It’s Draft Day – Canucks NHL Picks
Each year the Canucks walk into the draft with lofty expectations placed upon them by not only themselves but more so the fans, to leave draft night with some sort of addition or alteration to the roster that will change the team’s fortunes both immediately and in the future.
Later today the Vancouver Canucks hold the 26th overall pick, while chances are slim in finding a serviceable talent that far down the board, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility as the Canucks did nab Ryan Kesler and Cory Schneider with the 25th and 26th picks in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
While a diamond in the rough and a potential deal for Roberto Luongo await, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane at some of the successful and not so successful draft nights for the Vancouver Canucks.
Sure Fire Hit
HAT TRICK: These draft day gems have been cornerstones for the Vancouver Canucks since pretty much day one.
The Sedins (#2 and #3, 1999 draft)
Originally thought to be a deep draft, it quickly became a two player event. Through some strategic wheeling and dealing, Brian Burke posted his finest moment as a general manager when he was able to put together a series of deals that would allow the Canucks to walk away with both Daniel and Henrik
*other than Martin Havlat at #26, this draft has been viewed as an overall failure
Cory Schneider (#26, 2004 draft)
While this one still is up in the air, Schneider’s impressive play over the last couple of seasons has made the impossible and unthinkable a reality. Only a few years after signing a monster contract, the Canucks are looking to replace their number one goaltender Roberto Luongo game give #35 the spotlight.
Sure Fire Miss
OFFSIDE: You could basically take any of the Canucks picks (other than the twins) during the 90’s and throw them in here. During this decade the Canucks missed out on Jaromir Jagr, Saku Koivu, Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel Briere, Simon Gagne, Brad Richards and Pavel Datsyuk to name but a few.
Bryan Allen (#4, 1988 draft)
Allen bounced back and forth between the Canucks and the IHL, AHL and Russia in the span of six years. While he did provide size on the blue line, he was best known for his time in Vancouver as being part of the deal the brought Luongo over from Florida.
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: If the Canucks wanted to grab a defenseman, Andrei Markov, Jaroslav Spacek and Brad Stuart all would have been better choices.
Alex Stojanov (#7, 1991 draft)
In 62 games with the Vancouver Canucks, the highly touted Stojanov posted just a single point. The only good thing about Stojanov’s time with the Canucks is that he was traded for Markus Naslund.
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: With only seven NHL career points, pretty much anyone else in the draft would have given the Canucks more production, but Alexei Kovalev, Ray Whitney, Scott Niedermayer and the aforementioned Naslund all would have been better options.
GAME MISCONDUCT: Pink slips should have been handed out to the genius behind these selections.
Jere Gillis (#4, 1977 draft)
It’s not that Gillis had a horrid NHL career, he finished 23rd overall in his class in terms of NHL points, which isn’t all that bad.
Although this selection was made a year after I was born, I fondly remember two names who were on heavy rotation during street hockey games in the 80’s, one was Wayne Gretzky, the other was the 15th overall pick in the ’77 draft, Mike Bossy!
Jason Herter (#8, 1989 draft)
A couple years prior to drafting Stojanov, the Canucks selected Herter, who set the bar as one of the biggest draft day busts in team history.
With a three year, $500,000 contract in his pocket, he isn’t quite in Big Country territory for grand theft robbery, but considering he never even laced up his skates in a regular season game, it is a felony nonetheless.
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom (the Red Wings scouts certainly earned their money in this draft!), Pavel Bure…ok, at least the Canucks got one right.