Are the Vancouver Canucks content with picking at 15th and 80th overall during the first three rounds of the NHL Draft? Because that’s what they’re looking at with their current selections and without having a 2nd-rounder.
First year Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford and General Manager Patrik Allvin won’t be making a splash in the trade market simply to make one and excite Vancouver Canucks fans, they’ll be making one as part of a pragmatic plan to improve their hockey club, and part of that could involve moving up in the draft.
Unless he’s asking way too much for it, expect New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald to move the 2nd overall pick. The team is loaded up front, particularly with young centres like Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, and young forward talent is what the top-end of this draft has to offer. ‘Fitzy’ needs some veteran leadership, some sandpaper, and some help on the back-end and in goal.
He made it clear weeks ago that the pick was available.
Do the Canucks want it? Sure they do, who wouldn’t, but do they have the goods to make it happen? The competition will be thick, and just how much is Fitzgerald asking in exchange for OHL centre Shane Wright or Slovakian forward Juraj Slafkovsky, projected to go first and second. One would think plenty.
If the Canucks dealt the Devils JT Miller and the 15th-overall pick, they’d be getting a dozen years younger up front. Which means they’d have to include something and/or someone else New Jersey found desirable. Would it mean giving up Conor Garland? Nils Höglander? The Devils have the salary cap space for Garland, who brings the qualities they desire, while Höglander at this point probably doesn’t.
Garland’s grind is desirable but a defenceman would be New Jersey’s other priority and the Canucks aren’t exactly laden with prospects there.
Of course, New Jersey could draft one, but that involves waiting for development.
The same could be said for the Vancouver Canucks tossing in American Hockey League goalie Michael DiPietro. The Devils need help in net immediately, not later. Injuries forced them to try seven goalies last season and they weren’t too crazy about most of them. DiPietro at this point would just be another prospect in the pack.
It’s probably more likely the Canucks make a lesser trade in the draft sequence to move up and grab a specific defenceman they desire, or they could move Miller in exchange for some ‘D’ help outside of the selections. They’ve made it clear they’re not in a hurry to sign Miller to an extension.
It’s NHL Draft day in 48 hours with the festivities beginning in Montreal on Thursday evening. Something’s gonna give and the Vancouver Canucks are gonna be a part of it.