By Scott Rosenhek
Well, that lottery sucked. In the most unlikely of outcomes, the draft order of the top 5 in this year’s entry draft is New Jersey, Philadelphia, Dallas, Colorado and Vancouver. It stings, Canucks fans, that a system that used to help out the worst teams in the league has been altered in a way that the second worse team only has an 11% chance of picking 2nd overall.
The Oilers really ruined drafting in the first round for everyone at the bottom. There has been some discussion that punishing the Oilers for winning 4 first overall picks in 6 seasons should have resulted in restricting the number of 1st overall picks a franchise can win so close together. We all know that the lottery odds and the entire system was altered because of the Oilers. How many more times will I say Oilers in this article? Well, that was the last one.
From a probabilities perspective, it is not surprising the Canucks will have the 5th overall selection, but it’s still disappointing to not get a chance to draft Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier. To be honest, the Canucks deserve either of these players far more than any team in the top 3.
Despite falling to fifth overall, there are still very good players to draft. The silver lining lies in the fact that finishing 28th like the Coyotes would have resulted in drafting 7th overall, so I would much prefer to have the 5th pick. It’s just annoying to say in the modern NHL that you have to finish last to be guaranteed a top 4 pick. The Canucks were not even trying to tank, they were just legitimately bad this past season.
But, I digress. In the next few days, I am going to talk about 5 players that could be available to the Canucks on draft day in my personal order of priority. To give some context as to why I am focusing on these specific players:
Jim Benning is very transparent about who he wants to target, so I am going to base my profiles on this statement. I do need to stress that a few of these players may not be available at 5th overall. However, I have a feeling that there will be more centres available over the defencemen that fit the above description.
Since the Stars and Avalanche have a lot of skill in their forward group and are desperate for help on the back end, it would not surprise me if those teams drafted defencemen. This would leave a selection of possibly the third best centre in the draft, from which there will be much debate.
It would also decrease the likelihood of certain defencemen I will cover, but I still think it is a worthy exercise. Many draftists and scouting projections had Jesse Puljujarvi going to Columbus at 3rd overall last year and that did not happen. There is a lot more variation in the first round from the third pick on, so this year’s entry draft could prove to be very interesting in that sense.