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2015 Draft Mid-Term Preview - Defensemen

BanTSN

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Since the Canucks are very likely looking at drafting a defenseman in the 1st round of 2015 NHL entry draft, I figured it was appropiate to look at some past trends of drafts so we can learn which types of prospects succeed and which fail.

Here's a look at trends from some past 1st round defense draft choices. I chose years 2007-2009 as a sample size because by now their career paths are established. (Sorry, no pretty charts) (year, junior league, drafted at, size, draft year production, projection, current status):

2007

Thomas Hickey WHL: 4th overall (LA went well off board), 5'-11" 180lbs, 68gp 9g 41a 50pts.

- Production good, speed good, size and shot not good. Projected as a power play quarterback. Busted.

Karl Alzner WHL: 5th overall, 6'-2" 210lbs, 63gp 8g 39a 47pts.

- Production good, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projected as a shutdown defenseman. Success.

Keaton Ellerby WHL: 10th overall, 6'-4" 190lbs, 69gp 2g 23a 25pts 120pim.

- Production poor, speed okay, size okay (lanky), shot poor. Projected as tough top-4 defenseman. Busted.

Ryan McDonagh USHS: 12th overall, 6-1" 200lbs, 23gp 10g 23a 33pts.

- Production good, speed good, size good, shot good. Projected as two-way defenseman. Success.

Kevin Shattenkirk USDP: 14th overall, 5'-11" 195lbs, 57gp 13g 27a 40pts.

- Production good, speed good, size good, shot good. Projected as offensive defenseman. Success.

Alex Plante WHL: 15th overall, 6'-3" 210lbs, 58gp 8g 30a 38pts 81pims.

- Production okay, speed poor, size good, shot okay. Projected as tough top-4 defenseman. Busted.

Ian Cole USDP: 18th overall, 6'-1" 200lbs, 58gp 8g 18a 26pts

- Production poor, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projected as two-way defenseman. Is now 3rd pairing defenseman on a deep team.

Jonathon Blum WHL: 23rd overall, 6'-1" 180lbs, 72gp 8g 43pts 51pts

- Production good, speed good, size poor, shot okay. Projected as power play quarterback. Busted.

Brendan Smith OPJHL: 27th overall, 6'-2" 190lbs, 39gp 12g 24a 36pts

- Production good, size good, shot good. Projected as long-term offensive defenseman. Offense not realized, but NHL career is there.

Nick Petrecki USHL: 28th overall, 6'-3" 220lbs, 54gp 11g 14a 25pts 177pims.

- Production poor, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projected as tough defenseman. Busted.

Nick Ross WHL: 30th overall, 6'-1" 190lbs, 70gp 7g 24a 31pts 87pims.

- Production poor, speed okay, size okay, shot poor. Projected as long-term tough defenseman. Busted.

2008

Drew Doughty OHL: 2nd overall, 6'-1" 200lbs, 58gp 13g 37a 50pts.

- Production excellent, playoff production excellent, speed good, size good, shot good. Projected as top-pairing 2-way defenseman. Success.

Zach Bogosian OHL: 3rd overall, 6'-3" 190lbs, 61gp 11g 60a 61pts.

- Production excellent, playoff production poor, speed okay, size okay (lanky), shot okay. Projected as top-pairing defenseman. Success.

Alex Pietrangelo OHL: 4th overall, 6'-3" 200lbs, 60gp 13g 40a 53pts.

-Production excellent, playoff production excellent, speed good, size good, shot good. Projected as top-pairing defenseman. Success.

Luke Schenn WHL: 5th overall, 6'-2" 210lbs, 57gp 7g 21a 28pts 100pims.

- Production poor, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projected as tough top-4 defenseman. NHL career disappointing.

Tyler Myers WHL: 12th overall, 6'-8" 200lbs, 65gp 6g 13a 19pts 97pims.

- Production poor, speed okay, size okay (really lanky), shot okay. Projected as offensive defenseman. NHL career disappointing.

Colten Teubert WHL: 13th overall, 6'-4" 190lbs, 66gp 7g 16a 23pts 135pims.

- Production poor, speed poor, size okay (lanky), shot okay. Projected as tough defenseman. Bust.

Erik Karlsson SEL: 15th overall, 6'-0" 175lbs, 38gp 13g 24a 37pts

- Production excellent, playoff production poor, tournament production excellent, speed good, size poor, shot excellent. Projected as offensive defenseman. Success.

Jake Gardiner USHS: 17th overall, 6'-2" 180lbs, 36gp 24g 34a 58pts

- Production excellent, speed good, size poor, shot good. Projected as offensive defenseman. Success.

Luca Sbisa WHL: 19th overall, 6'-2" 185lbs, 62gp 6g 27a 33pts 63pims.

-Production poor, speed okay, size okay, shot okay. Projected as offensive defenseman. NHL career disappointing.

Michael Del Zotto OHL: 24th overall, 6'-0" 180lbs, 64gp 16g 47a 63pts

- Production excellent, playoff production poor, speed okay, size poor, shot good. Projected as offensive defenseman. NHL career disappointing.

Tyler Cuma OHL: 23rd overall, 6'-2" 180lbs, 59gp 4g 28a 32pts 69pims.

- Production okay, speed okay, size poor, shot poor. Projected as long-term offensive defenseman. Bust.

John Carlson USHS: 27th overall, 6'-3" 200lbs, 59gp 12g 31a 43pts.

- Production good, speed good, size good, shot good. Projected as two-way defenseman. Success.

2009

Victor Hedman SEL: 2nd overall, 6'-6" 220lbs, 43gp 7g 14a 21pts.

- Production good, speed good, size excellent, shot good. Projected as #1 defenseman. Success.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson SEL: 6th overall, 6'-2" 190lbs, 39gp 3g 14a 17pts.

- Production good, speed good, size okay, shot good. Projected as #1 defenseman. Success.

Jared Cowen WHL: 9th overall, 6'-5" 220lbs, 48gp 7g 14a 21pts

- Production okay, speed okay, size excellent, shot okay. Projected as a defensive defenseman. Success.

Ryan Ellis OHL: 11th overall, 5'-10" 170lbs, 57gp 22g 67a 89pts.

- Production excellent, speed okay, size poor, shot okay. Projected as long-term power play quarterback. NHL career disappointing.

Calvin De Haan OHL: 12th overall, 6'-1" 180lbs, 68gp 8g 55a 63pts.

- Production excellent, speed okay, size poor, shot okay. Projected as long-term power play quarterback. NHL career disappointing.

Dmitri Kulikov QMJHL: 14th overall, 6'-1" 190lbs, 57gp 12g 50a 62pts

- Production good, speed good, size okay, shot okay. Projected as offensive defenseman. NHL career okay.

Nick Leddy USHS: 16th overall, 5'-11" 180lbs, 55gp 21g 44a 65pts

- Production excellent, speed good, size poor, shot okay. Projected as long-term offensive defenseman. NHL career okay.

David Rundblad SEL: 17th overall, 6'-1" 180lbs, 45gp 0g 10a 10pts

- Production okay, speed okay, size poor, shot poor. Projected as long-term offensive defenseman. Bust.

John Moore USHL: 21st overall, 6'-3" 200lbs, 57gp 14g 25a 39pts

- Production okay, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projected as long-term 2-way defenseman.

NHL career okay as defensive defenseman.

Tim Erixon SEL: 23rd overall, 6'-3" 190lbs, 45gp 2g 5a 7pts

- Production poor, speed okay, size okay (lanky), shot poor. Projected as long-term offensive defenseman. Bust.

Dylan Olsen AJHL: 28th overall, 6'-2" 210lbs, 53gp 10g 19a 29pts 123pims

- Production okay, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projected as long-term tough defenseman. NHL career okay as 3rd pair type.

Simon Despres QMJHL: 30th overall, 6'-3" 200lbs, 66gp 2g 30a 32pts 74pims

- Production poor, speed okay, size good, shot poor. Projected as long-term offensive defenseman. NHL career disappointing. Okay now as reinvented tough defenseman.

So what can we learn here?

First off, PRODUCTION is the name of the game. If a defenseman cannot produce significant numbers as a drafted prospect, then his NHL upside is limited. You can see time and time again above that the poor production players go onto disappointing NHL careers. They were drafted for their size likely, but if that size doesn't come with offensive skill, then the bust potential is high.

Not to discredit the classic defensive defensemen, but ones of equal overall ability are often found in later rounds. So it makes little sense to burn a good 1st round draftpick on one. Especially if he has a high amount of pims. He may turn out to be a goon, not a top-4 type.

Secondly, after production, SIZE is of vital importance for defensemen. You want at least 190lbs at 17rs old, preferably 200lbs. If you're not getting that, then you're taking a risk. The smaller the defenseman, the bigger the risk. Without size, they run the chance of being destroyed by opposing forwards night after night. If they are undersized, such as Karlsson was, then you had better make sure their offensive production is elite and their defensive ability is above 'liability' level. Karlsson isn't a defensive defenseman by any stretch, but his offensive output more than makes up for it. That's why he was a better choice than bigger guys Colten Teubert or Luke Schenn, who could only dream of Karlsson's offensive ability.

If an undersized prospect has only an average-to-good offensive ability, then be prepared for a high chance of busting. Enter Thomas Hickey. I'm not sure what LA saw in that prospect, but he was clearly undersized and not good enough with the puck to justify an off-the-board 4th overall pick. However, 2007 wasn't anywhere close to 2008 in defensive depth. They made up for the Hickey pick by selecting Drew Doughty the year after.

Note about expected prospect growth: Considering defensemen being drafted in the 1st round are pretty much physically developed already, and are capable of growing 10lbs on average without losing significant skating ability, please lose the notion that plainly undersized defenseman can somehow grow into fully developed NHL players. Jordan Subban for example, is 5'-9" 185lbs. This will be his max height and weight, and that is clearly undersized. While his draft-year production was good, shot was good, speed okay, this ability doesn't overcome his lack of ability without the puck. He projects to be a long-term offensive defenseman or power play quarterback, but will very likely bust, as we've seen various slightly larger 1st rounders noted above go through the same career path. As a 4th rounder like Subban though, who cares. But I think it needs to be understood that getting excited about this prospect as anything but a project is a misplacement of excitement. Thank you.

Third, when looking at offensive output, consider the junior league they're doing it in.

The OHL is considered the 'can't miss' league when it comes to offensive transferability. When a solidly-built defenseman does very well offensively there, chances are he will go on to a decent NHL career. (Hamilton, Fowler)

The WHL is more known for the tough shutdown-type overall, but can turn out HOFers like Scott Niedermayer as well.

The USDP will turn up some gems, as seen here: http://forum.canucks.com/topic/366175-proposal-start-taking-a-look-at-the-us-national-development-team-at-the-draft-more/ And they're getting better by the year.

The SEL will have it's good and not-so-good years, but there have been some obvious greats to be had. The question is largely about transferability. Most solid-built defensemen can do it easily. Undersized ones have a tougher go, as expected.

The QMJHL has been a fairly disappointing junior league when it comes to developing defensemen, and hasn't turned out many top-notch 1st rounders in recent years. It's improving by the year though, but still there is this factor that the style of play in the Q basically breeds bad defensive habits and promotes wide-open offense that doesn't transfer well to the NHL. You shouldn't ignore the league entirely, of course, but just perhaps select them in later rounds. Such as the Penguins did with 3rd rounder Kris Letang, who to this day is still a defensive wildcard, but has a great offensive ability.

The KHL likes to keep their own prospects around as much as possible. This will add significant risk to any draft pick selected from that league. If you're going there, you better make sure he's an absolute NHLer. For example, our own Kirill Koltzov was an undersized offensive defenseman who had a cannon of shot, but not much else in terms of NHL-level skill. There was a low probability that he'd make it in the NHL and probably was not worth a 2nd round selection. At least not compared to... Duncan Keith!!! For the defensemen below, I'm ignoring the KHL risk and assuming some guys will come over. This is hardly a guarantee.

Slovak, Czech, Finn leagues present a few sturdy prospects that are hard to miss as long as you're looking. A lot make the jump to better SHL or NA leagues, making it easier for modern scouts to keep track of them.

So without further ado, I present to you the top 2015 draft prospects for consideration, using the trends, information and notes from above. Keep in mind that this is the mid-term. Rankings can change down the stretch and especially after the playoffs.

2015 Defenseman Draft Prosects

Noah Hanifin Boston College: 6'-2" 205lbs, 23gp 3g 11a 14pts

- production excellent (being at college level already is almost unheard of), speed excellent, size good, shot good. Projects as #1 defenseman.

Zach Werenski Univ. of Michigan: 6'-2" 214lbs, 18gp 3g 12a 15pts

- production excellent, speed good, size good, shot good. Projects as two-way defenseman.

Rasmus Andersson OHL: 6'-0" 209lbs, 42gp 8g 32a 40pts

- production excellent, speed good, size good, shot good. Projects as two-way defenseman.

Ivan Provorov WHL: 6'-0" 201lbs, 40gp 11g 30a 41pts

- production excellent, speed good, size good, shot good. Projects as offensive defenseman.

Ryan Pilon WHL: 6'-2" 212lbs, 42gp 7g 29a 36pts

- production excellent, speed good, size good, shot good. Projects as two-way defenseman.

Oliver Kylington: 6'-0" 174lbs, 17gp 2g 3a 5pts

- production okay, speed good, size poor, shot okay. Projects as long-term two-way defenseman.

Jeremy Roy QMJHL: 6'-0" 183lbs, 40gp 5g 34a 39pts

- production excellent, speed good, size poor, shot okay. Projects as offensive defenseman.

Yegor Rykov MHL: 6'-2" 192lbs, 26gp, 5g 7a 12pts

- production good, speed good, size good, shot good. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Noah Juulsen WHL: 6'-1" 181lbs 44gp 5g 27a 32pts

- production good, speed good, size okay, shot okay. Projects as long-term two-way defenseman.

Matt Spencer OHL: 6'-2" 194lbs, 41gp 5g 18a 23pts

- production okay, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projects as long-term two-way defenseman.

Nicolas Meloche QMJHL: 6'-2" 198lbs, 44gp 10g 24a 34pts 99pims

- production good, speed okay, size good, shot good. Projects to be long-term two-way defenseman, or tough defenseman.

Vladislav Gavrikov KHL: 6'-2" 205lbs, 7gp 0g 1a 1pt

- production poor, speed good, size good, shot okay. Projects to be long-term defensive defenseman.

Mitchell Vande Sompel OHL: 5'-10" 181lbs, 36gp 6g 34a 40pts

- production excellent, speed good, size poor, shot okay. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Jakub Zboril QMJHL: 6'-2" 185lbs, 33gp 8g 14a 22pts

- production good, speed good, size poor, shot good. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Thomas Chabot QMJHL: 6'-2" 179lbs, 44gp 8g 19a 27pts

- production okay, speed good, size poor, shot good. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Brandon Carlo WHL: 6'-5" 185lbs, 41gp 3g 17a 20pts

- production poor, speed good, size okay (really lanky), shot poor. Projects as long-term defensive defenseman.

Erik Cernak Slovakia: 6'-3" 203lbs, 29gp 4g 2a 6pts

-production poor, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projects as long-term defensive defenseman.

Gabriel Carlsson SuperElit: 6'-4" 183lbs 27gp 0g 4a 4pts

- production poor, speed okay, size okay (really lanky), shot poor. Projects as long-term defensive defenseman.

Jacob Larsson SHL: 6'-2" 181lbs, 8gp 0g 1a 1pt

- production poor, speed okay, size okay, shot poor, Projects as long-term defensive defenseman.

Sebastian Aho SHL: 5'-10" 174lbs, 29gp 0g 4a 4pts

- production poor, speed good, size poor, shot okay. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Stephen Desrocher OHL: 6'-3" 187lbs, 43gp 8g 12a 20pts

- production okay, speed okay, size good, shot good. Projects as long-term two-way defenseman.

Caleb Jones USDP: 6'-0" 194lbs, 34gp 2g 9a 11pts

- production okay, speed okay, size good, shot poor. Projects as defensive defenseman.

Jacob Olson USHS: 6'-3" 209lbs, 12gp 6g 10a 16pts 20pims

- production good, speed good, size good, shot good. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Ethan Bear WHL: 6'-0" 203lbs, 41gp 9g 18a 27pts

- production good, speed okay, size good, shot good. Projects as long-term two-way defenseman.

Dennis Gilbert USHL: 6'-2" 194lbs, 33gp 3g 14a 17pts 52pims

- production good, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projects as long-term two-way or defensive defenseman.

Keoni Texeira WHL: 6'-0" 194lbs, 46gp 4g 14a 18pts

- production poor, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projects as long-term two-way defenseman.

Jack Sadek USHS: 6'-3" 185lbs, 25gp 4g 9a 13pts (last season stats, this season na)

- production okay, speed okay, size okay, shot okay. Projects as long-term two-way defenseman.

Travis Dermott OHL: 5'-11" 181lbs, 37gp 5g 24a 29pts

- production good, speed good, size okay, shot okay. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

John Marino USPHL: 6'-2" 181lbs, 34gp 4g 18a 22pts

- production good, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projects as long-term two-way defenseman.

Lucas Carlsson SEL: 6'-0" 183lbs, 15gp 0g 1a

- production poor, speed okay, size okay, shot okay. Projects as long-term two-way defenseman.

Gustav Bouramman OHL: 6'-0" 176lbs, 45gp 5g 25a 30pts

- production good, speed good, size poor, shot okay. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Vince Dunn OHL: 6'-0" 185lbs: 44gp 7g 18a 25pts

- production okay, speed okay, size okay, shot okay. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Casey Fitzgerald USDP: 5'-11" 185lbs, 27gp 4g 9a 13pts 45pims

- production poor, speed okay, size poor, shot okay. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Alexandre Carrier QMJHL: 5'-11" 181lbs, 47gp 6g 32a 38pts

- production good, speed okay, size okay, shot okay. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Jesper Lindgren SHL: 6'-0" 161lbs, 4gp 0g 1a 1pt

- production okay, speed good, size very poor, shot okay. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Joseph Cecconi USHL: 6'-2" 205lbs, 35gp 2g 8a 10pts.

- production poor, speed okay, size good, shot poor. Projects as long-term defensive defenseman.

Guillame Brisebois QMJHL: 6'-2" 172lbs, 45gp 3g 18a 21pts

- production poor, speed good, size poor, shot poor. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Parker Wotherspoon WHL: 6'-0" 170lbs, 46gp 8g 17a 25pts

- production poor, speed good, size poor, shot good. Projects as long-term offensive defenseman.

Andrew Nielsen WHL: 6'-3" 209lbs, 34gp 4g 12a 16pts 76pims

- production poor, speed okay, size good, shot okay. Projects as tough defenseman.

*by long-term defenseman, I mean it's going to take years for his upside to come to fruition, if it happens.


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21 Comments


Hahah I like this.

One thing I would change:
Luca Sbisa - NHL Career: franchise changer, absolute superstar.

kidding.

one more thing, if Ivan Provorov has good size, then Jeremy Roy has good size. They literally are neck and neck..

one more thing, add loik leveille

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20lbs difference isn't neck and neck.

I'm not sure about doing this for centers when we have so many centers in the pool already with similar upside to that of the ones in this draft outside of McDavid and Eichel. McCann, Horvat, and Cassels are all potential top-6 NHLers.

A quick preview shows that Dylan Strome has a skating deficiency and Erie is inflating his stats. Mitchell Marner is actually a RW, a teeny tiny one, and London is inflating his stats. Mikko Rantanen is also a RW who likes to play on his off-wing, and may not develop offensively as a center. Barzal, as said elsewhere, hasn't done enough to prove his #1c capacity and while he's back from his knee injury, his return so far is 0pts -5 in 2gp. Merkley is pretty much a #2 center. Kyle Connor is a #2 LW. Konecny a #2 RW. Chlapik got levelled by Konecny, who's 172lbs, and is developing some bad head-down habits.

Beyond McDavid and Eichel, there is no saviour-level center in this draft.

It only makes sense for the Canucks to use their 2015 1st on a defenseman unless McDavid and Eichel become available. I'd be happy with either.

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I don't usually read blogs, but this was a good read. I have a few questions.

Who do you want the Canucks to draft?

Who do you think the Canucks will draft?

Is Hanifin a better prospect than Ekblad was last year?

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20lbs difference isn't neck and neck.

I'm not sure about doing this for centers when we have so many centers in the pool already with similar upside to that of the ones in this draft outside of McDavid and Eichel. McCann, Horvat, and Cassels are all potential top-6 NHLers.

A quick preview shows that Dylan Strome has a skating deficiency and Erie is inflating his stats. Mitchell Marner is actually a RW, a teeny tiny one, and London is inflating his stats. Mikko Rantanen is also a RW who likes to play on his off-wing, and may not develop offensively as a center. Barzal, as said elsewhere, hasn't done enough to prove his #1c capacity and while he's back from his knee injury, his return so far is 0pts -5 in 2gp. Merkley is pretty much a #2 center. Kyle Connor is a #2 LW. Konecny a #2 RW. Chlapik got levelled by Konecny, who's 172lbs, and is developing some bad head-down habits.

Beyond McDavid and Eichel, there is no saviour-level center in this draft.

It only makes sense for the Canucks to use their 2015 1st on a defenseman unless McDavid and Eichel become available. I'd be happy with either.

Strome has put up 11 points in 5 games at the U17s, 143 points in 60 games in the GTMMHL and he was 4th in scoring (1 point behind leader) at the Ivan Hlinka for Canada. He produced over PPG even when McDavid was out.

Marner is leading the OHL in scoring, no one is inflating his scoring and Barzal has only played 2 games since coming back.

I agree that I would like them to draft a defenceman though.

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Dylan Strome? Dane Fox. If skating is a notable concern, then teams should be careful, that's all.

Marner is definitely being helped out by London's forwards. Dvorak has almost as many points, Domi just as many ppg as him, as well as McCarron before he was ousted. These other guys have allowed Marner to rack up the points from the outside as a playmaking RW.

Barzal needs to pick it up soon.

I'll save my picks for this team until after the prospect seasons/tourneys/playoffs are over and we know where we're at in the draft. They should definitely pick up a defenseman considering their defense pool is pretty thin.

Hanifin looks faster than Ekblad, Ekblad bigger and better shot. Fairly different player type. Better? Since Ekblad has stepped in right away and looks great, it'll be a tough act to follow.

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Thanks again for the post about the Centers. I am not a fan of drafting Dmen in the first round, unless they are dynamic point producers. We obviously need two of them.

You can get a good dman in any round, but a great scorer or setup man seems to be what everyone values the highest. Will be an interesting draft for sure. :)

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You can get a good defenseman in any round just like you can get a good forward or defenseman in any round. It's just that in the first round the odds of getting that good player are much better.

The Canucks haven't drafted a 1st round defenseman since Luc Bourdon, RIP, a long-term offensive defenseman from the Q with good speed and okay shot but some decision-making problems and an unknown offensive upside.

Their other attempts include:

Bryan Allen, a big long-term defensive/tough defenseman with limited offensive potential.

Brad Ference, a WHL toughguy with limited offensive potential, passing on Marian Hossa, and Scott Hannan, who was a better defenseman prospect from the WHL at the time.

The immortal Mattias Ohlund, who the Canucks almost lost for nothing due to cheapness, went on to anchor this team's blueline for a decade.

Mike Wilson, another big and strong defenseman with limited offensive potential, passing on Saku Koivu and Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison, as well as Bryan McCabe, who was a far better option on defense at the time.

Jason Herter, college player who fell in the draft, a seemingly disinterested bust. Passing on Bobby Holik, Adam Foote and a slew of players that at least had some sort of transferable resume and a much better attitude towards the game, let lone the Canucks.

J.J. Daigneault, who showed up at the draft with crutches, didn't have a horrible career, but not worth passing on Gary Roberts for.

Michel Petit

The great Garth Butcher, who you're probably familiar with. (We passed on Al MacInnis)

Rick Lanz

Bob Dailey

Jocelyn Guevremont

And of course Dale Tallon, who started it all off for us way back in 1970.

Considering Matthias Ohlund, a highly scouted, can't-miss big, mobile, do everything guy is the best defenseman we've ever had, and considering all the talent we've missed out on in years past, I think it's alright to select a defenseman in the first round. The Canucks have A LOT of work to do to make up for their draft follies of the past, that's for sure. So I hope they pick the right one this time.

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I think the one Dman this year, who is a can't miss is Hanifin. Unless we trade up to third, we are gambling on a franchise Dman or a bust.

I know I wanted Staal over Bourdon, and we still passed on Kopitar that year.

Ultimately I want us to draft a player, who is passionate about winning and can put up points, regardless of his position.

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I think we could use any one of the defensemen near the top of that list more than we could use a redundant scoring prospect. This year is comparable to 2008 with defensemen.

Just look at this team when Bieksa or Hamhuis goes down. They have a hard time leaving the zone. And both guys are upcoming UFA's. If we can replace one of them right away in this draft, we need to do it.

If we can somehow add another decent 2015 pick, I think we need to do that too.

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There usually seems to be decent Dmen on the UFA market. Rarely see top end scoring.

I believe its best to try to draft what you can never get through UFA or trade.

And a top end center or a franchise offensive Dman are those two things. We have never been able to successfully draft the Dman, but have gotten Linden and Henrik Sedin.

Five of the top end Dmen this year are from the Q or the Dub. Risky business if you look at the history of our drafting there.

I agree on adding another 2015 first round pick. However, I never feel scoring is redundant. If we get Tanev resigned, our D will look much better long term. We also need to develop Corrado. These two players are the future on the Canuck's blueline.

We need to draft a future first line center to replace Henrik Sedin. We also need a Dman who can shoot like a Sami Salo. Not sure if any of these will be available when we draft. But I think that is what we need to gamble on.

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The good UFA's, defense or otherwise, tend to sign with contenders, so I think it's good to utilize the draft to suit all pressing team needs, especially during a rebuilding process, like we're currently in. Those good UFA's will come later as the team's drafted core improves and is ready to make a run.

This team urgently needs defense, the offensively-capable defense that this team has inexplicably ignored over the years of futile drafting. If we continue ignoring this need, then we're going to be forever stuck overpaying for the older ex-players of other teams.

Yes, instead we could land a UFA defenseman to extend whatever this phase is the team is currently in, but in a couple seasons that UFA will be gassed and we'd still be without the young core defensemen needed to elevate the team to the next level. How about we just do both, since we need immediate and long-term help on defense?

Since a team is made of various parts, it only makes sense to address all those parts in drafts, not just one. We've ignored defense for far too long. I don't dislike them, but Tanev and Corrado both have very limited offensive potential, so we need to do better than that if we want to assemble a winner.

There is no future 1st line center beyond McDavid and Eichel in this draft. Other teams will likely gamble on some of those other guys, and that's when we can step in and take a very, very good two-way defenseman.

But maybe we can swing McDavid or Eichel still. I'd be fine with that.

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Benning now has the task of building this team how he sees fit. I think he's got some good pieces, but without legitimately addressing the defense he's out of luck when it comes to assembling a winner. Tanev, Corrado, Big Russian Kid, all seem to have not much offensive potential. There's some, but not much. And Subban, Forsling, Hutton are all long-term defensive projects without much defensive ability and so-so offensive potential. There isn't a single bluechip top-4 in the bunch. Since UFA help only helps the stale core as it is now, and trades create holes elsewhere, I think Benning has no choice but to try to build the team through drafting and development.

Now, the Canucks have had a lot of trouble doing this in the past, with a lot of huge mistakes like Herter, Ference, Koltsov, etc. I think they're capable of landing a decent one, hopefully more than one, as soon as this draft. We need at least another Ohlund around, a new Edler, but preferably somebody better, with more offensive potential. Because without that key guy, or guys, in the backend, there's no hope of assembling a winner.

I understand the urgency of replacing the Sedins, but we need to be patient, people. The Sedins are still here and they will be for another 3 years. To me, that's the window Benning has to assemble the key prospects we'll need for the next wave, before sinking low enough in the standings to draft their official, legit replacements. The new franchise-level star center.

It takes longer for defensemen to round out their NHL game. So by the time our new offensive stars are ready to perform in the playoffs, our drafted defense will be tried, tested and proven enough to carry the load.

This selection is only part of what needs to be done to build a winner, of course, but you can't deny that defense is currently the team weakness among the prospects.

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Honestly, what is your opinion of Jakub Zboril?

I don't really see how people can talk about him as a potential first rounder.

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Well just want to say thanks for all your effort and energy, accessing all these Dmen and the Canucks future. Cheers.

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No problem. Hopefully it comes of some use somehow. This draft should be a good one for many teams. Canucks probably won't load up on picks this year, but there will be other drafts too.

Should be interesting to see how these prospects work down the stretch and into their playoffs. Who'll elevate their game?

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I think Hickey, DeHaan, Leddy and Rundblad have been better than you think, and all have a chance to improve yet some more.

Good blog read overall though.

Thanks!

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