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In Depth: Hoglander, Keppen & Focht

...an inside look at Vancouver's 2nd, 4th and 5th round picks

by Ryan @ryanbiech / Freelance writer

The Canucks entered the 2019 NHL Entry Draft with nine picks and after some trades that saw the placement of said picks move around, they ended up adding nine prospects to the organization.

With their first pick, they added Russian forward Vasily Podkolzin, whom we took a look at on Friday night. Today we turn our attention to the first three players that the Canucks selected on Day 2 of the draft.

All three are intriguing players with different paths to get to where they are now. Here are some quick stats about Nils Hoglander, Ethan Keppen, and Carson Focht.

LW - Nils Hoglander

Hoglander was selected by the Canucks early on Day 2 with the 40th overall selection. Both GM Jim Benning and Director of Amateur Scouting Judd Brackett spoke with the media following the draft and spoke extremely highly of Hoglander's puck skills and work ethic.

The 5'9" and 185 lbs is a worker bee on the ice and as such was able to secure a full-time role with Rogle BK in the SHL. Although he was primarily in a bottom-six role for the club, averaging 12:36 of ice-time per game, being a regular in the SHL during your NHL draft season is always an encouraging sign for future success. He is expected to get a larger role with Rogle next season and should be able to surpass his seven goal and seven assist output this season.

His 14 points were first among all U18 and first-time draft eligible players in the SHL and were 7th among all U20 players in the league this season.

There might be some concern about his size, but he is a very elusive player that plays with tenacity, confidence and great anticipation. Fans will be excited about the type of game he plays.

LW - Ethan Keppen

After the wheeling and dealing, the Canucks didn't make another pick until 122nd overall, which is where they grabbed Flint Firebirds winger Ethan Keppen.

Like Hoglander, Keppen is a player that never seems to give up on a puck. He is bigger at 6'2" and 212 lbs and uses that size to his advantage as he doesn't have the same foot speed as the speedy Sweden. He grinds along the boards and protects the puck extremely well.

Keppen finished the season with 30 goals and 29 assists in 68 games for the Firebirds.

With 51 primary points this season, he ranked fifth among first-time draft eligible OHL forwards and had an impressive 86% of his total production being of the primary variety. His 18 even strength goals were third among that same peer group.

He averaged 3.13 shots per game and generated the second most even strength shots among those first-time draft eligible OHL players.

Keppen's play got stronger as the season went along and although his 5v5 ice-time didn't increase much as the season went along, his production per 60 minutes of ice-time increased. By the end of the season, Keppen led the Firebirds in terms of estimated points per 60 minutes.

C - Carson Focht

With the 133rd overall selection, the Canucks called centre Carson Focht's name.

The 19-year-old centre was passed over in his first year of draft eligibility last season after being moved from Tri-City to Calgary in a mid-season trade in 2017-18. This season, he was able to get comfortable with the Hitmen and took off offensively.

In 68 WHL games this season with Calgary, he scored 26 goals and assisted on 38. Those totals were good for the following team ranks:

  • Tied for 2nd in goals
  • Tied for 2nd in assists
  • 2nd in points

Focht also posted nine points in the WHL playoffs, which was tied for the team lead.

The Regina born centre had the 8th most points among WHL players that were first time eligible for 2018. He was 5th in primary points and 8th in goals among that same peer group.

He wasn't really afforded a lot of ice-time with an estimated even strength time on ice of just over just 12 minutes and yet produced at a first line rate in almost all categories. The 6'0" and 177 lbs centre generated 3.26 shots per game.

Sometimes players slip through the cracks because of their deployment during their draft season and there is every reason to believe that Focht might've been one of those guys. He had a very good season that earned him an invite to the Hockey Canada summer development camp.

Jett Woo was moved to the Hitmen this summer and thus will attend the same camp with Focht and should be teammates this fall in Calgary.

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