As we approach the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Vancouver Canucks have options with their 15th overall pick in the draft.
The team currently holds a first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh-round pick in the 2022 draft. One of the ways to fill that missing second-round pick and add even more draft picks to the scouting staff’s ammunition is to explore a trade-down situation with their 2022 first-round pick.
As I wrote in this most recent Monday Mailbag, there’s a perfect example from the most recent draft as the 15th overall pick was traded. The Dallas Stars traded the 15th overall pick to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for the 23rd overall pick, a second-round pick (48th overall), and a fifth-round pick.
The going price for moving down 5-10 spots from the middle of the first round is adding a second-round pick and potentially a late-round selection as well. It would require a team valuing a player at 15 higher than most and thinking that they are getting a top-10 talent from the 2022 draft by trading up for the Canucks’ pick.
There are a few players who are potential sliders in the draft and could be highly valued by a team that is originally slated to select in the 19-26 range.
Brad Lambert, Jonathan Lekkerimäki, Connor Geekie, and Cutter Gauthier are four examples of players who are ranked in a lot of scouting sites’ top 15 and could be there for a team to draft at 15 if there are some surprises in the top-10 picks—as there always is. These four prospects stick out because they have some elite offensive skills but have question marks around certain parts of their games. A team could easily have Lambert or Geekie as a top-5 talent and be willing to move to get them if they are available — this is what the Canucks need to try and take advantage of.
Here are five potential trade packages for the Canucks to explore when it comes to trading down.
Canucks’ 15th pick for Montreal’s 29th overall pick (projected), 33rd overall, and 2023 5th round pick (Calgary)
The Montreal Canadiens are going to make a big splash in their own arena when they walk up to the stage and select Shane Wright with the first overall pick. As the host of the draft, the Canadiens could make a big splash by moving up in the first round with the possession of the Calgary Flames’ pick that they acquired in the Tyler Toffoli trade. On top of the late first-round pick, the Canadiens would throw in the first pick of the second round as well as the fifth-round pick of the Flames that was also acquired in the Toffoli trade.
Montreal may want to make a splash and the Canucks are looking to add depth to their prospect pool. This could be a trade that works well for both sides.
Canucks’ 15th pick to Arizona for 30th (projected) overall and 32nd overall (projected) selections in the draft
The Arizona Coyotes have a ton of top-64 picks in the next three drafts. They currently possess 13 picks in the first two rounds of the 2022, 2023 and 2024 drafts. If the Coyotes are high on a player who slides to 15, the Canucks could be able to acquire two picks late in the first round of this summer’s draft.
This trade would give the Coyotes a chance to draft a high-end player who may be a high-risk but high reward prospect. It also allows the Canucks to get a defenseman while also taking the best forward available. This trade is viewing the balance of value, and with where both teams are at with their current draft capital, it could work out for each side.
The two picks coming back from the Coyotes are from the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche. These picks will very likely move from 30th and 32nd, depending on when Carolina and Colorado get eliminated from the playoffs or win the Stanley Cup.
Canucks’ 15th pick to Arizona for 30th (projected) overall, 43rd pick and a 2023 third-round pick
We just spoke about Arizona having a lot of top picks to move around. I do expect them to be confident in the trade market on draft day because of their ability to basically make a trade to draft wherever they want in this draft.
This trade gives the Canucks two added picks over the next two drafts and still gives them a chance to draft a player late in the first round this summer.
Canucks’ 15th pick to New York Rangers for 26th (projected) overall, fourth-round pick (Jets), fifth-round pick and a 2023 or 2024 second-round pick
This is a longer and more complicated play as the Rangers have conditions on this summer’s first-round pick as well as conditions on their 2023 second-round pick. The Rangers would need to lose their current series against the Hurricanes to keep their first-round pick and the second-round pick depends on some conditions with the Jets.
The Canucks would move down 11 spots but add value in a fourth and fifth-round pick this draft as well as a top-64 pick in the coming years.
It’s not the sexiest trade but it does provide a lot of value for the Canucks to rebuild their prospect pipeline.
Canucks’ 15th pick and their sixth-round pick to Anaheim Ducks for 22nd overall, 55th overall (Pittsburgh), and their fourth-round pick
This trade is very similar to the one we saw the Stars and Red Wings make at the 2021 draft.
The Canucks move down seven spots and can still draft a prospect who likely launches into being the top prospect of the system while adding a second-round pick as well as moving up from the sixth round to the fourth round.
Adding value is key and if there is as much trust in the Canucks’ current scouting department as we believe, this gives them more firepower to add to the prospect pool.
To wrap all this up, we don’t believe that there is a massive difference between a player who is available at 15 and a player who is available in the mid-20s at the 2022 draft. The Canucks want to take the best available player but there are some big defensively sound defensemen who are going to go in the later parts of the first round and that is a massive need for this organization’s prospect pool.
There are multiple options for the Canucks to explore when it comes to trading down in the 2022 draft and we didn’t even mention prospects from other teams coming in trades. We’re confident the Canucks can find a good defensivemen prospect in the 20-55 range of this draft. If the team can swing their 15th overall pick into two selections in that range, it will help bolster the prospect pool with the best player available and the ability to address their prospect weakness on defense.
It’s sure to be a busy draft day and it is good to know that the Canucks have options. They may be very high on a player available at 15 but knowing that the option to move down is there provides flexibility with how they want to continue to build on the current prospect situation.
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