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Late Round Targets

...starting at 40th overall, who should the Canucks draft?

by Ryan Biech @ryanbiech / Freelance writer

With the Canucks possessing the 10th overall selection, it is impossible to know who will be available and who the organization might covet.

That is also an issue when trying to figure out they might pick in the 2nd round and beyond.

This year presents an interesting challenge as the draft board appears to really open up around 25th overall and thus there are a wide variety of players that could be available when the Canucks make their selection at 40th overall and later.

Luckily, the scouting staff has done a fantastic job over the last few years in the second round adding players like Thatcher Demko, Kole Lind, and Jett Woo with picks near the same spot. They are hoping they can repeat that success this year in front of the home crowd.

Here are some players who could be available early on day two of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Defence

Lassi Thomson (RHD) - The Finnish born defenceman made the leap over the WHL this season and put up 17 goals and 24 assists in 63 games with the Kelowna Rockets. He is a versatile two-way defender that skates very well. He can quarterback a powerplay, lead a penalty kill, or eat up minutes at 5-on-5 play. Thomson isn't afraid to be physical, despite being 6'0" and 188 lbs, but relies on his defensive awareness to just snuff out opponents' chances. Thomson may head back to Finland to play for Ilves in Liiga next season.

Tobias Bjornfot (LHD) - A defenceman that coaches lean on heavily. Bjornfot represented Sweden multiple times this season as their captain and although he didn't put up a ton of points, he made a positive impact by just shutting down opponents. While with his club team, Djurgardens, Bjornfot appeared in 39 junior level games where he scored 11 goals and 11 assists and then appeared in seven SHL games, where he was held pointless. Despite only playing 39 games in the SuperElit, Bjornfot was still named the Best Defenceman this season. If you are looking for a very mature and well-rounded defenceman in the second round, Bjornfot is a great option.

Matthew Robertson (LHD) ­- The Edmonton born defender could go before the Canucks even make their pick on day 2 simply because of smart and mobile he is. He won't be someone who will jump out to you but just does so many positive things with the puck. He is a bit of a project as you would like to see more urgency and better reads when he doesn't have the puck but he has displayed steady improvement over his last years in the WHL that it's fair to believe he can fine-tune his game. He ended this season with 33 points (7-26-33) in 52 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Jordan Spence (RHD) - A defenceman that has seen his draft stock rise with each passing month. Born in Australia, Spence had a fantastic season with the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL that saw him score six goals and assist on 43 more. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury in the QMJHL playoffs and thus was limited to four games, but did recover in time to represent Canada at the U18 World Juniors. Which is impressive for a player who hadn't played any major junior hockey until this season.

Some other options for defencemen include: Kaedan Korczak (RHD - WHL), Vladislav Kolychonko (LHD - OHL), Henry Thrun (LHD - USNTDP), Mikko Kokkonen (LHD - Liiga), and Albert Johansson (LHD - SuperElit).

Forward 

Patrik Puistola (LW) - An offensively gifted winger that has a quick release and electrifying puck skills. Puistola started the year in the Finnish U-20 League that saw him post more than a point per game before appearing in 16 games with Tappara in Liiga. He had fantastic showings at the Ivan Hlinka and U18 World Juniors with his goal scoring prowess showing up every time he touched the puck. He's a cerebral player who will need to add strength onto his 6'0" and 174 lbs frame, but appears to be on track to be a top six sniper.

Nils Hoglander (LW) - Despite only being 5'9" and 185 lbs, Hoglander doesn't let himself get pushed around. It's mostly because he is such an elusive and agile skater that he dips and darts out of coverage with ease. He has some intriguing skills that allow him to create offence when he is afforded any time or space. He appeared in 50 games with Rogle BK in the SHL and picked up seven goals and seven assists, but just being a regular in the SHL as a draft eligible speaks to how mature his game is.

Albin Grewe (C/RW) - A player that just never seems to be out of the play. He is constantly engaging opponents with the puck or dancing around when he possesses it. Grewe is a versatile forward who can seamlessly play with skilled players or slide down the lineup and be an effective physical player. He has all the attributes to be a well-rounded offensive player that can make a perfect pass or snipe it past the goalie. There is so much to like about how he plays the game.

John Beecher (C) - Mostly deployed as a third line centre, the big centre produced some really encouraging underlying numbers. Beecher has a really mature two-way game that lets him eliminate any opponent attack and then create offence through his underrated playmaking and shooting abilities. His contributions to the US National Team Development Program were overshadowed by the high-end forwards on his team.

Some other options in the forward ranks include: Simon Holmstrom (RW - SuperElit), Philip Tomasino (C - OHL), Nathan Legare (RW - QMJHL), Maxim Cajkovic (W - QMJHL) and Brett Leason ( RW - WHL).

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