Jun 082010
 

With the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles only a matter of weeks away, it’s time to look back at recent Vancouver Canucks draft picks and see where they are in the pipeline in order to assess their needs at this year’s draft. Some of the Canucks’ prized draftees have potential to be bonafide and prolific players in the NHL; however, a few are approaching bust status.

1. Cody Hodgson: Even though Cody Hodgson missed 55 games for the OHL’s Brampton Battalion as well as an opportunity to captain Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in Saskatoon, Canucks fans have reason to remain positive at the prospects of seeing the 10th overall selection in 2008 in Vancouver colours in the fall. As most fans know, Hodgson’s stunning 2009 year which saw him named the CHL’s player of the year as well as play in the AHL playoffs with the Manitoba Moose took a toll on the 18-year old. By July’s prospects training camp with the Canucks, Hodgson was playing with a bulging disc for months before it sidelined him indefinitely in September. However, with time off to repair his ailing back, many are hopeful Hodgson will slot himself into the third-line centre role with the Canucks next season. Canucks Projection: Ready now

2. Cory Schneider: The 2004 first-round selection has had a long and winding road towards sticking in the NHL but it appears as though Cory Schneider will finally stick with the big club next fall. At the end of May, Vancouver inked the former Boston College netminder to a two-year contract, but most importantly a one-way deal. With last year’s backup Andrew Raycroft set to hit the free agent market, the waiting game is over for Schneider, who will “play at least 15 games next season” according to Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman in order to audition himself to other NHL teams in need of young goaltending. Canucks Projection: Ready now

3. Michael Grabner: On some occasions during the postseason, the Austrian native was one of the few players on the Canucks who generated chances against the Chicago Blackhawks. Grabner, drafted 14th overall in 2006, got a 20-game audition with the Canucks last season and acquitted himself well in the playoffs, scoring a goal in nine contests. While an unfortunate shoulder injury off the ice sidelined him for 21 games, it’s clear that Grabner has improved his game by leaps and bounds in Manitoba and he appears poised to join Hodgson and Schneider in the pro ranks. Canucks Projection: Ready now

4. Jordan Schroeder: Last year’s first-round selection had a lukewarm season with the University of Minnesota after a sparkling freshman season, and wasn’t exactly a force for Team USA at the World Juniors (His production totals were down from last season for both teams), but the diminutive and shifty centre titillated Vancouver fans with a strong showing in the AHL, scoring four goals and nine points in 11 regular season games with the Manitoba Moose before tacking on another six points in six playoff games. If his strong finish with the Moose has shown anything, it’s that Schroeder has potential to be a high-end forward in the NHL but will likely need a year-long apprenticeship in the minors before scratching the surface on that potential. Canucks Projection: Ready in 2011

5. Anton Rodin: Playing with Brynas of the Swedish Elite League, Rodin registered a paltry five points in 36 games. Nothing to write home about for the 2009 second-round draft pick, but it was his performance at the World Juniors with Sweden which has Canucks management salivating at what he could become. Rodin had three goals and seven points, tying him with Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (one of the Edmonton Oilers’ top prospects) for the team lead. He also apparently grew a couple of inches in the last year, which is significant because his (lack of) size was a consideration when he was drafted. As a second round selection not many fans are expecting Rodin to have a long-term impact like Hodgson or Schroeder, but it’d be nice to see and wouldn’t be a surprise, either. Canucks Projection: Ready in 2012

6. Sergei Shirokov: Of all youngsters to crack the Canucks lineup last fall, it was Shirokov who survived. But evidently the journey didn’t last long after a six-game stint saw Shirokov go pointless and forced the Canucks to send the youngster to the Moose. But unlike many of his Russian counterparts who sulk back across the Atlantic to the land of borscht and vodka, Shirokov stuck to his game in Manitoba and performed admirably, scoring 22 goals and 45 points in 76 games. Despite his lack of playoff production (two assists in six games), Shirokov will again get another look in the summer for an NHL roster spot and at the very least is tantalizing trade bait should the Canucks pursue that route. Canucks Projection: Ready in 2011

7. Yann Sauve: For the fourth straight season, the hulking Montreal native saw his point totals improve from the year before. Sauve, selected 41st overall by the Canucks in 2008, was a frequent member of the Saint John’s penalty kill but also showed prowess at even strength. In 2009, Sauve finished the season with a minus-4 rating and in his rookie season was a woeful minus-25, but this year was a staggering plus-42. While part of that improvement goes to the Sea Dogs’ success, Sauve’s biggest flaw has been his play in his own end. If Sauve can make strides in Manitoba next season, the Canucks could have a strong defenseman on their hands. Canucks Projection: Ready in 2011

8. Kevin Connauton: “K-Conn” left a Western Michigan program in shambles for the Vancouver Giants in the WHL last season and showed he could put up big numbers. In 69 regular season games, the 2009 third-rounder scored 24 goals and 72 points before adding 13 points in 16 playoff games. However, despite being a powerplay demon and a scoring threat almost every shift, Connauton was a plus-4 on the year, dreadful numbers considering his totals. The Edmonton native must improve his play in his own end if he wants to take the next step. Canucks Projection: Ready in 2012

9. Peter Andersson: As a Swedish blueliner taken in the third round, it’s easy for Canucks fans to think they may have another Alexander Edler on their hands. Even though Peter Andersson’s time is far, far away at this stage, he was one of the youngest players for the Sweden team at the WJC and the youngest on the Frolunda team he plays with at the Swedish Elite League. He has the same height as Edler did in his youth and the Canucks hope he will fill out in the next couple of seasons. Evidently, the club has shown they are optimistic about him after the team signed both he and Rodin to pro contracts at the beginning of June. Canucks Projection: Ready in 2012

10. Taylor Ellington: Ellington was the Canucks’ second pick in the 2007 draft and at the time was perceived to be the safe pick who had a good chance to one day crack the roster. He was taken 33rd overall ahead of other second round selections Oscar Moller (52nd), Wayne Simmonds (61st) and most importantly PK Subban (43rd). Ellington wrapped up his career with the Everett Silvertips last year and for the majority of this past season has played for his native Victoria Salmon Kings, with spurts of Moose callups mixed in between. His work ethic has come into question and he seems to have a problem adjusting to the pro game. Canucks Projection: Ready in 2012 (if that)

  • Nico

    Grabner was injured with an ankle injury, not a shoulder one.

    But overall, great read and good info for the prospects.

  • Nico

    Grabner was injured with an ankle injury, not a shoulder one.

    But overall, great read and good info for the prospects.

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  • Rob

    Anderson was a 5th round pick

  • Rob

    Anderson was a 5th round pick

  • Mandoaaron

    this could be a breakout year for the Canucks but I said that last year..

  • Dazzling_steph

    Okay so first of all the canucks do not suck ! I love the Canucks and me and my family always sit down and watch there games. Like c'mon guys you are just blaming the Goalie and LUONGO is awesome i love him! And it wasn't luos fault they lost…. last time i checked theres more then just 1 person in a team . Luongo is awesome and i still say the whole team is awesome and i will always be a VANCOUVER CANUCKS FAN. & for you haters out there saying the canuck are horrible … well just remember who you were cheering for before they were even in the play offs. If you were a true fan you wouldn't be hating on them, yes i know it was a bit upsetting seeing the team we love lose , but thats life not everyone can when . & i say we just keep on cheering for the Canucks and watch them win it next year :) Im 13 and i <3 the Canucks ! So lets think positive! GO CANUCKS! And keep on cheering for them ! :D

  • Haha

    suck it

  • Dazzling_steph

    Okay so first of all the canucks do not suck ! I love the Canucks and me and my family always sit down and watch there games. Like c'mon guys you are just blaming the Goalie and LUONGO is awesome i love him! And it wasn't luos fault they lost…. last time i checked theres more then just 1 person in a team . Luongo is awesome and i still say the whole team is awesome and i will always be a VANCOUVER CANUCKS FAN. & for you haters out there saying the canuck are horrible … well just remember who you were cheering for before they were even in the play offs. If you were a true fan you wouldn't be hating on them, yes i know it was a bit upsetting seeing the team we love lose , but thats life not everyone can when . & i say we just keep on cheering for the Canucks and watch them win it next year :) Im 13 and i <3 the Canucks ! So lets think positive! GO CANUCKS! And keep on cheering for them ! :D

  • Haha

    suck it

  • Radg56

    Are there any old time Canuck fans out there that remeber a canuck draft pick from the 70 or 80′s that was given a car as signing bonus and cracked up the car off the side of the mountain I think he was from Trail or somewhere in the coutanies pardon my spelling

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