Vancouver Canucks at the draft: Who might be there at No. 26?
No consensus on who will be best player available in that first-round slot for defending NHL regular season champions
VANCOUVER — It's a mug's game trying to predict if the Vancouver Canucks will even retain their pick at No. 26 in Friday's NHL entry draft, let alone whom they might select if they stay put.
They may adore a group of players in the range where they're picking and all could be gone before GM Mike Gillis steps to the podium. Maybe they'll go off the board as they did in 2007 with centre Patrick White, who was a head-scratcher back then and remains a non-prospect to this day, abandoned by both the Canucks and San Jose Sharks.
If there is uncertainty at the top end of the first round, imagine what it's like at the bottom. Nevertheless, there are various scouting services who take a stab at these things and, based on a perusal of some, it appears there is no consensus at pick No. 26. Five different selecting groups or individuals opted for five different players at the Canucks’ drafting position.
Here’s who they like:
• Colton Sissons, C, Kelowna Rockets: If the Canucks choose to go local — something not seen in the Gillis era — North Vancouver's Sissons, captain of the Rockets, is rated at No. 26 by the International Scouting Services. There is a wide swing in his potential as Central Scouting had him 14th among North American skaters while The Hockey News placed him 40th overall. Sissons is listed as a six-foot, 190-pound centre and is projected to be second- or third-line material.
• Brady Skjei, D, U.S. Development Program: The Hockey News pegs Minnesota-born Skjei as its 26th pick and touts the 6-3, 203-pound blueliner as an excellent skater but a limited point producer. He's committed to the University of Minnesota program for next year.
• Mike Matheson, D, Dubuque, USHL: TSN's draft guru Bob McKenzie likes Matheson, a native of Pointe Claire, Que., as his No. 26. Matheson played junior in the States last season and is expected to suit up for Boston College, Cory Schneider's alma mater, in 2012-13. Matheson is listed at 6-1, 180 pounds, and collected 22 points in 41 games for Dubuque of the USHL.
• Malcolm Subban, G, Belleville Bulls: NBC's Pierre McGuire, in a mock draft with TSN's Craig Button, opted for P.K.'s little bro at No. 26. Malcolm was rated as the No. 1 North American-trained netminder by Central Scouting but only 48th overall by the Hockey News, a pretty wide disparity.
• Stefan Matteau, LW, U.S. Development Program: McKeen's Hockey likes Matteau, whose father Stephane scored the OT goal in 1994 that propelled the New York Rangers into the 1994 Stanley Cup Final against the Canucks. The younger Matteau is 6-1 and 210 and carries the label “power forward” with him wherever he goes.
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