The Vancouver Canucks have drafted winger Brock Boeser, selecting the star American 23rd overall in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft.
In choosing Boeser, the Canucks passed on several highly regarded defencemen and forwards, who all slipped past their number in a deep draft – players like Kelowna’s Nick Merkley, Prince George’s Jansen Harkins, Ottawa’s Travis Konecny, and puck-moving blueliners like Oliver Kylington and Jeremy Roy were all available at the end of Friday’s first round, although all were thought to be potential Top 15 picks at various times in the process.
Boeser had 35 goals in 57 games for the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks in 2015, and has committed to the University of North Dakota for next season. After making the selection, Vancouver general manager Jim Benning told Sportsnet he sees Boeser as a pure goal-scorer, and the first-rounded will be counted on to bury pucks for the Canucks well into the future.
“The book on sniper Boeser is that his wicked shot is only enhanced by the hockey IQ and natural instincts to get it off in the right spot at the right time,” wrote Sportsnet’s Luke Fox, in May. “He looks up to fellow Minnesota-born scorers Derek Stepan and Kyle Okposo, but some scouts have compared his game to Patrick Sharp’s.
McDavid, as expected, goes No. 1 to Edmonton
While suspense littered the majority of the first season, the early going played out as widely – almost universally – expected, with the Edmonton Oilers taking Connor McDavid first overall, and the Buffalo Sabres selecting Jack Eichel second.
McDavid’s Erie Otters teammate, Dylan Strome, was selected third overall by the Arizona Coyotes, while the Toronto Maple Leafs nabbed dynamic London Knights star Mitch Marner fourth. Top-ranked defenceman Noah Hanifin went fifth to the Carolina Hurricanes, followed by Pavel Zacha (6th, New Jersey) and Ivan Provorov (7th, Philadelphia).
Zach Werenski (8th, Columbus), Timo Meier (9th, San Jose), and Mikko Rantanen (Colorado) rounded out Friday’s top 10.
It was the Boston Bruins, however, who shook up the draft with two blockbuster trades, just hours before selections began. The Bruins shipped Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames and Milan Lucic to the L.A. Kings, recovering two first-round picks to give them three consecutive selections from 13th to 15th.
They used those three chances on Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk, and Zachary Senyshyn, in that order.
Coquitlam’s Matthew Barzal – who plays for the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds – went 16th to the New York Islanders, who traded up with Edmonton for the rights to that pick.
Lawson Crouse (11th, Florida) and Denis Guryanov (12th, Dallas) rounded out the draft’s top half.
VIDEO: 2014-15 USHL: Brock Boeser Highlights
VIDEO: Brock Boeser interview ahead of USHL/NHL Prospects Game