The Canucks surprised some draft pundits by selecting defenceman Olli Juolevi instead of one of the highly regarded forwards…the consensus at McKeen’s, however is that the poised Finn has the skill and smarts to be the team’s number one defenceman once he adds some more beef to his 6-2 frame. William Lockwood captured the interest of scouts in U-18 tournaments with his speed, non-stop motor and tenacity. An Andrew Shaw type player, he should be a candidate for third-line duty at the NHL level once he’s had some seasoning and additional off-ice training at Michigan.
|1||5||5||Olli Juolevi||D||FIN||6-2/185||London (OHL)|
|3||64||71||William Lockwood||RW||USA||5-11/175||NTDP (USA)|
|5||140||107||Cole Candella||D||CAN||6-1/190||Hamilton (OHL)|
|6||154||149||Jakob Stukel||LW||CAN||5-11/185||Calgary (WHL)|
|7||184||NR||Rodrigo Abols||C||LAT||6-4/190||Portland (WHL)|
|7||194||NR||Brett McKenzie||C||CAN||6-2/190||North Bay (OHL)|
Cole Candella was a solid selection in the fifth round..he’s a steady defender with okay size and skills that may develop into a bottom-line pairing defenceman. Jacob Stukel was well worth a flyer in the sixth following his 35-goal campaign in Calgary...while he lacks size and ideal defensive tendencies there is no denying his ability to put the puck in the net. Rodrigo Abols had a solid rookie campaign for Portland…the 6-4 Latvian center is expected to return to the WHL as an overager given his lack of experience in North America.
Brett McKenzie was the third straight previously undrafted prospect selected by the Canucks at the end of the draft...a two-way center that was surprisingly overlooked in last year’s draft. He may have the best chance of the three at making the adjustment to the pro game given his all-around abilities.
Grade- B: The Canucks would have gotten a higher grade had they picked more than twice in the top four rounds…the decision to go with the elite defenceman at fifth overall to fill a glaring long-term need, and ability to obtain value despite the lack of high picks nevertheless made it a solid draft result.