The Canucks were busy on the second day of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, walking away with seven players. They ended the day with three wingers, three defenceman and a goaltender. This gives the organization some great depth throughout. Adding these players to 1st round selection Elias Pettersson, there is a lot to like about this crop of Canucks draft picks.
Video: DRAFT | Kole Lind one-on-one
With the 33rd overall pick, the Canucks turned to the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL grabbing right winger Kole Lind. A riser in the draft rankings throughout the year, Lind is a smart winger who adapts to his environment. He started the season slowly, but got better as the year went on. He ended his campaign with 30 goals and 57 assists in 70 games, then followed that up with 6 goals and 6 assists in 17 WHL playoff games. The 6'1" and 185 lbs winger will return to the Kelowna Rockets in the fall and take on more of a leadership role for the perennial WHL contender.
Video: DRAFT | Gadjovich Media Availability
Using the pick acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Canucks selected Jonah Gadjovich from the Owen Sound Attack in the Ontario Hockey League. Known for his truculence and tenacity, Gadjovich potted 46 goals and 28 assists in 60 games. He isn't known for his speed, but he has a knack for getting into the tough areas and making his chances count. He looks to make an impact on every shift, whether that is a timely goal, a big hit or making a good defensive player. The 6'2" and 200 lbs left winger has been invited to Hockey Canada Development Camp this summer and hopes to crack the Team Canada roster for the World Juniors in the winter. Given his gritty two-way play, he may be able to secure a spot in a depth role.
Video: DRAFT | DiPietro media availability
Early in the 3rd round, the Canucks addressed their needs in the crease taking Memorial Cup winning goaltender Michael DiPietro from the Windsor Spitfires. Ranked as the fourth best North American goaltender in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, DiPietro had a fantastic performance at the Memorial Cup. He ended the tournament with a 2.00 GAA and 0.932 SV% en route to capturing the title. That performance followed a stellar regular season where he was 30-12-2 with a 2.35 GAA and 0.917 SV%. With Thatcher Demko and DiPietro in the mix, the Canucks appear to be setup in the crease for years to come. DiPietro will join Gadjovich at the Hockey Canada Development Camp later this summer. At this moment, Carter Hart appears to be a lock for one of the spots, but the other spot will be up for grabs and DiPietro could easily snag it.
Video: DRAFT | Rathbone media availability
With the 95th overall selection at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Canucks scouting staff called upon defenceman Jack Rathbone. The West Roxbury, MA born rearguard is a puck-mover who played in the United States Hockey League, US High School Hockey and Midget hockey last season. Rathbone will return to Dexter School in Massachusetts before heading to Harvard in 2018-19. Rathbone measures in at 5'10" and 165 lbs, but plays the way that the NHL is trending. He skates well, moves the puck with authority and has shown that he can put up points. Given the longer development in the NCAA, it may be a few years before Rathbone plays professional hockey, but he has the skill-set that should see success as he climbs up the ladder.
The Canucks were slated to select 112th overall with the pick that they acquired from the San Jose Sharks in the Nikolay Goldobin trade, but actually made a trade on the draft floor, sending the pick to Chicago for 135th overall and 181st overall. With the first pick acquired in the deal, the Canucks selected Swedish defenceman Kristoffer Gunnarsson. Known for his abrasive play on the backend, Gunnarsson likely grabbed the Canucks scouting department's attention with his performance at the World Juniors this past winter. Gunnarsson is 6'1" and 200 lbs, using that size to make it difficult for opponents to enter the zone and get to the net. He already has a couple of years of experience in the Swedish Hockey League and the second division Allsvenskan. The left handed rear guard is expected to play for Frolunda in the SHL next season.
With the second pick acquired in the deal with the Blackhawks, the Canucks selected Finnish born Petrus Palmu from the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL. Palmu is a small, but extremely dynamic forward who just out works everyone. He piled up 40 goals and 58 assists in 62 games for the Attack. Obviously, since he is 5'7" and 180 lbs, Palmu will need to find ways to overcome that size. Which he does. He has a complete toolbox that allows him to create plays from nothing while making his teammates better. He was extremely noticeable in every game this season and will look to build on that next year.
With their final selection at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Canucks selected OHL defenceman Matthew Brassard. The 6'2" and 200 lbs defenceman split his season between the Barrie Colts and the Oshawa Generals. He ended the regular season with 12 goals and 20 assists in 62 OHL games. He is an all around defenceman who took over the Oshawa powerplay as the season went on. He is expected to return to the Generals next season and take on a leadership role.
Looking at the Canucks draft class in totality, there is a lot to get excited about as Canucks fans. They addressed their long term needs while adding some intriguing and exciting players. A noticeable theme of the players taken was their versatility. They all make their teammates better in a variety of different ways.