Canucks 2022 NHL Draft Target: Owen Pickering

The Vancouver Canucks hold the 15th overall selection in the 2022 NHL Draft. This pick presents Vancouver with many options, whether it is used to select a cornerstone piece or trading it to acquire assets. If they keep the pick, one prospect they could select is 6-foot-5 defenceman, Owen Pickering.

Pickering’s Scouting Report

The first thing that pops out with Pickering is his size. He is listed at 6-foot-5, making him one of the tallest players available in the draft. This season with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League (WHL), he recorded 33 points in 62 games and was named to the WHL Central Division Second All-Star Team. After the Broncos missed the playoffs, he was invited to play for Canada at the World U18s, where he recorded two assists in four games. Throughout the year, he has seen his stock rise going from a “C” ranked prospect at the beginning of the season by NHL Central Scouting to the 15th ranked North American skater in their final rankings.

Owen Pickering Swift Current Broncos
Owen Pickering, Swift Current Broncos (Candice Ward / Swift Current Broncos)

Pickering is a two-way left-shot defenceman with high-end play recognition, puckhandling and puck transition. He understands how to defend against the rush well, and where he needs to be to cut off offensive opportunities when he is in his own zone. When he does get the puck, he is able to find teammates in motion and hit them with strong passes to set up scoring chances. He is also able to carry the puck in himself and is not afraid to make smart pinches to keep pucks alive.

Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide

The only concern is he needs to work on his skating, but that has to do with his size. In the past three years, he has grown from 5-foot-7 to 6-foot-5 which means he needs to change how he moves around the ice. The good news is that he showed skating improvements throughout the season and will benefit greatly from another year in the WHL as he continues to put on weight and adapt to his new size.

Owen Pickering Statistics

Why the Canucks Should be Interested

The Canucks need to add to their defensive prospect pool, plain and simple. With Jack Rathbone expected to make the jump to the NHL full-time in 2022-23, Vancouver does not have another defensive prospect that looks like a lock to become an NHLer. Pickering would instantly become the Canucks best defensive prospect if selected. This draft is all about adding depth to an organization that is ranked near the bottom of the league when it comes to its prospect system. Vancouver has the chance to add a mobile defenceman here that could play in their top-four for a long time.

The other reason is that prospects like Pickering don’t come around very often. He has all the intangibles a team could want in a defenceman. From his defensive game that doesn’t have many holes in it, to his willingness to jump up in the play, he has the potential to thrive in the NHL. Lastly, he plays in the WHL, which will allow Canucks management to keep a close eye on him throughout the season. Picking him is a low-risk, high-reward move that could pay off significantly down the line.

Why The Canucks May Stay Away

One reason the Canucks may not pick Pickering is based on how the draft unfolds. This year’s draft is very unpredictable, and could see some prospects fall farther than expected. It all depends on if a) prospects like Pavel Mintyukov, or fellow WHL defencemen Kevin Korchinski and Denton Mateychuk are available at 15 or b) if the Canucks want to improve their center depth and feel he is not the best player available.

Related: Canucks 2022 NHL Draft Target: Brad Lambert

From a playing standpoint, his skating and his physical game could deter a team from picking him. As mentioned, he did go through a massive growth spurt, which means these are areas he needs to improve on next season. If the Canucks are not confident he can work on these areas, which is highly unlikely, that may be a reason they pass on him.


If Vancouver select Pickering, fans should be ecstatic. He should be able to tidy up his game over the next two seasons and could develop into the best defenceman from this draft. As for those who may argue the Canucks left side is strong enough already, it never hurts to add a prospect of his calibre to your roster. Just look at the Tampa Bay Lightning who had Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev on their left side and went to three straight Stanley Cup Finals, winning two of them. Defence wins championships, after all, which is why he may be the perfect addition to the Canucks organization.

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