Pettersson pick a watershed moment for Canucks

If you looked at Elias Pettersson’s highlight reel on YouTube, you might conclude the Vancouver Canucks just drafted an underfed version of Peter Forsberg.

He has the look of a dynamic playmaker. He has the look of an elite goal scorer. In short, he has the look of a No. 1 centre and if he’s that guy, he’ll be a huge piece for this franchise.

But, and isn’t there always a but for the Canucks on draft day, the consensus opinion among hockey cognoscenti is Jim Benning might have reached to pick Pettersson fifth overall. Benning, that narrative goes, was looking at three North American centres Cody Glass, Casey Mittelstadt and Gabe Vilardi who offered better value than Pettersson. Throw in the obvious fact that the reed thin Swede is likely three years from making an impact on the NHL team and the pick seems risky, maybe too risky for the fifth overall pick.

Either way, the Pettersson selection represents a watershed moment for cheap panthers jerseys the Benning administration. This is Benning’s fourth draft with the Canucks. He’s already picked sixth and fifth twice. For someone with the reputation of a master drafter that’s ample opportunity to lay the foundation for a rebuild and it could be that’s what Benning has done in his four drafts.

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He’s certainly assembled some nice pieces which have the makings of an able supporting cast.

But the key to the rebuild is those three lottery picks: Jake Virtanen, Olli Juolevi and Pettersson. Virtanen and Juolevi are still young and developing but it’s fair to say they’ve been passed by others in their draft class. Now there are questions about Pettersson.

If Virtanen, Juolevi and Pettersson are all front line NHLers, the rebuild will be on schedule. If they’re just average, the Canucks and Benning are in trouble.

One other thing about Benning. There might have been questions about Pettersson. There weren’t a lot of questions about the Canucks two second rounders: Kelowna forward Kole Lind and Owen Sound winger Johan Gadjovich or third rounder Michael DiPietro, the goalie for the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.

Agree with most observers that Jersey and Philly were the big winners in the draft by virtue of moving up to 1 and 2 respectively in the lottery.

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As for the other winners, most pundits singled out Las Vegas, St. Louis and Los Angeles which is interesting because there was a Canucks’ connection with all three teams.

When the Canucks took Pettersson at five, Vegas ended up with Glass as their first of three first rounders. And St. Cheap New Orleans Saints Jerseys In Wholesale Price Louis dealt tough guy Ryan Reaves and a second rounder for Pittsburgh’s first round pick, then took Russian forward Klim Kostin, the top rated European in the draft according to Central Scouting, with the 31st pick.

Pettersson was ranked second behind Kostin among Euros.

One more word about Vegas. It was universally agreed on in hockey circles that the Golden Knights made out like bandits both in the expansion draft and the amateur draft.

Former Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman was a consultant to the Knights leading up to the expansion draft. It’s now been over three years since Gilman was let go by the Canucks. It’s inexplicable that he remains unemployed. Lions starting quarterback part way through the 2015 season, Jonathon Jennings is now 2 10 against Edmonton and Calgary, including playoff games. You can start taking Jennings seriously as an elite quarterback when he starts beating those two teams consistently.

And finally, don’t know if you’d call the Lions season opening loss to Edmonton on Saturday night a wake up call but it did reinforce a couple of realities about this team.

First off, their lineup includes six new starters on defence, three new starters on offence and a fourth when tackle Kelvin Palmer gets healthy. Throw in a new kicker in Ty Long and it’s understandable that some parts of the Lions’ game were exposed against a tough, experienced opponent.

“Just because you have good players doesn’t necessarily mean you have a good team,” said Solomon Elimimian. ” We have some new parts. It might take some time to get rolling but I feel we have all the ingredients to be successful.”

Maybe, but against the Esks that new look defence allowed four plays of over 40 yards, including a 76 yard Mike Reilly to Brandon Zylstra hookup with 48 seconds left which led to the game winning field goal. Sorry, that can’t happen.

On the other side of the ball, and stop me if this sounds familiar, the Lions’ offensive line surrendered five sacks and nine pressures on Jennings, which is bad enough. But the Esks produced that pressure while rushing four and covering with eight and that’s

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