June 27,2014(ISN) – Friday, members of the Vancouver Canucks organization will step up to the podium at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and announce the team has selected…
…Ritchie, Perlini, Fabbri, Virtanen, Draisaitl, Nylander, Bennett, Dal Colle, Ekblad orrrrrrrrrrrrr Reinhart?
For some insight into the 2014 Draft and who the Canucks could be targetting, Canucks.com reached out to the who’s who in the hockey world. They said no, so we got these guys to contribute instead.
Tyson Giuriato – Canucks.com prospects writer
Jake Virtanen, Calgary Hitmen, WHL
I’ve kept an eye on Jake Virtanen (pictured) since I saw him play as a confident 15-year-old call-up with the Calgary Hitmen in January 2012. He’s fast, he hits, he fights, and he netted 45 goals this past season. His combination of speed and strength, along with a deadly shot will enable him to score goals at any level. His nastiness and physical play is much needed in a very big Pacific Division, especially come playoff time. If the Canucks make Virtanen the sixth overall pick on Friday, he will be the first BC-born player the Canucks have taken in the first round since 1983 (see Neely, Cam).
John Garrett – Sportsnet colour commentator
I have been asked to give my humble opinion as to whom the Canucks should take with their sixth choice in the upcoming entry draft. I have seen quite a few junior games this year watching the Giants, after a slow start they were a pleasant surprise. This does not make me an expert, so I rely on my Sportsnet co-workers who do CHL hockey and the Memorial Cup to enlighten me. I, like most fans, would like to see the Canucks have a chance to take Sam Reinhart. He has his dad’s uncanny vision and anticipation and plays center. He has good size at 6’1″ and will eventually be over 200 lbs. The problem is that he will be in the top 3 so unless Jim Benning can trade up, he will not be available. I did play my junior in Peterborough, but that is not the reason that with the sixth pick I hope the Canucks will take Nick Ritchie (pictured). He is a left winger who scored 39 goals and added 35 assists. After watching the LA Kings, it is obvious that size matters and Ritchie is 6’2″ and already 225 lbs. He played on three box lacrosse championship teams in bantam and midget. He would be my choice. Jake Virtanen is from Abbotsford and lit it up with the Calgary Hitmen, but he is coming off shoulder surgery. He too has good size and can score.
Fred Ewanuick – Hank, Dan, goalie, overall great guy
I think you’re going to see the Canucks move up in draft position via a big trade.Whether that’s Ryan Kesler, or one of their young prospects and a roster player.
If they manage a trade, I see them going after Sam Reinhart (pictured). I think he’s exactly the player they need. Skill, leadership, composure, and hockey smarts. He has the ability to control the play and he’s a difference maker, something the Canucks have lacked in recent years.
He may not be the most physical guy, but he can see the ice so well, make the guys around him better, and be a threat to score every time he’s on the ice.
Not to mention, he’s a local guy. What’s not to like?
Jeff Paterson – Team 1040 Canucks reporter
The assignment, as presented, was to offer thoughts on who the Canucks might target if they hold on to the sixth overall pick in Friday’s draft. Obviously, Sam Reinhart fits the needs of the hockey club on so many levels – a local kid with fantastic hockey sense and bloodlines that link to the organization. However, most believe the Canucks will have to move up in the draft to get their hands on Reinhart. So if he’s gone by the time they pick, I like the looks of Leon Draisaitl (pictured) of the Prince Albert Raiders. A late 1995, birthdate he 18-year-old German is older than most in this draft class and may be closer to playing in the National Hockey League. At 6 ‘1” and 210 pounds, he already has pro size and his 105 points in the Western Hockey League last season clearly demonstrate his offensive capabilities. However, like Reinhart before him, Draisaitl may not be available to the Canucks in the sixth spot. If they’re both off the board by the time the Canucks get to the podium, then I am intrigued by Peterborough power forward Nick Ritchie.
Wyatt Arndt – Freelance writer, currently blogging for The Province Sports
Ah the draft, where hindsight usually makes us all look like fools in three years time (Jason Herter, you were supposed to be the chosen one!) With that being said, the Canucks are in a good position to snag a solid player at the number six spot, assuming they don’t do anything crazy, like say, trade for the first overall draft pick….
Of course, every year it seems like the team with the number one pick talks about moving the pick only to keep it, so assuming everything stays status quo, I see three guys the Canucks might be looking to draft.
Jake Virtanen fits the bill for what new GM Jim Benning and Trevor Linden seem to want on the team. He’s a big, skilled guy who can score goals, and he’s a local kid. While the place of birth shouldn’t be a factor for drafting players, if the Canucks see two guys as being relatively equal, their mandate seems to be to get the kid who has a Western Canadian address.
Nikolaj Ehlers (pictured) is a player who might possibly have the highest potential offensive upside of anyone outside the top five. He is a skilled winger who by all accounts backs that skill up with hard work. If the Canucks want to go with someone who has a better all around game than Virtanen, and one of the fastest players in the draft, then Ehlers might be their guy.
My dark horse pick for the Canucks, however, is Nick Ritchie. A big, hulking winger who plays with a mean streak, he might be just the kind of player Benning wants to make a statement with. He has decent hands and can punish people with his size, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Canucks went off board (or traded down) and went with Ritchie.
Jeff Angus – Freelance writer, author of anguscertified.com
I remain convinced that the Canucks are going to do everything within their power to find a way to draft Kootenay Ice center and Vancouver native Sam Reinhart (pictured). He’s an incredibly smart and gifted hockey player – Jonathan Toews is a great comparison. Reinhart needs to fill out quite a bit before being really ready for the NHL game (much like Toews, who has added close to 30 pounds since his draft year in 2007). However, if the Canucks are unable to trade up for Reinhart, then I would like to see them take Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl. The big German is physically ready for the NHL game at 6-1 and over 215 pounds. He is very strong on the puck and can play tough minutes in all situations. He doesn’t have Anze Kopitar’s height or reach, but he plays a very similar game. Draisatil and Horvat would give the Canucks a strong two-way one-two punch down the middle for the next decade.