Canucks Look to Move Up From 26th Position in NHL Draft
Determined to form a formidable team for next season, the Vancouver Canucks are doing everything they can to move up from the team's 26th position in the NHL draft.
The objective has kept Canucks general manager Mike Gillis on the move, traveling to Pittsburgh from the NHL's award ceremony and governors meeting in Las Vegas.
Gillis refused to comment on report that goalie Roberto Luongo will be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who hold the fifth pick in the July 1 draft, but his assistant confirmed that there is a trade in the works right now.
"There is trade interest that's in place right now," Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman. "It is conceivable that we could make a deal this weekend. That being said, it's also possible we don't do anything before leaving Pittsburgh.
"You're always trying to move up," Gilman added. "You want the best player you can get, and the higher you pick the better your chance of getting that player."
Aside from the Maple Leafs, Gillman said the Canucks are looking for other potential trade partners.
"If we think we can get a player who makes our organization better, we won't bypass a particular trading partner," Gillman said.
The last time the Canucks drafted a player from British Columbia was in 2008 when they picked center Prab Rai.
The Canucks are also eyeing 21-year-old Justin Schultz, a high-scoring defenseman from West Kelowna. He became an unrestricted free agent after failing to sign with the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks drafted Schultz in 2008's second round.
"That's just circumstantial," Gilman said when asked about picking players from British Columbia in the draft. "There's nothing wrong with B.C. players. You don't think we wouldn't have wanted 2011 first-overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins if he were available to us?
"As a British Columbia-based team, it would be great to have more B.C. players in the same way it would be great for the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers to have players from Alberta, and Toronto and Ottawa to have players from Ontario, and Montreal to have players from Quebec," he added.
Gillman added winning the Stanley Cup will be more meaningful with the help of players from British Columbia.
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