The neatest part in putting together Vancouver all-time draft team was the fun we had creating line combinations that would absolutely dazzle. In one-half century of drafting, the Canucks have assembled an impressive array of play makers, finishers, and, of course, all-world heart-and-soul players.
Just imagine a first line of the Sedin twins alongside Pavel Bure in their prime dissecting defences and punishing goalies. Opposing stoppers wouldn’t get a break with Cam Neely headlining the second line next to crafty Igor Larionov and sniper Don Lever. A third line of Trevor Linden between Stan Smyl and converted centre Michael Peca wouldn’t just shut down the opposition, they’d win puck battles and produce offence. And a fourth line of Ryan Kesler between Rick Vaive and Petr Nedved would be prolific as well.
Regrettably, notable clutch players Dirk Graham, Curt Fraser, Scott Walker, Patrick Sundstrom and Brent Ashton didn’t even make the team. It will be interesting to see who Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser bump from the starting lineup a decade from now.
The blue line is solid, but not spectacular. Mattias Ohlund and Alexander Edler create a Swedish first-pair tandem. Gutsy Harold Snepsts and Adrian Aucoin are on the second pair followed by Doug Lidster and Garth Butcher. Sorry, no room for Michel Petit, Kevin Bieksa or Dale Tallon.
In 50 years of drafting, the Canucks have selected just three goalies to have started 200-plus games in the NHL, and the third, Murray Bannerman, was a career backup. That’s not nearly good enough. So Glen Hanlon and Cory Schneider share the crease.
Information includes draft year, draft position, amateur team and NHL stats (games-goals-assists-points; W-L-OTL, GAA, SP)
Henrik Sedin – 1999, 3rd overall, Modo (Swe.) (1,330-240-830-1,070)
Igor Larionov – 1985, 214th overall, CSKA (Rus.) (921-169-475-644)
Trevor Linden – 1988, 2nd overall, Medicine Hat (WHL) (1,382-375-492-867)
Ryan Kesler – 2003, 23rd overall, Ohio State (CCHA) (1,001-258-315-573)
Daniel Sedin – 1999, 2nd overall, Modo (Swe.) (1,306-393-648-1,041)
Don Lever – 1972, 3rd overall, Niagara Falls (OHL) (1,020-313-367-680)
Michael Peca – 1992, 40th overall, Ottawa (OHL) (864-176-289-465)
Petr Nedved – 1990, 2nd overall, Seattle (WHL) (982-310-407-717)
Pavel Bure – 1989, 113th overall, CSKA (Rus.) (702-437-342-779)
Cam Neely – 1983, 9th overall, Portland (WHL) (726-395-299-694)
Stan Smyl – 1978, 40th overall, New Westminster (OHL) (896-262-411-673)
Rick Vaive – 1979, 5th overall, Birmingham (WHA) (876-441-347-788)
Mattias Ohlund – 1994, 13th overall, Pitea (Swe.) (909-93-250-343)
Alexander Edler – 2004, 91st overall, Jamtland (Swe.) (873-99-302-401)
Harold Snepsts – 1974, 59th overall, Edmonton (WCHL) (1,033-38-195-233)
Adrian Aucoin – 1992, 117th overall, Boston U. (HE) (1,108-121-278-399)
Doug Lidster – 1980, 133rd overall, Colo. Col. (WCHA) (897-75-268-343)
Garth Butcher – 1981, 10th overall, Regina (WHL) (897-48-158-206)
Glen Hanlon – 1977, 40th overall, Brandon (WHL) (167-202-61, 3.60, .869)
Cory Schneider – 2004, 26th overall, Phillips-Andover (USHS) (170-159-58, 2.43, .918)