Jun 232009

We’ve looked at Sweden already for a bebeh player for the Canucks and now we’re taking a peek at Finland and the RW Toni Rajala. His name is super fun to say, don’t you think? Rajala’s NHL.com profile gives us the goods. In 31 games with his junior team in Finland last season he was a point a game player with 14 goals and 17 assists. He also played 21 games with the mens team and had 5 points (2 goals 3 assists). Toni has international experience with team Finland. At last year’s world juniors he had 3 points in 4 games. When he was at the U18 championships in 2008 he had everyone cooing when he scored 19 points in 6 games. At 5’10″ and 163 he is quite a wee one which may be a concern. Although it’s easier for lil guys to make it these days. TSN has his scouting report from International Scouting Services.

“Rajala has been the focus of a lot of hype from a very young age. He has dominated every level he has played at in Finland and shown very well during international competitions. He had the most eyes looking his way at World U18 Championship he didn’t shy away but rather further pushed the spot light his way. Rajala needed to have a big tournament and do that he did, finishing with 19 pts in 6 games, eclipsing the previous U18 scoring record set by some kid named Ovechkin. He is said to be too small, but he is feisty and didn’t back down when challenged. He had a tremendous second half of the bronze game against Canada and was easily the best player on the ice for either team.”

I like it. He sounds saucy and fun to watch. Rajala’s favourite team is the Red Wings and his favourite player is Henrik Zetterberg. His number one movie is Slap Shot 2 and his favourite band is Nickleback. What is it about hockey players and Nickleback? Oh well. Toni sounds delightful and I won’t hold that against him. You know, we really don’t have enough Finns on the Canucks. I should learn how to say Hi in Finnish in case I run into him at the draft.

Jun 222009

Now let’s take a gander at a forward that the Canucks would be very happy drafting. Zack Kassian is one badass dude and there’s a high chance he’ll be gone by the time the Canucks pick. But if he does happen to fall to the Canucks, well, RAWRRR. It’s all in his NHL.com profile. Kassian had 63 points (24 goals 39 assists) in 61 games with the Peterborough Petes last season. He’s 6’3” and 210 and plays physical. This past season he had 136 penalty minutes. It’s a dirty little secret that the guys who go to the box a lot for playing rough make me swoon. I’ll be honest his roster pic scared me a little. Heh.

Kassian says this about his style of play, As a hockey player, I see myself as an in-your-face type banger, all-around hockey player who goes in the dirty areas and goes to the net hard to get some dirty goals as well.

And this about who he patterns his game after I would have to go with Todd Bertuzzi and Milan Lucic, a little more leaning to Milan Lucic’s style. Both are great players. Obviously Todd was a great player in his prime and they’re definitely two key guys I watch and try to learn stuff off of.

Oooooh. He’ll bring all the girls to the yard. Damn right his hockey style is better than yours. But don’t just take his word for it. Here’s his scouting report.

“Kassian is one of the toughest guys in the OHL and probably the entire draft. Last season as an under-ager there were overage guys in the league who would not take him on. He has not fought much this season (because) he has not had to. He is at his best when he is playing physical and tough along the boards. He protects the puck very well and fights through checks. He has very good play-making and puck-handling abilities.”

Zack’s favourite team is the Toronto Maple Leafs and his favourite player is Todd Bertuzzi. His preferred pump up song is “Thunderstruck” by ACDC and his go to website is dropyourgloves.com. BAD ASS. I was leaning towards the Canucks picking an offensive defenceman in the first round, but I think you have to snap this guy up if you have the chance. Can you imagine him rolling down the ice with Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner? Coooooooo. I’d need a cold shower. Now I just need to make a poster for the draft that says “I’m Kuckoo for Kassian he makes me Kooooo” and we’re good to go.

Jun 222009

Next up in the Canucks potential draft pick file is Calvin De Haan. He’s another one of those delightful offensive defencemen that everyone has flirty eyes for. You can get all his swoonworthy stats in his NHL.com profile. De Haan was first in scoring for Oshawa defencemen last season with 63 points (8 goals 55 assists) in 68 games. At 6’0″ and 170 he might be a little bit small, but his high hockey smarts will probably make up for it. Ooooooh. You know how I like the smart ones. He skated for Canada at the under 18 Championships and had 6 assists in 6 games. His hockey sense and great skating are mentioned in his scouting report.

“Calvin shows a lot of patience and poise for a young defenseman. He has high-end puck skill and passing ability. He has a very good shot, hard and accurate, and a very good ability to get the puck through traffic to the net. He sees the ice very well and moves the puck through traffic. His skating is excellent, mobility, agility and speed. His biggest asset is his hockey sense. He makes very few mistakes.”

A little bit more praise from his Oshawa coach.

“He has that uncanny ability to slow things down in his mind and keep a high level of speed. He’s such a down-to-earth, unassuming, humble guy. That’s the nice thing about Calvin. The NHL part hasn’t entered his mind. Certainly he wants to get drafted, that’s his goal, but it hasn’t been a distraction or a topic of conversation.”

Calvin’s favourite team is the Ottawa Senators and his favourite player is Scott Neidermayer. His nickname is “Vinny” and he won’t get haircuts on game day. That’s soooo precious. I like this little button a lot. He’s obviously talented and sounds smart and classy. You know Gillis likes his bebeh draft picks to bring the smarts and the classy. I think I’ll bring my pom poms and write a cheer about Calvin to perform in front of Gillis at the draft.

Jun 182009

We continue our tour of potential Canucks draft picks with David Rundblad. Our tour today is taking us out of North America and to the wonderful country of Sweden. David Rundblad is a 6’2″ defenceman that shoots right. Cooooo. You know how much I love the Swedish defencemen. I’m sold already, but we’ll continue with the hot stats. You can find all the news that’s fit for print in his NHL.com profile. Rundblad had 10 assists in 45 games during his first season with the Swedish Elite League. In a short jaunt with the junior team he recorded 15 points (8 goals 7 assists) in 10 games. The wee Swede also has international experience with team Sweden and helped them win Silver in 2009 at the World Juniors.

This article compares him to Mike Green and mentions his excellent skating and puckhandling. Here’s his scouting report.

“He has a very good shot. He is a right-handed shot and he is used on the power play, even in the (Elite) League despite being a young player. He is a very smart player. He could be a little more physical in his game, but that is something that he is learning.”

His favourite NHL team is the Buffalo Sabres. For a pre game meal he likes pasta and meatballs. He can get an endless supply of meatballs from IKEA. Just picture him and Alex Edler patrolling the Canucks blueline for years to come, and giving us adorable interviews in their Swedish accents, and scoring pretty little goals…where was I again? Seriously though, his offensive upside could give the Canucks something they’ve been missing from their blueline for awhile. Rundblad would be a great pick at the draft table. I better learn how to say “Welcome to Vancouver” in Swedish before the draft.

Jun 172009

Next up on our who’s the next contestant at the Canucks draft table is Zach Budish . You can get all his snazzy stats on his NHL.com profile. He would a lovely pick up for the Canucks and is 6’3″ and a right wing. Budish was kicking ass and taking names on his high school team in Minnesota and recorded 63 points (26 goals 37 assists) in 30 games in 2007-2008. He was injured playing football and was forced to miss his senior year of hockey, but had 27 points in 15 games with the Minnesota High School Elite League before the injury. Oooooh I do love the boys that can play two sports.

Zach patterns his game after Joe Thorton and his hockey hero while a little tot in Minnesota was Mike Modano. Not bad choices at all. Shall we take a gander at his scouting report? I bet it will make you swoon.

Zach is physically mature in stature, has a good shot in traffic and has a strong ability to dissect the game around him. He’s a force, he’s hard to move off the puck and he can snap a wrist shot from the blue line. With Zach playing football and the two seasons overlapping, his criticism has been that he hasn’t had his skating legs under him, but I’ve seen Zach since he was 15 years old. I’ve seen how he has carried the team and made people around him better. He reminds me of Keith Tkachuk or David Backes at the same age.”

A young David Backes? Yes please. I do love watching the power forwards.

His favourite team is the Minnesota Wild or the Boston Bruins. He probably loves Looch as much as I do. Budish’s preferred breakfast food is cinnamon toast. Eeeeee. I eat STACKS of cinnamon toast. His favourite book is Moneyball. Hey, isn’t our totally rad GM really into Moneyball? This kid is Gillis’s new best friend. Hopefully I’m sitting near the Canucks table at the draft and I can whisper “Budish” repeatedly.

Jun 152009

Stefan Elliot would be a great pick for the Canucks at the draft. The Canucks pick 22nd and he’s ranked around 17th overall. His profile at NHL.com provides you all the goodies. He’s a 6’1” defenceman that led the Saskatoon Blades in scoring for defencemen with 55 points (16 goals 39 assists) in 71 games while also finishing +20. It sounds like he could be that “offensive” defenceman the Canucks always seem to be yearning for.

Elliot is a local boy and is a fan of the Canucks. Owww owww. Bonus points for the wee one. He’s also a smart little cookie and had a 93.3% average the past year at school. Damn. I should ask him to tutor me. Elliot has national experience with the under 18 team. His favourite NHL player is Mike Green. I just hope he doesn’t decide to model more than his game after Mike Green and get one of those horribly tacky tribal arm tattoos like Greenie. His favoured shootout move is “anything that goes in”. Heh. That’s perfect. The Canucks have shootout moves where nothing goes in! Stefan can be helpful right away.

Oh and just in case you cared about that sort of thing, his fave movie is the Dark Knight and he likes to read Harry Potter. Squee. I think I’ll have to make a “Pick Stefan” button to show Gillis at the draft. It will be totally fetch. I hope he falls to us.

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