Let’s Be a GM #8: 2016 NHL Entry Draft

Photo Credit: NHL

By Scott Rosenhek

Let’s Be a GM is a series where I get the chance to put myself in the shoes of Canucks General Manager, Jim Benning. I am going to go through the previous management group’s history in trading, the offseason and at the draft table. Since hindsight is a prevalent factor, any decisions made will be done with ONLY information at the time of a trade, signing or draft selection. With that in mind, there are a few assumptions I will make for this series:

  • The Canucks finish each season with the same place in the standings and the same first round draft position from 2014-2017.
  • Alternate trades will NOT be based on using NHL 18 or any other GM simulators. Instead, I will make my best estimation of what I can get in return for Canucks assets. This will not be perfect and I am very open to feedback on any new trades.
  • Personnel changes in the management group such as scouts, executives, etc. will stay the same.

The 2015-16 NHL season was not kind to the Vancouver Canucks. The team was hurt by injuries and slowly fell into the basement of the league. Unfortunately for the Canucks, the Maple Leafs were doing too good of job at staying in 30th place all season. As the odds would have it, a 28th place finish for the team gave them the 5th overall pick. It’s a shame because Patrik Laine would have been one hell of a consolation prize.

Now, on to my picks. Under my reign as armchair GM, my Canucks have the 5th, 19th, 33rd, 55th, 56th, 64th, 94th, 100th, 122nd, 154th, 171st, 184th, and 194th overall picks.

Round 1, 5th Overall

Jim Benning selects Olli Juolevi, London Knights [OHL], D (2015-16 Stats: 9G, 33A, 42P; 57 games)

I select Clayton Keller, U.S. National Development U18 Team [USDP], C/LW (2015-16 Stats: 37G, 70A, 107P; 62 games)

When Jim Benning selected Olli Juolevi, he faced a lot of criticism. As an aside, the Dallas Stars selected a similar type of defensemen in Miro Heiskanen 3rd overall in 2017 and no one said a thing. Interesting. I think Juolevi was a reasonable pick at the time. However, I don’t think he was the best player available.

Clayton Keller and Matthew Tkachuk fit that description very well. It was hard to choose between the two since Tkachuk is a feisty player that is nearly unstoppable below the hash marks. His skating isn’t the best, but at the time I don’t think this would hold him back since he was destroying the OHL with Mitch Marner and Christian Dvorak.

On the other hand, Clayton Keller reminds me so much of Patrick Kane. His skill level is insane and the numbers he put up were among the best U18 seasons in the history of the U.S. Development Program. He may be small, but his skill level and ceiling is insane. He might be even better than Johnny Gaudreau. I think it would be regrettable to miss out on Clayton Keller.

Round 1, 19th Overall

Jim Benning did not have this selection.

I select Julien Gauthier, Val d’Or Foreurs [QMJHL], RW (2015-16 Stats: 41G, 16A, 57P; 54 games)

Julien Gauthier is a huge power forward in the QMJHL. At 6’4 and 225 pounds, he has a monster frame that still has more to fill in. In his draft year, Gauthier was a goal scorer, beating goaltenders 41 times. There are a couple concerning things about his stat line. He produced 73 points in the previous season and has produced significantly less with 57 points in 2015-16. Also, he has a high goal to assist ratio, which is very reminiscent of the numbers Jake Virtanen produced in his draft year. I still think he has the potential to play a bottom six role, so I am willing to take the chance.

Round 2, 33rd Overall

Jim Benning did not have this selection.

I select Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters [OHL], RW (2015-16 Stats: 24G, 49A, 73P; 67 games)

Taylor Raddysh is another big-bodied forward who has caught my attention. He plays a power game and is more than willing to play to his physical strengths. Raddysh did play on a loaded Erie Otters team with Dylan Strome and Alex Debrincat. Despite that, he seems to be a versatile forward that could be used in various roles in the lineup including the bottom six, second line and special teams.

Round 2, 55th Overall

Jim Benning did not have this selection.

I select Filip Gustavsson, Lulea HF [SHL], G (2015-16 Stats: 2.17 GAA, .910 save %)

It has been two years since the Canucks have drafted a goaltender, so it wouldn’t hurt to add another to the prospect pool. Gustavsson played against grown men in the SHL (the highest tiered hockey league in Sweden). He is the number one ranked goaltender outside of North America.

Round 2, 56th Overall

Jim Benning did not have this selection.

I select Dillon Dube, Kelowna Rockets [WHL], C (2015-16 Stats: 26G, 40A, 66P; 65 games)

Dube is a smaller center that has good playmaking abilities. His stick work is great, but he could work on his skating and shot. Dube is revered as a great penalty killer and projects to a middle six role.

Round 3, 64th Overall

Jim Benning selects Will Lockwood, U.S. National Development U18 Team [USDP], RW (2015-16 Stats: 13G, 20A, 33P; 59 games)

I select Adam Fox, U.S. National Development U18 Team [USDP], D (2015-16 Stats: 9G, 50A, 59P; 64 games)

Will Lockwood is described as an aggressive two-way winger. He throws around his body (sometimes recklessly), but is very responsible in his own, especially on special teams. Some compare his game to Jannik Hansen. However, I feel Adam Fox may be a better player overall because he put up 59 points as a defenseman for the Development Team Program. He is a small, right-shot defender that can control the flow of play in the offensive end and use his intelligence to make great plays.

Round 4, 94th Overall

Jim Benning does not have this selection.

I select Victor Mete, London Knights [OHL], D (2015-16 Stats: 8G, 30A, 38P; 68 games)

Victor Mete is a quick-skating defender with a flair for offense. His counting stats aren’t too impressive, but in the middle rounds, he is worth taking a flyer on.

Round 4, 100th Overall

Jim Benning does not have this selection.

I select Lucas Carlsson, Byrnas IF [SHL], D (2015-16 Stats: 4G, 5A, 9P; 35 games)

Carlsson is a modern defensive defenseman. His transition game is his strength and he does all the little things right without excelling in any particular area. He was fortunate enough to play against men in the SHL, testing his skills against tougher competition.

Round 5, 122nd Overall

Jim Benning does not have this selection.

I select Nolan Stevens, Northeastern University [NCAA], C (2015-16 Stats: 20G, 22A, 42P; 41 games)

Nolan Stevens is entering his third draft. Despite the age difference, producing at a point per game pace is still impressive. He is a large center who battles harder than anyone in front of the net. Injuries kept him from producing like this in his first two years in college, but this was the year to break out.

Round 6, 154th Overall

Jim Benning selects Jakob Stukel, Calgary Hitmen [WHL], RW (2015-16 Stats: 34G, 22A, 56P; 57 games)

I select Jesper Bratt, AIK [Allsvenskan], LW/RW (2015-16 Stats: 8G, 9A, 17P; 48 games)

I prefer Jesper Bratt’s ability to play both wings as well as the experience he has had against a men’s league. He is creative in his puck handling and is a year younger than Stukel.

Round 6, 171st Overall

Jim Benning does not have this selection.

I select David Quenneville, Medicine Hat Tigers [WHL], D (2015-16 Stats: 14G, 41A, 55P; 64 games)

I think I’m seeing a pattern here. Quenneville is another right-shot, playmaking star of a defenseman. How could he possibly fall this far in the draft? He is 5-foot-8. For almost every other team in the NHL this is a deal breaker, but this is precisely what late round picks are meant for. Quenneville may be short, but he does not play small. I don’t think his stature should affect him since his skill is on another level.

Round 7, 184th Overall

Jim Benning selects Rodrigo Abols, Portland Winterhawks [WHL], C (2015-16 Stats: 20G, 29A, 49P; 62 games)


I select David Bernhardt, Djurgardens IF J20 [SuperElit], D (2015-16 Stats: 10G, 28A, 38P; 45 games)

Bernhardt is a strong, two-way defenseman who is ready to play in the SHL next year. He is very smart and can read the game well in transition, playing a consistent game in all areas of the ice.

Round 7, 194th Overall

Jim Benning selects Brett McKenzie, North Bay Battalion [OHL], C (2015-16 Stats: 26G, 27A, 53P; 66 games)

I make the same selection.

I like this pick since McKenzie is good defensively and excels on plays off the rush. He may be 19 years old at the time of the draft, but that’s okay. Brett has produced points at a good rate for players taken this late in the draft.








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