31 in 31 Series: Vancouver Canucks 2018 Draft Review and Development Camp Updates

Cam Robinson

2018-07-27

 

 

Here’s a shocking revelation, the NHL Draft Lottery was not kind to the Vancouver Canucks. For the third consecutive year, the west coast organization saw its position slide in the wrong direction. This time they slipped from sixth to seventh overall after a late-season charge, fuelled mostly by the Sedin twins’ heroics, tacked on useless points to push them out of the cellar.

 

For the club with the fewest combined points since 2015-16, they’ve managed to select fifth, fifth and seventh. Not ideal. However, what they’ve started to do with those selections has to be considered a pivotal improvement. 

 

Last June, the team hit an absolute homerun when the nabbed Elias Pettersson as the third pivot off the board. At the time, some considered it a touch early to select the dynamic Swedish talent. Hindsight is making it look like he should’ve gone even earlier. This year, they had an opportunity to pick a faller and they didn’t overthink it.

 

Round One – LHD, Quinn Hughes 7th Overall

Jim Benning could hardly contain his excitement as he and the rest of the ownership and management group took to the stage in Dallas to select University of Michigan defender, Quinn Hughes. The 5’10 165lbs freshman was tremendous for the Wolverines and was the squads’ top player during a deep playoff run. He culminated his campaign with a strong showing at the World Championships where his speed, skill and confidence were on full display.

 

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Vancouver’s organizational depth chart was beginning to get a bit top heavy up front. They boast U-23 players such as Brock Boeser, Pettersson, Jonathan Dahlen, Kole Lind, and Nikolay Goldobin. On the back-end, the only true top four potential player is Olli Juolevi and much has been written about his development since being selected fifth overall in 2016.

 

The Canucks needed to target a blueliner early and due to some unforeseen selections ahead of them, they managed to get their pick from all the defenders not named Dahlin.

 

Hughes brings electric skills to the table. His acceleration, edgework and top-end speed are well-above an NHL-level at this very moment. You put that together with his advanced hockey IQ and you’ve got the recipe for something special. He is the best skater from the 2018 crop and would immediately step in as the Canucks best skater and likely second-best left-side D if he chooses to turn pro this fall.

 

That question has yet to be answered.

 

Reports indicate that the Michigan-native will make his decision to return to his alma mater or join the Canucks within the next few weeks. The main issue that may prohibit his advancement is the depth chart in front of him. The Canucks have four left-side defenders already under contract. There’s little reason to bring Hughes into the fold if he’s not going to be utilized. GM, Jim Benning has publicly stated that the team will make room for Hughes if he decides to sign.

 

When it comes to high-octane, offensive blueliners with a chance to become impact fantasy contributors, Hughes is right near the top of the he