Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks: Should Break The Bank For The Top Pick

Fans Of The Vancouver Canucks Suffered A Big Letdown After Seeing The Results Of The National Hockey League Draft Lottery

The National Hockey League draft lottery was held on Tuesday, and Vancouver Canucks fans’ hearts were broken. After much hoping throughout the year (and praying for the team to lose game after game to get the best possible chance at a top-three pick), eventually the Canucks finished 23rd overall in the league. After an untimely leak of the draft lottery results, it was revealed that the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and the Chicago Black Hawks would move into the top three of the NHL entry draft in June, in that order. All three of these teams struggle with organizational depth, and a potential blockbuster trade with the Devils would make a lot of sense.

The Vancouver Canucks fan base as a whole is demoralised after seeing the draft lottery results. While the future is bright for the Canucks franchise, there is a lot of frustration with the management, the NHL, and the players.

Making A Pitch For The Top Pick

Young phenom Jack Hughes is the likely first overall pick in this summer’s upcoming NHL entry draft. His older brother, Quinn, is currently a top prospect that recently made his NHL debut for the Canucks. The media spotlight on Vancouver would spike if they managed to pull off a trade to unite the Hughes brothers, and it would be inexcusable no matter what it took to make this trade happen.

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The price will not be cheap, as Jack Hughes is a potential franchise-changing talent, but the Canucks could field some offers that the Devils could potentially accept. I thought long and hard about this and came up with the conclusion of this potential trade for the first overall pick:

Bo Horvat, Olli Juolevi, Jake Virtanen, Jacob Markstrom, and the 10th overall pick to the Devils for the first overall pick, and Corey Schneider.

The Devils struggle with offensive depth, and receiving Virtanen, a raw power forward with a lot of talent would definitely help that. Virtanen was the former sixth overall pick for Vancouver and hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. He should still be able to deliver 20 goals at some point in his career, and at age 22 still has a lot of potential.

Horvat Would Be Tough To Give Up

Horvat is a fringe top line player, an elite faceoff man and a spectacular defensive centre. Vancouver would definitely prefer to keep him, but he is arguably their best asset that would make a sliver of sense to trade. With another center coming back the other way in Jack Hughes, it would make this trade hurt less.

Markstrom has held the Canucks in many games this year and is arguably a bona-fide top-15 goalie in the NHL. Playing behind an absolutely horrid defence, Markstrom single-handedly salvaged many games for Vancouver. He has been incredibly consistent this year, constantly making enormous saves while looking calm, cool, and collected in net.

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Juolevi, yet another high pick the Canucks have taken, has yet to crack an NHL roster. He still is brimming with potential and should end up being a smooth top-three defenseman in the next few years. At just 20 years old, Juolevi is a massive asset and if he can improve his focus on the game he could potentially be a star.

While all these assets may seem like a lot to give up with the aforementioned players, along with the 10th overall pick (which could also be a top line player) also going to New Jersey in this hypothetical trade, here is what would be coming to Vancouver.

Once an elite starting goalie for the Canucks (and who was traded for the pick that selected Horvat), Schneider has fallen off a cliff. Schneider is a backup calibre goalie in New Jersey and is still making $6 million for the next three years. There is hope the Ian Clark could revive his career in Vancouver, and potentially be a starting goalie again. But in all likelihood, he could just be a salary cap dump.

Hughes Certainly Worth It

Jack Hughes, the projected first overall pick, is potentially franchise changing. He has a sky-high ceiling and would be an instant hit in Vancouver, replacing the retired Sedin twins with another pair of brothers. Jack Hughes could potentially be a 100-point player, and the only reason the Devils would potentially move that pick is because of the number of valuable players and prospects coming back the other way, and that there is a risk that he amounts to nothing. There is a high chance that New Jersey holds onto the pick and drafts/develops him, but there is an outside chance that a team like Vancouver, armed already with Jack’s older brother, might make a move for him.

This trade could turn out terrible for either team, and there is a lot of risk involved for both teams. if Juolevi and Virtanen both fail to hit their potential and end up as replacement level NHLers, while Jack Hughes becomes a star by putting up 25 goals and 100+ points, all of a sudden this trade is awful for New Jersey. However, if Virtanen becomes a 25 goal threat, Juolevi a top pair defenseman, Horvat a top line forward and the 10th overall pick a legitimate top-six forward or top-four defenseman (and Hughes fails to reach his potential), this trade could be among the worst in Canucks history.

Stats provided by hockey-reference

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals