The Canucks had a well-rounded day at the draft table.
With their first pick in the second round, they took Danila Klimovich, who is listed at centre. They added a goaltender and a right-shot defencemen in the fifth round. In the sixth round, they drafted a left-shot defenceman and a right-winger.
Just one position remained: left wing. Sure enough, the Canucks drafted a left winger with their final pick of the draft in the seventh round: Lucas Forsell.
201st overall: Left wing Lucas Forsell
The first thing that jumps out about Forsell is his age. He’s still just 17 and won’t turn 18 until September, making him one of the youngest players in this draft class. That gives him a little more runway in terms of development.
In Sweden, Forsell split his season between the under-18 Region league and the under-20 Nationell league, as well as getting one game in the SHL with Färjestad. Even getting called up for one SHL game as a 17 year old is worth noting, even if he only played 3:33 in ice time in that game.
Forsell was far too good for the under-18 league, racking up 6 goals and 10 points in just 4 games. He also produced in the Nationell, tallying 11 points in 13 games, good for 13th in points per game among daft-eligible skaters.
In fact, Forsell’s production in the Nationell wasn’t far off from first-round picks Isak Rosen and Fabian Lysell. Keep in mind, Forsell is 6 months younger than Rosen and 8 months younger than Lysell. Simply by the box scores, getting Forsell in the 7th round seems like good value.
"He's not the biggest guy...but we like the compete."
Forsell is 6’0” tall but just 165 lbs, which means he’s got some room to grow. That hasn’t kept him from playing a high-energy, physical game.
“Obviously he's not the biggest guy right now but we like the compete and he does have some really good skill,” said Caanucks director of scouting Todd Harvey. “He needs to fill out a little bit but he's got some good two-way in his game and I think he's got some real good potential there.”
You can see a little dash of his two-way tenacity and playmaking skill in the below clip. On the far side of the ice in yellow, Forsell catches an opponent from behind and knocks the puck free, then quickly turns it to his advantage. When his one teammate falls, he quickly identifies another passing option for the goal.
In this clip, Forsell makes a move to gain the zone at 3-on-3. It’s imperfect, but it gets the job done. When he loses the puck on a subsequent deke, he’s quick to get it back and set up a teammate for a great scoring chance.
Draft Prospect describes Forsell as a “speedy winger that does everything with pace and agility” in their draft guide and says that he “drives the net hard and plays with energy shift to shift.” Forsell is a smart player who gets his goals from the dirty areas around the net.
He's got decent hands too, as illustrated by the nifty assist below.
With his run-and-gun approach and two-way game, it seems like there’s the potential for a quality middle-six winger in Forsell if he develops appropriately.
"He averages slightly over 4 shots per game."
With a seventh round pick, there will always be question marks and flaws. It’s no different for Forsell, who lacks a quality shot to go with his other skills.
“At first sight he does get some velocity to his shots, but when breaking it down there are some technical flaws that might hinder him from developing his goal scoring ability,” said Hockey Prospect in their draft guide. “First, his shot is all about his arms as his rotations are limited and he hasn't figured out how to activate his hips especially in his slapshot. This is something that holds him back in terms of quickness to his release and also his shot power.”
Forsell makes up for the limitations in shot quality with a lot of shot quantity.
“He averages slightly over 4 shots per game, but it is not unusual to see him record 8-10 shots in a game either,” said Hockey Prospect.
It’s easy to spin this as a positive. If he can work on his shot technique, the other aspects of his offensive game are already in place to create opportunities to score. That’s a gamble worth taking in the seventh round.