On the Vancouver Canucks …
Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province: The Canucks know they will be able to draft a foundation player like Pierre-Luc Dubois, Matthew Tkachuk or Olli Juolevi at No. 5 – depending on what the Oilers do with their fourth overall pick. Teams are already calling the Canucks about the fifth overall pick. They aren’t looking to trade the pick, but they have to at least listen to the offers.
“We want to be prepared for any scenario that could come up at the draft. But depending on who’s there when we pick, we know we’re getting a good player. We’re not looking to move the pick, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if teams call and make offers for the pick and we didn’t consider the offers.
“We’re doing our due diligence. If we can move down and get a top-six player and a second-round pick, we have to keep our options open. I’m not saying we’re going to do anything, but we need to be prepared for any situation that may come up. But at the end of the day, if we go in and pick at No. 5, I’m real confident that we’re getting a piece that will help us win and be part of our future for a long time.”
The Canucks interviewed 70 players at the combine.
On the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets …
Chris Nichols of Today’s Slapshot: Bob McKenzie on TSN 1040 on Darren Dreger’s reports that the Blue Jackets, Oilers and Canucks first round picks might be available. Are teams just doing their due diligence, or is there more to it?
“To be honest with you, I think of the three, Columbus might be the one that might be the most open to doing something right now. Although Edmonton, clearly Peter Chiarelli wants to make some changes to his hockey team. And it’s not in a vacuum, saying, ‘Hey, we want to trade 4th pick,’ it’s more along the lines of… we’ve heard a zillion trade rumors, most of them inflated or whatever, coming out of Edmonton involving everybody from Taylor Hall to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Jordan Eberle and on and on and on it goes.
“But if the 4th pick needs to be put into play in an effort to get a front-line defenseman, well, by all means I think the Edmonton Oilers will look at that. But it would really be contingent on that deal specifically says.”
McKenzie notes that some are suggesting the Blue Jackets may not be completely sold on Jesse Puljajarvi, and that they may be looking for a center. Two players McKenzie mentions are Logan Brown and Clayton Keller. They may just be looking to move back a few spots and not out of the top 10 so that they would still have a shot at one of Brown or Keller.
The Canucks may be willing to listen to anything as opposed to saying they want to move the pick for an NHL player.
On the Columbus Blue Jackets …
Ben Kuzma: On rumors that the Blue Jackets could draft Dubois at No. 3 to help replace Ryan Johansen – have been told “no way” that the Blue Jackets pass on Puljajari with the third pick.