Let’s Be a GM #10: 2017 NHL Entry Draft

Photo Credit: Vancouver Canucks

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.

You may be wondering if this is a mistake and that I forgot to make a trade article. Well, the 2017-18 season hasn’t happened yet and like I said in the last trade article, it would seem like a waste to make an article for one trade at the draft.

Another year, another NHL Entry Draft. We are in the home stretch of my Let’s Be a GM series and are about to do our final draft. In my piece about the 2016 draft, I said the 2015-16 season was not kind to the Vancouver Canucks. Well, the 2016-17 season was an outright bully to the club.

The team was decimated with physical injuries throughout the year and a case of the mumps passed through late in the season. There was a time when the team was so desperate, that Willie Desjardins dressed two AHL forwards as his second and third line centers. Bo Horvat lead the team in scoring which was amazing. However, he did that with 53 points. Yes, the Sedins scored less than 53 points last year and have shown that time is taking its toll on them.

On top of it all, the team finished 29th overall and lost all three lotteries to get to the 5th overall selection. The 4th overall selection was the most likely outcome, yet the lottery just didn’t work out for the team.

My Canucks currently have the 5th, 33rd, 55th, 64th, 84th, 95th, 126th, 135th, 157th, 181st, and 188th overall picks.

Round 1, 5th Overall

Jim Benning selects Elias Pettersson, Timra IK [Allsvenskan], C (2016-17 Stats: 19G, 22A, 41P; 43 games)

I make the same selection.

Elias Pettersson has one of the highest skill ceilings in the entire draft. He has the advantage of playing against tougher competition in the Allsvenskan put up numbers that few players have done at his age. His numbers are comparable to Nicklas Backstrom and his season was superior to Filip Forsberg and William Nylander at this developmental stage. Jim Benning went for all skill on this one and I like it.

Round 2, 33rd Overall

Jim Benning selects Kole Lind, Kelowna Rockets [WHL], RW (2016-17 Stats: 30G, 57A, 87P; 70 games)

I make the same selection.

Kole Lind reads the ice very well.  He has a great shot and his playmaking abilities are excellent. Adding strength will be key to his development. Lind can make perfect passes and loves to shoot the puck. He could have gone in the first round, so this is a nice pick up for Jim Benning.

Round 2, 55th Overall

Jim Benning selects Jonah Gadjovich, Owen Sound Attack [OHL], LW (2016-17 Stats: 46G, 28A, 74P; 60 games)

I make the same selection.

Gadjovich is a physical power forward out of the OHL. He has a good shot and is very intelligent on the ice. Skating is a bit of a weakness, but I don’t think it would be too hard to fix. Gadjovich is a diligent worker and does not quit on board battles. He seems like a very worthy pick at the end of the second round.

Round 3, 64th Overall

Jim Benning selects Michael DiPietro, Windsor Spitfires [OHL], G (2016-17 Stats: 2.35 GAA, .917 Save %)

I make the same selection.

I know I selected a goaltender the year before, but Michael DiPietro is hard to ignore. Again, goaltenders are a bit of a weak area for me, so I would defer to the scouts on this one. His game is described as an aggressive style, where he likes to challenge the shooter and use his lateral quickness to his advantage. DiPietro was instrumental in leading the Spitfires to a Memorial Cup win.

Round 3, 84th Overall

Jim Benning did not have this selection.

I select Mason Shaw, Medicine Hat Tigers [WHL], C (2016-17 Stats: 27G, 67G, 94P; 71 games)

Mason Shaw reminds me of Brendan Gallagher. He is a small forward who plays well above his height and weight class. Shaw is a bulldozer with a mean streak. His playmaking has allowed him to lead all CHL draft eligible players in points at even strength. He is more than worth of a flyer at the draft.

Round 4, 95th Overall

Jim Benning selects Jack Rathbone, Dexter School [USHS], D (2016-17 Stats: 16G, 19A, 35P; 22 games)

I make the same selection.

I have never watched any footage from the U.S. high school leagues, so I will have to rely heavily on my scouts for this one. The reason why I will still draft him is because Rathbone is described as a mobile offensive defenseman. He is smaller and has only played against lesser competition, but he has a lot of offensive upside.

Round 5, 126th Overall

Jim Benning did not have this selection.

I select Lukas Elvenes, Rogle BK [SHL], RW (2016-17 Stats: 0G, 0A, 0P; 12 games)

Lukas Elvenes is a patient playmaker whose skating is very good. Don’t let that stat line fool you. Elvenes did not get too much ice time in the men’s league that he played in. In the Swedish Junior league, he produced 45 points in 41 games. He is described as an effective two-way player.

Round 5, 135th Overall

Jim Benning selects Kristoffer Gunnarsson, Frolunda HC [SHL], D (2016-17 Stats: 0G, 0A, 0P; 10 games)

I make the same selection.

Gunnarsson is a traditional defensive defenseman. He is a towering player that is very effective in his own end of the ice. His first pass out of the defensive zone is crisp and he has experience playing against men in the SHL and Allsvenskan.

Round 6, 157th Overall

Jim Benning did not have this selection.

I select Ivan Chekhovich, Baie-Comeau Drakkar [QMJHL], LW (2016-17 Stats: 26G, 33A, 59P; 60 games)

I can’t believe someone who put a near point per game in the QMJHL fell this far in the draft, but here we are. Chekhovich is an agile forward with a shot that can trick defenders with ease. He is a great playmaker, but his biggest flaw is a lack of strength. Filling out his frame will become important for his development.

Round 6, 181st Overall

Jim Benning selects Petrus Palmu, Owen Sound Attack [OHL], RW (2016-17 Stats: 40G, 58A, 98P; 62 games)

I make the same selection.

I have to applaud Jim Benning for making this selection. In the past, he would have never drafted a player who stood 5’6”. Palmu may be short in stature, but he his built like a fire hydrant. He is so strong and most of his goals are scored from the high slot, where most of the physical action happens in front of the net. He is 20 years old, but the advantage the Canucks have in his development is Palmu’s ability to play in the AHL or with a European club next year.

Round 7, 188th Overall

Jim Benning selects Matt Brassard, Barrie Colts/Oshawa Generals [OHL], D (2016-17 Stats: 12G, 20A, 32P; 62 games)

I make the same selection.

Brassard is a two-way defender that is good in transition. There isn’t too much more for me to say, but since he is on the young side of being 18, there is a lot of room for his game to grow during his development.

Well, this will spell the end of my fictional run as the General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks. There is just one thing left for me to do. I will conclude everything in one more article, comparing the roster turnover, draft class and prospect pipeline between myself and Jim Benning. Stay tuned!







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