With the 2018 NHL Entry Draft behind us, let’s take a look at the six new faces in the Canucks organization. Vancouver selected three defensemen, two forwards, and a goaltender in this years’ draft. The picks by round were:
Hughes: Speed and skill is Hughes’ bread and butter. Scouts describe him as “an elite defensive talent that has mastered the elements of speed and decision-making. He is calculated in his handling of the puck and well-versed in his ability to limit time and space for the opposition without the puck.” The Orlando, FL native made his mark immediately as a freshman at the University of Michigan scoring 29 points (5-24-29) in 37 games. That was good for the third most points by a rookie defenseman in collegiate hockey. He was dynamic in the NCAA playoffs leading Michigan to a Frozen Four appearance. To close out his draft season, he was named to the World Championship roster for the United States and held his own playing against professionals for the first time in his career. He tallied two assists in 10 games, helping the U.S. win bronze. He is expected to return to the University of Michigan for at least one more season to round out his game further and work on adding strength.
Woo: Woo became the second-highest pick of Chinese decent in draft history when he was selected 37thoverall on Saturday. Tipping the scales at just about 200 pounds, Woo plays a physical game and his hits are often punctuated by a Ric Flair-esque “Woo!” chant from the home crowd in Moose Jaw. “Defensively, Jett is one of the best in the league,” says his scouting report from Hockey Prospect. “He is always in the right spot to make the play. Going back to retrieve the puck his head is always up and on a swivel. Jett seldom loses a puck battle.” The sturdy defenseman can also put up points, netting 25 points (9-16-25) in 44 games this past season and has collected 48 points (14-34-48) in 116 career WHL games.
Madden: The son of former NHLer John Madden was selected 68thoverall. He was named to the USHL All-Rookie Second Team in 2017-18 after finishing tied for eighth among first year skaters, collecting 34 points (15-19-34) in 50 games played. He was named Team East's most valuable player and first star at the 2018 USHL/NHL Top Prospects game. “Tyler has quick hands and feet with puck on his stick,” says his scouting report from Hockey Prospect. “He has the ability to beat defenders one on one with his skill by assessing his opponent’s body positioning and exposing the time and space they give.” International Scouting Services calls Madden “a very skilled forward” with “high end puck skills,” and also describes him as a “complete 200-foot player.” He is committed to Northeastern University for the 2018-19 season.
Utunen: Utunen, selected 130thoverall, collected 12 points (2-10-12) in 28 games with Leki and appeared in 11 games with Tappara in 2017-18. The 5'10", 169-pound defenseman captained Team Finland’s under-18 World Junior Championships to a gold medal last year. Hockey Prospect describes Utunen as a “solid two-way defenseman” and praises his hockey IQ, noting, “he reads the play nicely and usually plays a simple game so that he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes on the ice.”
Manukyan: Manukyan, the 186thoverall pick, recorded two points (1-1-2) in 24 games with Avangard Omsk in the KHL and 12 points (8-4-2) in 12 games with Omskie Yastreby of the MHL. He played five games at 2018 World Junior Championship, registering two assists with Team Russia. In 2016-17, he became the first player in the MHL to score over 100 points after he registered 105 (39-66-105) with Omskie Yastreby.
Thiessen: Thiessen, the 192ndoverall pick, appeared in 34 games with the Steinbach Pistons of the MJHL. He posted a record of 28-3-1 and a 2.06 goals-against average. Thiessen was named to the MJHL All-Rookie Team, the MJHL Best GAA, MJHL Champion and the MJHL First All-Star Team. He is committed to the University of Maine.