The Vancouver Canucks selected five players in the 2012 draft, and as they now turn their attention to this summer’s draft, they may finally want to look at some of the close-to-home talent available in the WHL. This year’s draft is incredibly deep, and features a lot of talent from the Western Hockey League, which just happens to have a franchise in Vancouver as well.
In the first round of last year’s draft, the Canucks selected OHL center Brendan Gaunce. The 18-year-old went on to have the best season of his career with the Belleville Bulls, scoring 33 goals and picking up 60 points. He’ll likely head back to juniors but will get a chance to turn a few heads at training camp, an opportunity the lockout took away from him this year. The Canucks took another center in the second round, selecting Alexandre Mallet of the Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL). Mallet was coming off a 34-goal, 81-point season with the Oceanic, and got a taste of both the AHL and ECHL during the 2013-14 season. Most of his season was spent with the Kalamazoo Wings, where he had 10 goals and 29 points in 44 games. He’s a gritty forward, and should have a chance to play in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves next season.
With no third or fourth round picks, the Canucks selected defenseman Ben Hutton in the fifth round. Hutton just completed an impressive freshman season at the University of Maine. In the sixth round they looked to winger Wesley Myron. This season Myron played at Boston University before joining the Kalamazoo Wings for 17 games. With their final pick, the Canucks selected Matt Beattie, who looks to have a lot of work before being a pro prospect. In 15 games at Yale University, Beattie recorded no points.