So I was sitting in the barber shop the other day and as any good chop shop should, the conversation focused on the sporting world, more specifically the Vancouver Canucks (heaven forbid Vancouverites talk about something other than hockey!).
Now although my passion lies on the hardcourt, I do believe that I know my fair share of puck talk and since I have been a Canucks fan since waaaaay back in the day when Tony Tanti scribbled his signature on a 8×11 glossy for me, I occasionally feel the need to share my two cents.
For years it has left me dumbfounded that the Canucks have had little success in the draft.
Yes of course there were such gems as Cam Neely (whoops that one slipped away!), Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, the Sedin Twins and Kessler, there have also been some doozies.
Dan Woodly (7th – 86), Jason Herter (6th -89), Petr Nedved (2nd- 90…had the Canucks paired Jagr, who went just a few picks later, with the Russian Rocket, it would have been the ultimate hockey orgasm!). Most recently Cody Hodgson (when Jordan Eberle and Tyler Ennis have had successful starts) are but a few of the mulligans the scouting staff wish they had in their pockets.
Now fair enough, recent years have not been kind to the Nucks as they have finished in the middle of the draft ranks due to their relative success in the regular season, but it baffles me how teams such as Detroit, Anaheim and San Jose all seem to appear one step ahead when it comes to the progression of their youth.
Taking a look at the freshmen that may have a chance at cracking the rotation and seeing some ice time in Vancouver this season, there are only a few “rookies” that appear to have a chance of staying with the club come opening night.
Cody Hodgson – tallied 8 regular season games and a dozen playoff games last season, but made the radio shows and evening highlights more over the last couple of years more for how his injuries have impacted the club than for his talent.
This year will be a put up or shut up season for Hodgson, especially with Kesler’s early season absence opening a wide door.
Mike Duco – Duco has already worked his way into the hearts of fans this preseason with a combination of offensive ability and the knack for getting under opponents skin (think a more classy Sean Avery). Already this season Duco has found his way off of the Christmas card lists of Taylor Hall, Ryan Smyth and Ryan Getzlaf.
With Raffi Torres gone, the Canucks may have just found the poop disturber that they need to fill the fourth line.
Nicklas Jensen – Kicking off his pro debut with a pair of points against the Flames, the 18 year old Jensen is in for a tough battle to stick with the team, as early indications have him on a flight back to Oshawa.
However, with Mason Raymond out until at least mid November, the battle for the right side on the third line could come down to Jensen or Victor Oreskovich.
Eddie Lack – With Bobby Lu locked up for almost as long as Rick DiPietro, but with more favorable results, and Cory Schneider waiting in the wings to show that his rookie season wasn’t a one hit wonder, Lack will have to sit back and wait for someone to leave town.
Now I’m not saying to trade Luongo (which is hard to do with his finances), but with Schneider and Lack waiting in the wings, it might be something the front office should consider if Luuuuuu struggles in the playoffs this season.