With draft day approaching, everyone is reading about prospects — what does the future hold for your favorite team? How do we get another pick in the first round? — the list can go on forever. Today, I would like to focus on who I believe the Vancouver Canucks should take with their pick, do an analysis of the player, and then a quick projection.
The Vancouver Canucks are proud to select:
Weight: 181 lbs
Age: 18 years old
I know someone out there is going to cringe as they read that name. However, you won’t be cringing when Peyton Krebs becomes a trust-worthy, go-to player, who is consistently one of the best Canucks every night. Why cringe? His Achilles injury? He’s going to fully recover from it and still be a stellar hockey player. This won’t hamper him for long. The fact that certain mocks have him falling into the late teen picks — even some as low as the early 20s — is ridiculous. No team is going to let someone so talented fall that far.
Krebs is a dynamite point-producer. Offensively, he’s a dominant force that portrays excellent puck skills, superb decision making, and if given the time and space he will make teams pay for it. His pass is accurate and crisp. While Krebs leans towards being a pass-first center, he boasts a hard, accurate shot. His offensive sense is on display when he is creating space, making moves, and fabricating opportunities for himself and his team mates. In 64 games this season, Krebs scored 68 points (19 goals, 49 assists) on a team that only scored 181 goals. That means that Krebs’ point total accounts for 37.5 percent of the offense the team produced. In comparison to other draft-eligible prospects, that’s 6.2 percent higher than Dylan Cozens (31.3), 9.4 percent higher than Kirby Dach (28.1), and 8.6 percent higher than 20-year-old dynamo Brett Leason (28.9).
Krebs is a smooth and shifty skater. While he doesn’t have the greatest top-end speed, his edgework is phenomenal. He is able to work his way out of tight checking, close-situations, and also because of his work on his skates he is able to close gaps on the backcheck with ease.
Defensively, he is responsible in all three zones. He’s always in the right position using his stick, being proactive to disrupt plays and is always willing to go to the dirty areas to fight for the puck.
Even though he isn’t the biggest player, he never shies away from physical play. He can more than handle physical play, bigger opponents, and he always makes sure to finish his checks. While being an aggressive player, he doesn’t take stupid penalties that hurt his team.
It’s hard to come up with an original comparison. Stylistically, he’s been compared to Matt Duchene, Dylan Larkin, and (best case scenario) Mat Barzal. I’m going to go with the Barzal comparison because of how high I am on this young man. I believe Krebs boasts not only top-six forward potential but top line potential as well. Rather than being a supporting cast player, he will be a player that provides primary offense in any spot he earns on the roster. My projection is that Krebs fulfills his potential and becomes a very good top line left-winger.
Adding Krebs makes sense for the Vancouver Canucks. They deeply lack any sort of high-end talent on the left-wing and Krebs fits that bill. This is the draft where the Canucks need to address that issue. Krebs is still a year or two away from the NHL, but when he gets there, look out! Just imagine Canucks fans: a Krebs – Pettersson – Boeser top line. That’s something to be excited about.
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