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By Joel Hawreschuk
1st Round, 5th overall: The Canucks are proud to select:
Elias Petterssen C, 6’2, 164lbs (CSS EUR – 2) 43 GP, 19G, 22A, 41PTS
A crafty and agile two-way forward, Pettersson is consistently productive in all three zones. As he gets bigger and stronger he’ll become even more physical and aggressive than he is now. His creativity could definitely elevate his game to dominant levels. He can be described as a tenacious jack-of-all-trades kind of player; he is well versed in all the important areas of his own game. His speed and top-end acceleration continue to improve game by game and his hard-nosed attitude shows through his dogged pursuit of puck control. Elias is a complete hockey player with an exceptional hockey sense. He brings intellect and a youthful exuberance to a game that feeds on his kind of exciting athleticism. Only concern is his size, but this shouldn’t be an issue down the road. He is 2-3 years away from the NHL, but when he gets here he will make a big splash. Elias has the potential to be a very consistent number 1 center in the NHL.
2nd Round, 33rd overall: Kole Lind, RW, 6’1, 185lbs, (CSS NA – 23) 70GP, 30G, 57A, 87PTS
Alright, I love this pick! For one, he’s from a small town in Saskatchewan named Shaunavon so he’s a home-grown boy. Also, the Canucks went with the best player available here. Kole was pegged to go in the first round and the Canucks snapped him up at 33.
Kole is a smart and skilled but not overly dynamic offensive forward. A slippery skater who is able to hand onto the puck for long periods of time thanks to is good awareness of where the pressure is coming from. He is very agile and accelerates quickly, enabling him to get a bit of room from his opponents. Kole has good puck skills using his hand position and speed to bring pucks in tight to his body. He can run himself out of space by trying to hold onto the puck and trying to make that extra move. He is a very good passer who leads his man perfectly, makes gorgeous saucer passes, and is a playmaker, but doesn’t mind taking shots. He does need to work on his release. His speed and smarts allowed him to find a lot of openings to get chances. Defensively, he uses his stick to close off options. He isn’t always consistently physical but has shown some fire in his belly after the whistle by getting in faces and causing some commotion. His strong awareness of the game and hockey IQ should help him transition to the NHL game. Great pick, but another player that is 2+ years away from seeing any NHL time. Should expect to see him back in Kelowna next year.
2nd round, 55th overall: Jonah Gadjovich, LW, 6’1, 200lbs, (CSS NA – 39) 60GP, 46G, 28A, 74PTS.
A feisty two-way winger that uses his size and speed to open up space for himself and teammates. He understands both sides of the puck well and skates hard up and down the ice. Positionally sound and reads plays well. While not always the fastest player on the ice, his skating ability is noteworthy and he can catch the opposition off-guard on the rust. He’s not afraid to get into the mix and will get under the skin of the opponent. A team first player that will find a way to make an impact for his line each shift.
3rd round, 64th overall: Michael DiPietro, G, 6’0, 202lbs, (CSS NA(G) – 4) 51GP, 30W, 12L, 2OTL, .917SV%, 2.35 GAA.
Lightning-quick netminder who has spearheaded Windsor’s assault on Memorial Cup competition, winning the top goaltender award while coming out victorious in all four games for his team. DiPietro is an energetic goalie with an excellent quickness which helps make up for his nonstandard size in terms of covering the upper half of the net. His rebound control is excellent as DiPietro places the hardest of low-danger shots perfectly into the corner. His post=save recovery and net awareness are among the best of any 2017 draft eligible goalie. He’ll take a stand at the top of his crease in order to fight through screens.
4th round, 95th overall: Jack Rathbone, D, 5’10, 175lbs. (CSS NA – 57)
An undersized defender with good vision, high-end skating ability, and grit. Very elusive and uses his shiftiness to move pucks out of his zone and to the attack, in which he will hop in on. His low center of gravity gives him the ability to cannonball opponents and knock them off the puck.
5th round, 135th overall: Kristoffer Gunnarsson, D, 6’1, 205lbs (Unranked)
Gunnarsson is a defenseman who plays a safe, defensive-minded game. Owns decent mobility and skating ability. Likes to hit and punish opponents physically. Doesn’t contribute much offensively.
6th Round, 181st overall: Petrus Palmu, RW, 5’6, 175lbs (Unranked) 62GP, 40G, 58A, 98PTS.
The only thing stopping Palmu from being a sure-fire NHL draft pick is his underwhelming size. AT 5’6, 175 pounds, Palmu gets by on speed, smarts, offensive flash and capable defensive play. He was one of Owen Sounds most impressive players this season and has he continues to progress and get stronger, he could be a force in the OHL.
7th round, 188th overall: Matt Brassard, D, 6’2, 197lbs (CSS NA – 137) 62GP, 12G, 20A, 32PTS.
At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Brassard has a perfect NHL frame. He used his second year of draft eligibility to form a strong overall game with his raw tools, which not only showed on the score sheet but also in the defensive zone. Though he won’t be a power-play quarterback in the NHL, Brassard has some nice upside as a PP contributor, mostly due to his heavy point shot.