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Canucks hope 'perfect world' will lead them to defenseman at 2018 Draft

Canucks hope 'perfect world' will lead them to defenseman at 2018 Draft
Published On: Tue, Jun 12
Sep 22, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancovuer Canucks forward Ronalds Kenins (41) reaches for the puck against San Jose Sharks forward Nikolay Goldobin (82) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The San Jose Sharks won 4-0. Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks are hoping to add youth to their defense, like what they've done at forward with the additions of Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson, general manager Jim Benning said.

The Canucks have the No. 7 pick at the 2018 NHL Draft, to be held at American Airlines Center in Dallas onJune 22-23. Noah Dobson of Acadie-Bathurst of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Quintin Hughes of the University of Michigan and Evan Bouchard of London of the Ontario Hockey League are three of the high-end defensemen that could be available at that spot.

In a recent wide-ranging sit-down with, Benning discussed how the Canucks won't reach for a defenseman at No. 7 if the top prospects at that position are gone; how he's expecting Pettersson, the No. 5 pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, to step right into the lineup in 2018-19; on life without retired forwards Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin; and how a potential Seattle expansion team would make a great rival for Vancouver.

What is your blueprint for the Draft?

"We want to take the best player. We would like, in a perfect world, if the best player is a defenseman at No. 7. We have a lot of depth at forward. We've drafted a lot of forwards the last few years. We feel like we have some real good forwards coming. In a perfect world, if the best player was a defenseman it would be the perfect scenario."

After the top-ranked prospect, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, the next group of players seem to be dominated by forwards. Do you see one of the other highly regarded defensemen being available at No. 7?

"This is going to be an interesting draft, I feel, because there are some teams that pick ahead of us that a€¦ it depends on whether they pick for need vs. best player. All the prognosticators have a certain group of players in the top five. But all of a sudden if some teams start picking for need and taking more defensemen even though it's not that group of five players everyone said it would be, then some players are going to fall. Picking at No. 7, I think we're in a good spot that way in that we're going to get a player we really like."

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