Future Watch: Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver Canucks fans should be excited for the future. They have every piece they need to be contenders in the future. The Canucks scouting staff has done very well to draft what looks like a solid core in the upcoming seasons.
The 5th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, the Canucks may have very well hit the jackpot, if they are patient. Pettersson, who is only 19 years old, is playing well in the Swedish Hockey League. In the 39 games he has played this season, he has scored 19 goals and added 29 assists, more than a point-per-game player. Pettersson had a decent World Juniors tournament, scoring 5 goals and 2 assists. Pettersson, who plays with Jonathan Dahlen in Timra, could be a big duo in the future. Pettersson is unbelievable with the puck. He is a skilled playmaker, he plays a 200-foot game and has great patience. If the Canucks give him some time for development and don't rush him, Pettersson might be the next legendary Swede in Vancouver.
Comparison: Henrik Zetterberg
Fun Facts: Elias’ older brother, Emil, is also an NHL Draft pick, selected in the 6th round of the 2013 NHL Draft to Nashville
There is one word that Canucks fans will love to hear, that describes Olli Juolevi, champion. The 2016 5th overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft has won an OHL Championship, Memorial Cup Championship and a Gold Medal at the World Juniors. Olli is a smooth skating, all around defenceman. He has great balance, and is calm with the puck. However he has had his ups and downs. In 2015-16 he registered 42 points in 57 games, one year later he had 43 points in 58 games. Although he is a defenceman and there was a stacked defensive core in London in his last year, in junior you are expected to build off your previous season. The bright side is he has scored 7 times and added 11 assists in 34 games in the Liiga. If he can add a physical aspect into his game, Olli might be the defenceman the Canucks build around in the future.
Comparison: Olli Maatta
Fun Fact: Juolevi began playing junior hockey when he was 14 for Jokerit’s U-16 Team.
When these next 2 guys are ready and full time NHL goaltenders, Canucks fans won't have to worry about goaltending for a very long time. Thatcher Demko was drafted in the 34th overall(2nd round) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Demko is big(6’4”), he is composed, never out of position and he reads the play well. He dominated with Boston College, winning 62 out of 98 games, a .632 winning percentage. He has spent two seasons in Utica, having played in 79 games with a 2.57 GAA and a 0.915 Save% (0.922% this season). Canucks fans should be very excited about the young goaltender.
Comparison: Ben Bishop
Fun Fact: Demko is the first Boston College player to get drafted by the Canucks since Cory Schneider.
Michael DiPietro is a coaches dream. He has the ability to single handedly steal a hockey game for his club, he just doesn't lose. At the age of 17, in his 2nd OHL season, he was a huge part of why the Windsor Spitfires won the Memorial Cup tournament. He was drafted 64th overall(3rd round) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Although he is undersized, he makes up for that with incredible athleticism, and doesn't surprise fans with a superb save which they may have thought “well that's a goal”. DiPietro sees the puck well and doesn't give up on a play. He has very quick legs which allows him to make a cross-crease save, and quick skating, allowing him to stay involved in the play by playing the puck behind his net. DiPietro is calm in net, and may find himself starting for Team Canada in next year’s World Junior tournament. DiPietro is on a very young Spitfires team, and the 18-year-old could easily steal the Spits a series in the playoffs. He has a 2.45 GAA average in his OHL career, and may find himself winning Goaltender of the Year in the O. Keep an eye on DiPietro as his career progresses as he may just win the starting job in Vancouver one day.
Comparison: Jonathan Quick
Fun Fact: The distance between Windsor and DiPietro’s home-town? 40 minutes(Amherstburg).