.  But I will trust in the ability of the team to get them over here until I hear otherwise, as it would have been discussed previously before the picks were made, in particular with the Russian.  I hope to see them both over here soon.