The Vancouver Canucks missed the playoffs for the third straight season and have not topped 31 wins in any of those seasons—ranking last in the NHL in Wins (92) and points (217) over that stretch.
Despite the stretch of tough seasons and the Sedin Twins (Daniel and Henrik) announcing their retirement this year, the future appears to be bright in Vancouver. The 2018-19 season will be the first time the Canucks play without Daniel and Henrik since the 1999-00 season, but it will start a new-age of Canucks hockey.
Vancouver has done a really good job drafting difference-makers in recent years, taking Bo Horvat (No.9 in 2013) and Brock Boeser (No.23 in 2015) and they have a couple of prospects who are right on the cusp of making the roster.
- Elias Pettersson (No.5 in 2017) — Pettersson was sensational in his rookie season in Sweden, picking up 56 points (24G / 32A) in 44 games as a 19-year-old—better rookie seasons than Swedish greats Peter Forsberg, the Sedin Twins, Nicklas Backstrom and Markus Naslund. A trip to the World Juniors interrupted that season and probably cost him the league scoring title. Pettersson will be a Canuck next year.
- Thatcher Demko (No.36 in 2014) — Demko appears to be forcing his way onto the Canucks roster after two good years in the AHL. In 46 starts with Utica in 2017-18, he was 25-13-4 with a 2.44 GAA, .922 SV% and one shutout. Both Jacob Markstrom and Anders Nilsson are under contract next year, so he might get another year in the AHL, but he’s quickly approaching the NHL and is the goalie of the future.
- Olli Juolevi (No.5 in 2016) — Juolevi, 20, had nine goals and 24 assists (33 points) between the regular season and playoffs (49 games) in his first year in Finland (after two years in the OHL). The Canucks view him as a future top four defenseman, but he may not be in the NHL until 2020.
The cupboards are pretty full in Vancouver, but their blueline still lacks some quality. With the top-end of this draft loaded with good defensemen, the Canucks should be looking to upgrade there
With the No.7 Overall Pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Vancouver Canucks select…
Noah Dobson — RHD — Canada ????????
Dobson actually compares to Juolevi pretty well. They both have good size, skate well and play a strong two-way game. Neither if overly flashy but also bring their fair-share of offence to the table. Dobson is coming off of a really strong sophomore season in the QMJHL, finishing tied for second among defensemen in points (69) and third in goals (17).
The Canucks’ blueline isn’t getting any younger, but Dobson could join Juolevi as a top-4 defenseman in the next few years.
Dobson may have elevated his stock during Acadie-Bathurst’s run to the Memorial Cup, when he picked up two goals and five assists (seven points) in four games. In a draft full of good blueliners, Dobson has emerged as a top-5 option at the position.
“A talented two-way defenceman that can play in all situations and stay productive. Uses his edges well and is, for the most part, a very smooth skater; however, as he gets stronger and adjusts to a more up-tempo style of hockey, he will need to work on his speed in gap-closing. Offensively, he utilizes his keen sense of awareness to be in the right spot at the right time, every time. Soft hands and a deadly shot accentuate his ability to get creative, on occasion. Rock solid defensively, his strong positioning severely limits time and space for the opposition. All-in-all, a well-rounded, reliable, and consistent defenceman that can log a lot of ice time and provide his team with a stable presence on the back end.” — Elite Prospects