With the Vancouver Canucks leaning on Luke Schenn playing above his pay grade, Tyler Myers being Tyler Myers at $6-million per season, and Travis Dermott still figuring things out while skating on his off-side, it would be a shame for the club not to find a right-shot defenceman on July 7th to draft and develop.
Oh yeah, Tucker Poolman wasn’t the answer.
Don’t make the same mistake Ken Holland made in Detroit during his final draft there as GM when in 2018, with the franchise desperate for blueline development, he took winger Filip Zadina at 6th overall, one pick ahead (!) of Quinn Hughes, who played 40-minutes away in Ann Arbor, and four picks ahead of soon-to-be-stalwart in Edmonton, Evan Bouchard. Ironically, Holland now works for the Oilers.
The pick will go down in NHL Draft history as one that can’t be explained. For then Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning, picking next, it was Christmas in June.
Holland also sat and watched as Adam Boqvist went to Chicago at number-eight and Noah Dobson to the New York Islanders at 12th overall.
By the way, what a co-ink-a-dink, Bouchard, Boqvist and Dobson are all right-handers who will be 22-years-old when the NHL season starts, Bouchard with a year remaining on his entry-level deal, and the latter two being restricted free agents (RFA) without arbitration rights this summer.
Any chance to pull something off for any one of them, Vancouver Canucks? If so, then you can turn your attention to the wingers.
“Take the best, most talented player available,” is always a handy crutch, accurate in many or most situations but definitely not in all. The Vancouver Canucks need to make their pick situational. They shouldn’t be taking a center right now simply because he’s the best player available. They have glaring weaknesses on the back-end and on the wing.
If Vancouver sticks with the 15th overall pick, there is a lefty who can play the right side in that ball park, Pavel Mintyukov of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. Another lefty D-man, Denton Mateychuk of the WHL Moose Jaw Warriors hovers in that draft zone as well. Not ideal.
There’s been chatter of the Canucks trying to trade up to the number-two pick that belongs to the New Jersey Devils to snag Slovakian right wing Juraj Slafkovsky, projected to go second or third overall. Would center Logan Cooley of the USA’s National Team Development Program be too tempting not to take?
Instead, how about target the Seattle Kraken at number-4 overall or the Philadelphia Flyers at number-5, teams that need help pretty much everywhere. It would open the door to the Vancouver Canucks for a clear shot at one of two elite, righty defence prospects, Slovakian Simon Nemec or the Czech Republic’s David Jiricek.
Plenty of scenarios exist to fill a desperate need and the Canucks need to get it done. The same assets they would use to get to the number-2 pick they could use in other ways to find a defenceman.