With the seventh pick in this 2018 Hockey Wilderness NHL Mock Draft—made up of a collection of some of the most brilliant hockey minds in all the land—the imaginary Vancouver Canucks have imaginarily selected Ty Smith.
The Canucks had a pretty horrendous campaign in ’17-’18 (again) as they finished just three points above the cellar in the Pacific Division, and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Vancouver is a team that really needs help at all positions, especially considering that it scored the sixth fewest goals in the NHL while simultaneously allowing the sixth most. Factor in the respective retirements of both Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and this is a club that has a long road to climb to return itself to relevancy.
But Vancouver does have some electric young talent up front, led by Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat, so the time is nigh for some improvement to its dismal blueline to support those young studs. Thus, in comes Smith, an outstanding left-shot defenseman who has been skating with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL for the past two seasons plus change.
The Scouting Report
After being drafted first overall in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, Smith has lived up to his hype, and has grown into one of the most feared offensive defensemen in his league. Standing 5’11” and weighing in at just 175 pounds, Smith is not gigantic by any means. But he’s definitely fleet of foot and is able to use his smooth, shifty skating to get himself out of trouble and push the pace at the offensive end of the ice.
My guess is that the majority of Canucks fans would be quite pleased to see a smooth-skating defenseman firing crisp passes onto the tape of Boeser for open looks and springing Horvat with pristine stretch passes for many years to come.
Future Considerations describes Smith—an 18-year-old Alberta native—as a “confident young man who competes hard nightly and exhibits exemplary game management.” It also compares him to a young Duncan Keith and indicates that Smith has plenty of promise to hold down a top-four spot in an NHL lineup in the coming years.
In 69 (nice) games for Spokane this past season, Smith posted 14 goals and 59 assists.
How He Fits the Wild
Smith will be a solid NHL defenseman, but based on the current make-up of Minnesota’s roster, I honestly don’t know that he would be a great fit for this team to move up and select him. With new GM Paul Fenton expected to start tweaking things relatively soon, I could imagine a world in which one of Minnesota’s young offensive defensemen gets moved in favor of some additional help up front. But unless that happens, I don’t see the Wild taking a smallish puck-moving defenseman in this upcoming Draft.
If it somehow happens that Smith is available when the Wild is on the clock with its first pick, then they would have no choice but to snag him, regardless of his position. In that unlikely scenario, he would absolutely be the best player available to Minnesota.
How the Wild Could Get Him
Ok, but let’s say… for s***s and giggles… that a spot does somehow become available on the Wild’s blueline, and the new GM badly wants to draft a puck-moving defenseman. A blockbuster trade would have to happen to obtain Smith’s rights, because the Wild would most likely have to slide into the top ten to get him.
What I could see potentially happening is Smith dropping in the draft a bit, simply because crazier things have happened, and because I could see teams shying away from a relatively small defenseman. If Smith were to somehow still be available around the fifteenth pick, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see the Wild move up to snag this smooth skater.