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Preparing for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft: Analyzing Needs



The last few drafts have been extremely generous to the Canucks' prospect pool. While Bo Horvat (#9, 2013) has already graduated to the big club, names like Alexandre Grenier (#90, 2011), Brendan Gaunce (#26, 2012), Ben Hutton (#147), Hunter Shinkaruk (#24, 2013), Cole Cassels (#85), Jordan Subban (#115), Jake Virtanen (#6, 2014), Jared McCann (#24), Thatcher Demko (#36), and others are looking to push for spots in the coming years, and have started to show promise already.

The one problem with the list above? Only two (Hutton and Subban) are defenseman, and neither were taken during the first three rounds.

1. The Canucks first and foremost need is a game-changer on defense. With the defensive core growing older and slower, fresh blood is required to keep the team going without having to give up offensive talent. While trading up for Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov, or Zack Werenski may be an option, it is more likely that Jim Benning keeps the 23rd overall pick.

A few blueline options the Canucks' GM could take are:
Thomas Chabot: A reliable two-way defenseman who works hard shift in, shift out.
Jakub Zboril: A pretty complete blue liner who's not afraid to get physical.
Oliver Kylington: An average-sized defenseman with a good shot and good hockey sense.
Vince Dunn: An offensive d-man who does well with puck possession.
Jacob Larsson: Another two-way defender - patterns his game after OEL.

And even a couple more for the later rounds:
Caleb Jones: Seth's little brother is versatile, aggressive, and hard-working. Has a good shot too.
Loik Léveillé: Is a good skater with good eyes, and has some good offense too.

2. The next position the Canucks need to fill is on the Right Wing. Other than the aforementioned Virtanen, Grenier, and Nicklas Jensen (#29, 2011), the Canucks have zero right wing prospect depth. While the Left Wing is stacked with the likes of Shinkaruk, Gaunce, Sven Baertschi and others, the other side is not as blessed.

A few options Benning could take for RW in the 1st round are:
Brock Boeser: Is a natural goal-scorer and has quick release.
Denis Guryanov: A fast player on the right side, Guryanov could be a big scorer in the future.
Christian Fischer: A big, skilled winger with speed and the tools to turn into a power forward. A 1st may be a bit early for him though.

And in the later rounds:
Spencer Smallman: Is a gritty player, has size, and can handle the puck well.
Roope Hintz: Can be both a scorer and a playmaker, and has insane hockey-IQ.

3. Finally, Vancouver could choose to secure their future in net. It's not a terrible situation for the Canucks in net, as they have one or two of Eddie Lack, Jacob Markstrom, and last year's top-ranked goalie Demko in net for the next 15 years. However, if they wanted to, there is a goalie who stands out among the rest:

Ilya Samsonov: This Russian goaltender has size and models his game after Sergei Bobrovsky.

It's not ideal, as there are other needs to be filled first, but it's certainly possible and I'm sure it's something that Canucks fans wouldn't mind a few years down the road.


Recommended Comments

the Goalies in the next two drafts are probably some of the best we are going to see for a while. Sawchenko(late97) and Skinner(late 98) are two players i would target with high picks, IMO they are some of the best Canadian goalies we have seen in a long time. Sawchenko going to get a long look for the WJC squad and Skinner will definitly be turning some heads in the next couple of years. Would much rather have those two than anyone in this draft

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i predict that cederholm is going to be a good stay at home defenseman...in a couple of years...watch for him....

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