Canucks Prospect Pool on the Rise

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When you look at Ron Delorme’s draftingfrom 1999 onwards, as a Canuck fan, it’s enough to make you cringe. Aside fromthe Sedin twins, Kesler and a diamond in the rough in Cory Schneider, RonDelorme’s tenure as Canucks head scout has been one to forget. However, withthe new talent in Nicklas Jensen, Bo Horvat, Frankie Corrado and HunterShinkaruk, maybe, just maybe the Canucks drafting fortunes are turning around.

From 1999 to 2004, the Canucks drafting wasactually not half bad. The Canucks selected the future cornerstones for theirfranchise in Henrik and Daniel Sedin at #2 and #3 in 1999, found Ryan Kesler at#23 in the 2003 draft, and found all three of Cory Schneider, Alex Edler andJannik Hansen in the 2004 draft. The Canucks made the most of their early roundpicks, but their later round picks (in exception to Hansen and Edler) seemed tofall off the face of the earth, which is a continuing theme in Delorme’s drafthistory throughout the years. However, the acquisition of the Sedins, Kesler,Edler and Schneider was enough for Delorme to get a “pass” for his draftingfrom ’99 to ‘04.

Arguably, 2005 to 2010 was the worst of Delorme’s tenure, manufacturing almostno NHL talent from his draft classes. I’d give Delorme a pass on 2005, as atragic accident ended a hopeful NHL career in Luc Bourdon that looked to be ournext Dan Hamhuis type defender, and unfortunately there’s not much you can doabout that, and he snagged Mason Raymond in the second round of the ’05 draft.
The Canucks also grabbed Michael Grabner inthe first round of the 2006 draft, but traded him away just a couple yearsafter and found nothing else in the ’06 draft, Sergei Shirokov showed lots ofpromise in the 2008-09 pre-season, but never panned out in the long run.
The 2007 draft was nothing short ofatrocious. The Canucks selected Patrick White in the first round, which is oneof the worst draft picks in not only Canucks history, but in NHL history. TheCanucks’ second round pick in Taylor Ellington didn’t pan out either, as he alsonever suited up in an NHL game.
The 2008 draft class featured Cody Hodgsonin the first round, who panned out to be a good Top-6 center, but the rest ofthe draft class featured little to no NHL talent, with Yann Sauve playing agrand total of 8 NHL games and the rest of Prab Rai, Mats Froshaug and MorganClark never even getting an entry-level contract.
Lastly, the 2009 and 2010 drafts producednothing for the Canucks, Jordan Schroeder was the captain of Team USA in the2009 World Juniors, and showed a lot of promise, but never panned out at theNHL level. Joe Cannata and Patrick McNally are the last hopes for the ’09 and’10 draft classes to make an NHL impact.
That brings us to the 2011 draft class,probably the most promising draft since the 2003 draft for the Canucksorganization, with Nicklas Jensen being the 29th overall pick andalready made a good impact for the Canucks thus far. Also, the Canucks snaggedFrankie Corrado in the 5th round of that draft, who’s alreadydeveloped into a depth NHL defenceman and will be looking to earn a full timespot next season. The 2011 class also has some underrated hopeful prospects inAlexandre Grenier and Henrik Tommernes that are climbing the ranks en route to(hopefully) an NHL career.
The 2012 draft produced some bottom-6future talent for the team, with picks like Brendan Gaunce and Alex Mallet tohelp round out a skilled team. Although the 2012 class doesn’t have as muchtalent or flare as their predecessor, prospects like Gaunce and Mallet areinstrumental to a winning team.
The 2013 draft gave the Canucks new life.With the Cory Schneider trade bringing in Bo Horvat and the Canucks alsograbbing Hunter Shinkaruk at 24th, the Canucks had arguably the bestfirst round in the entire league. Horvat and Shinkaruk’s skill put them atopthe Canucks’ prospect pool and will contend for a spot on the NHL roster thisupcoming season. Not to mention, the likes of Cole Cassels, Jordan Subban andAnton Cederholm are also looking very promising in their young careers.
Lastly, the 2014 draft class producedtones of young talent that will look to fill out the Canucks roster down theroad. The Canucks drafted Abbotsford product Jake Virtanen 6thoverall, then snagged Jared McCann all the way at #24 thanks to the Ryan Keslerdeal. The Canucks also picked the top goalie in the draft, taking ThatcherDemko at #36. The Canucks also drafted a Russian for the first time in forever,taking Nikita Tryamkin in the 3rd round, nicknamed “the RussianBear” due to his 6’7’’ frame that towers over his opponents.

With the Canucks’ horrid luck with draftingsince finding Schneider, it’s about time the Canucks finally get some goodyoung talent in their prospect pool. With the Sedins and the rest of theCanucks main core on a decline and headed into the later of their career,prospects like Jensen, Horvat, Shinkaruk, Virtanen, Demko and Corrado will bethe new go-to guys once the Canucks’ current core hangs up the skates. For theCanucks organization, the future is bright, with tones of young talent fillingup the prospect pool; the Canucks should feature some exciting hockey for yearsto come.

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