Some Canuck fans were throwing their hands up in frustration earlier this summer over Vancouver’s decision to draft an undersized but highly skilled swedish talent in Elias Pettersen, who was taken with the 5th overall pick. Much of the reasoning behind this frustration was the decision to leave Portland Winterhawks phenom, Cody Glass on the board for Vegas to snatch up just one pick later.
Now that the dust has settled and it’s looking a little sunnier in Vancouver, how have these players grown thus far this season?
At the moment, Cody Glass has tallied a very impressive 30 points in 18 games. Nothing to scoff at. Elias Pettersen; however, was promoted to the Swedish Elite League where he’s playing against men – so far he has produced 20 points in 17 games. Because the Swedish league boasts stiffer competition than the WHL, I’m giving the edge to Pettersen.
What’s interesting about this comparison is not necessarily that the two have impressed thus-far and are both likely destined for productive NHL careers – rather, it’s the play of Vancouver’s second rounder that has people like myself taking notice.
Kole Lind, who was also a WHL draft pick from the Kelowna Rockets, has amassed 32 points in 20 games – producing at a nearly identical pace of Cody Glass in the same league. At 33rd overall, Lind looks like one of those draft-steals that could provide long-term scoring depth for the Canucks starting as early as next season. So given that the Canucks managed to secure both Pettersen and Lind in the same draft year, the sour taste in many fans’ mouths over Cody Glass has definitely sweetened a little.
Just for good measure, the Canucks also got their hands on Jonah Gadjovic, a Lucic-esque power forward playing for Owen Sound who has amassed a more than respectable 13 points in 11 games. And lets not forget, they also nabbed stud-goalie Michael DiPietro from the Windsor Spitfires in the 3rd round who stands a decent chance of cracking Team Canada’s World Junior roster.
Every time the IIHF puts on their World Junior Championships (a Christmas tradition I always look forward to), I envy the NHL teams that have some elite talent in their system showcasing their skills. Well, for the first time since Virtanen’s… ahhh… less than ideal performance a couple years back – the Canucks may finally have some more talent to showcase themselves.
Kole Lind, Jonah Gadjovic, and Michael DiPietro may all crack the Canadian squad and Elias Pettersen is a lock for the Swedish team. It should make for some entertaining hockey with a little extra emotional investment from Canuck fans.