The Vancouver Canucks need improved depth on the wings and on defence, and unless picking in the top-ten or managing to stumble across a quick-to-develop diamond in the rough, they wouldn’t expect to find immediate help at the NHL Draft. That is indeed the case in 2022.
Maybe the most glaring need in the big show remains the right-side of the D-corps. At this year’s draft the Vancouver Canucks drafted three defenceman, all lefties.
The first one, remarkably, is named Elias Pettersson, taken 80th-overall in the 3rd-round, a big Swedish D-man with a mean streak, an element the franchise could definitely use. The club believes there’s more to him than his physical defensive play.
“I watched him on his club team and he was getting power play time, I actually watched him with a big one-timer with his team, he scored a nice goal,” Vancouver Canucks Director of Amateur Scouting Todd Harvey said. “His puck moving ability, he moves very well. He’s a little bit bigger than I am, some of the (scouting) sheets have him down at that size (6-foot-2) but I think he’s grown the last little while. We look for him to improve his game over there, and obviously if he gets some power play time and get some confidence out of the way, it’s only going to help him down the road when he gets over here.”
Harvey added that Pettersson has competitiveness “in spades” and will put his body on the line to win hockey games.
Although he came in the 6th-round, the Canucks feel they pulled off a bit of a steal by getting USHL’er Jackson Dorrington at 176th-overall. Another 18-year-old listed as 6-foot-2, and about 190 pounds. He spent last season with Des Moines (Iowa) and contributed 11 points in 41 games.
“He’s a guy that our US guys followed and really focused in on and was a good pick for us,” Harvey said. “He’s got some hardness to him. He’s obviously got some things to work on. He’s gotta come with his skating a little bit, but like with any young player, they all have stuff they want to improve.”
In round-7 with their final pick, the Canucks nabbed Russian-born Kirill Kudryavtsev, a somewhat prolific scorer from the blueline with Sault Ste. Marie in the Ontario Hockey League. He had five goals and 34 assists in 68 OHL games after coming to North America last season.
The Vancouver Canucks have added organizational defence depth. Their next task will be to head into free agency season looking for deals or acquisitions that can help the current roster. One gets the feeling a significant trade or two remain imminent.