Homegrown players for the Canucks
The current incarnation of the Canucks is the finest team in the history of the organization. They have highlight reel talent, possess five division titles in six seasons, and came within 60 minutes of winning the Cup last year.
However, some of the key figures are entering their early 30s and others will be free agents in the near future.
Assuredly, GM Mike Gillis has his long term transition plan in motion, but maybe here at North West Sportsbeat we could make a suggestion.
One of the main drawbacks for the Vancouver Canucks is that there are relatively few homegrown players here, unlike in Montreal where a conscious effort has always been part of the piecing together of teams.
BC born players have been a rare sight in Rogers Arena and the old Pacific Coliseum for the history of the team.
It would be great to see more locals as part of any future great team because it bonds the fans and team in a way that most players cannot contribute.
Here are some names I would love to see return to BC in a Canucks uniform, ranked from the very unlikely to more possible candidacies.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Burnaby)
He is one of a very small group of NHL players born in BC to have been selected first overall. The likelihood of the Oilers not making any effort to hold on to this fantastical young player well into the future is pretty remote but it sure would be thrilling to have the slender star with the exceptional vision plying his trade in Van City a few years down the road as an established legend.
Jamie Benn (Victoria)
Benn is one of those players that fans can truly connect with in respect and devotion. He was drafted fairly late, 129th overall in the fourth round, but has willed his way to the top of the Dallas Stars organization.
He plays hungry all the time and has a real nose for the net, while also putting in a hard shift at every opportunity.
Evander Kane (Vancouver)
Kane is a true BC hockey player. He played for his hometown Vancouver Giants and was drafted 4th overall. A perpetual winner as well, Kane has been a member of teams that won the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, the World Juniors and the Memorial Cup.
He is skilled, gritty, fast and tough (his father was a boxer).
I could see him certainly keen to head home one day.
Milan Lucic (Vancouver)
The bruising, goal scoring left winger is a Boston Bruin with a Stanley Cup ring, at the expense of the Canucks unfortunately, but all would be forgiven if he could be convinced to come back home.
He is also a dedicated family man, with a Memorial Cup ring as a Vancouver Giant too, and could be quite keen to be lured home in the not too distant future.
Shea Weber (Sicamous)
Weber is a first pair, two way beast of a defenseman. He has a hammer of a shot, a mean streak and thrives on high minutes of playing time. Mike Gillis would have to do some serious contract restructuring to fit him in under the cap, but look at what the return would be.
So, which prodigal BC boys would you like to see return to the fold some day?