The Vancouver Canucks have an interesting history. They're one of a handful of teams that have never won the Stanley Cup, even though they've been around for nearly a half century.
The optimistic fans will talk about the great years this team had - namely in 1994 when they nearly won the Stanley Cup, and the great run with Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and the Sedin Twins of the 2010s. But if you take a look back at this team's history, there's a lot for them to be embarrassed about.
Realistically, the last stud they drafted that actually stayed with the team long-term was Alexander Edler. That was in 2004. The last superstar they drafted was Ryan Kesler in 2003. Basically, the Canucks just don't really know how to draft. Meanwhile, the dominant Detroit Red Wings powerhouse of the '90s picked later than the Canucks every year, and came out with superstars that led them to more dominance and a Stanley Cup in 2008.
As you'll see here, the Canucks missed out on many stars. Let's take a look back to their last 20 first-round picks, and who they should have taken instead.
40 Mike Bossy (1977)
I'm going to begin this slide by talking randomly about this nice guy I met. His name is Mike Bossy, and I got an autograph and shook his hand back in 2007 (when I was just 11). In those days, Batista was recognized as the great WWE superstar he is, Nintendo Wii was a big deal and...you get the point.
Bossy was a class-act gentlemen. Perhaps I would have met him on multiple fronts if the Vancouver Canucks drafted him - since he would be living in the city and all. Bossy was a bonafide star with the New York Islanders, leading them to four-straight Stanley Cups from 1980-83. In just 752 career games, he scored 573 goals and 1,126 points. Bossy scored at least 50 goals every year except 1986-87 - his last season that limited him to 63 games. Few guys were pure goal-scorers like him.
The Canucks took Jere Gillis instead, and he played just 386 NHL games.
39 Slava Fetisov (1978)
Slave Fetisov was one of the first Russians to play in the NHL, and perhaps the first true superstar to come out of the country. He wasn't much of a scorer (36 goals and 228 points in 546 career games), but Fetisov was among the league's top shutdown blueliners. He played 13 years for CSKA Moscow before finally joining the New Jersey Devils in 1989-90.
It didn't take long for him to make an impact, scoring eight goals and 42 points. Fetisov also played three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, and was a member of their 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup championship teams. Fetisov played a major role in shutting down the opposition's top forwards while in the Motor City.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. The Canucks could have used Fetisov during their bad years in the '80s and '90s, but they took Bill Derlago with the fourth-overall pick. He played just 63 games with them.
38 Mark Messier (1979)
Though most people think of Wayne Gretzky as the key member of the Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup dynasty of the '80s, Mark Messier was the ultimate captain and leader of the franchise. It's unfair how the Oilers had two of the top three all-time scoring leaders together. It's just unfair.
So basically, Messier was really good. He had 694 career goals and 1,887 points. He won a pair of Hart Trophies and won five Stanley Cups with Edmonton while captaining the New York Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup - their first in 54 years.
And let's not get into that disastrous three-year contract he signed with Vancouver in 1997, only to sue them for more money nearly two decades later. The Canucks should have had Messier from the get-go, but they took Rick Vaive; he played 47 games with the franchise before joining the Toronto Maple Leafs.
37 Jari Kurri (1980)
To think the Vancouver Canucks could have prevented the Edmonton Oilers dynasty with just one or two correct draft picks. Jari Kurri was one of the many superstars on the Oilers when they won five Stanley Cups. Arguably the greatest Finnish NHL player of all-time, Kurri scored 601 goals and 1,398 points during a marvelous career. He led the league in goals in 1985-86 with 68 and played in nine All-Star games.
Kurri hit 100 points in five different seasons and scored at least 30 goals every year from 1980-81 to 1989-90. Kurri also scored a ridiculous 233 points in 200 playoff games. Could you imagine he and Pavel Bure together in Vancouver?
The Canucks ended up with Rick Lanz instead; he played just 569 NHL games and scored 286 points. He was a solid defenceman for Vancouver, but not a game-changer that Kurri was all those years.
36 Al MacInnis (1981)
When you think of the greatest NHL defencemen of all-time, Mike Bossy, Bobby Orr, Nicklas Lidstrom, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, among others. But it seems like the great Al MacInnis never got the love he deserved.
The 2002 Olympic gold medalist once had the most feared slapshot in the NHL. He scored 340 career goals and 1,274 points (!) And remember that stacked 1989 Stanley Cup champion Calgary Flames team? MacInnis won the Conn Smythe Trophy, not Theoren Fleury, Joe Mullen, Doug Gilmour, Hakan Loob or Joe Nieuwendyk.
The Canucks have never had a Norris-caliber defenceman, and MacInnis could have been the guy that led them to glory. He was a complete game changer at both ends of the ice. But in true Canucks fashion, they missed out on a Hall of Famer and took Garth Butcher instead. He had 206 points in 897 NHL games.
35 Doug Gilmour (1982)
Many know how good Doug Gilmour was, but some forget how great he really was. Playing in the same era as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Nicklas Lidstrom, Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman, Patrick Roy, Jaromir Jagr and Eric Lindros. But Gilmour quietly dominated the '80s and '90s. He was a franchise star with the Calgary Flames (winning the Stanley Cup with them in 1989), and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Gilmour joined the Leafs in the 1991-92 season, and helped them become a juggernaut after years of struggling and mediocrity. Gilmour finished with 450 career goals and 1,414 points. But instead of landing Gilmour, the Canucks drafted Michel Petit with the 11th pick. He never became a superstar and played with 10 different teams.
Just another legend the Canucks missed out on...
34 Dominik Hasek (1983)
They called him 'The Dominator' because no other goalie in NHL history dominated and stole games the way Hasek did. The 199th-overall pick in 1983 carried the Buffalo Sabres (who lacked true superstars), through the '90s. He almost helped them win the 1999 Stanley Cup. But Dominik Hasek also won six Vezina Trophies.
That's right, he won six Vezinas even though Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy played in the same era as he did. Hasek also won the Hart Trophy in 1997 and 1998. He won 389 games and posted a 2.20 goals against average and .922 save percentage. His unorthodox style of play made him that much greater. Oh, and he carried Czech Republic to a surprising gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The Canucks took Cam Neely instead. He was a superstar, but he only played three seasons with the team before going to the Boston Bruins in an extremely one-sided trade. Would have been better to just take Hasek.
33 Brett Hull (1984)
The Golden Brett is one of the greatest pure goal-scorers the league has ever seen. This man sits fourth all-time in goals with 741. Only Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Jaromir Jagr are ahead. Brett Hull scored 72 goals in 1989-90, then 86 the next season followed by 70 the next. He scored 40 goals in eight different seasons. There was nothing more dangerous than Hull's one timer from the left circle.
Hull was the model of consistency throughout his career. From 1988-89 to 1996-97, he scored at least 40 goals all but one year the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season that saw him score 29 in 48 games. That's pretty good.
He was the 117th-overall pick in 1984. The Canucks passed on Hull and took J.J. Daigneault. He played just two seasons with them and never became a superstar like Hull did. Another major miss by this team, can you believe it?
32 Joe Nieuwendyk (1985)
Many forget about the great career that Joe Nieuwendyk had. He won a Stanley Cup with Calgary in 1989, with Dallas in 1999 and with New Jersey in 2003. Nieuwendyk was also part of the Team Canada 2002 Olympic gold medal-winning team. Nieuwendyk won the Calder Trophy in 1988 and the Conn Smythe in 1999.
He scored 564 career goals and 1,126 points in 1,257 points. He was a force on the three aforementioned teams and was a huge contributor to all of the championship teams. The Canucks could have used the talented centre's skills during their years of both mediocrity and contention.
The Canucks passed on Nieuwendyk and instead chose Jim Sandlak, who played in 549 NHL games - scoring 229 points. Those aren't terrible numbers, but they certainly aren't anything close to what the great Nieuwendyk put up.
31 Brian Leetch (1986)
You know how the Vancouver Canucks lost to the New York Rangers in the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, with Brian Leetch scoring the first goal in Game 7 while winning the Conn Smythe Trophy? It's safe to say the Canucks probably should have taken Leetch for that reason alone. Oh, but there are more reasons.
Leetch is one of the most decorated blueliners of all-time. He won the Norris Trophy in 1992 and 1997 and was a 10-time All-Star. Leetch also helped the Americans win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey in a stunning upset over Team Canada. Few blueliners were able to control a game like he did all those years.
He scored 247 goals and 1,028 points in his career. Meanwhile, the Canucks drafted Dan Woodley at seventh-overall (two picks before Leetch).Woodley would only play in five NHL games. Talk about a draft miss for the ages.
30 Teemu Selanne (1988)
This is becoming too much. Out of the 50 greatest NHL players of all-time, it seems like the Canucks missed out on drafting 25 of them. And we're not even done this list yet. Any who, moving along...
They didn't call Teemu Selanne the Finnish Flash for nothing. He scored 76 goals in his rookie season (a record that stands today), and became one of the greatest NHL forwards of all-time. He won the Rocket Richard Trophy in 1999 with 47 goals despite playing on a not-so-great Anaheim team. Selanne scored 684 goals and 1,457 points, winning the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He played in the NHL until he was 43 and just found ways to put off father time and play like he was a 20-year-old.
Now, the Canucks did take Trevor Linden with the second pick. As hard as it is to put Selanne on here instead, he was really just a complete game-changer. Linden only had a handful of prime years with Vancouver before management refused to give him a good supporting cast, traded him and then brought him back when his best years were behind him.
29 Nicklas Lidstrom (1989)
It's amazing that arguably the greatest defenceman of all-time (definitely top-three ever), wasn't selected until the 53rd pick by the Detroit Red Wings. Nicklas Lidstrom was the face of the Detroit Red Wings for two decades. He was a monumental part of their four Stanley Cup championship teams in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.
Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy seven time seven though his era included defencemen Paul Coffey, Ray Bourque, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and others. He scored 264 career goals and 1,142 points in 1,564 career games. Simply put, Detroit would not have been the model of consistency from 1991 to 2012 without Lidstrom.
If the Canucks drafted Lidstrom, you can take away at least three of those Stanley Cups for Detroit. The Canucks instead took Jason Herter who played one NHL game. Again, how different things could have been for them.
28 Jaromir Jagr (1990)
The city of Vancouver (beautiful place with great people, by the way), hosted the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. Fans were excited to witness the next franchise selection that could have turned them around.
Well, they took Petr Nedved with the second-overall pick. Now, he had a solid career with 30 goals and 717 points in 982 games, but he only played three seasons with the Canucks. He later went to the St. Louis Blues after having contract disputes with the organization. So that didn't work out.
But what if they took Jaromir Jagr, who is second all-time in scoring? Jagr, the fifth pick in this draft class, is 45 years of age and continues to play at a high level in the NHL. It's simply amazing. He's a five-time scoring champion and won the Hart Trophy in 1999. If Vancouver drafts Jagr and has him play with the Sedins, they have at least one Stanley Cup. Period.
27 Martin Brodeur (1990)
Martin Brodeur is arguably the greatest netminder of all-time. His 691 career wins and 125 shutouts are probably never going to be broken. He posted a remarkable 2.24 goals against average and .912 save percentage while winning a pair of gold medals with Team Canada - including 2002 when he was the starter.
He won 30-plus games a ridiculous 14 times, but a lot of that can be attributed to the teams in front of him. Jacques Lemaire implemented the neutral zone trap as the New Jersey Devils head coach, and this team had Hall of Famers Scott Niedermayer and Scott Stevens on defence.
Perhaps Brodeur wouldn't have been as successful in Vancouver as he was in New Jersey, but it would have been worth the selection anyway.
26 Chris Osgood (1991)
The Canucks drafted Alex Stojanov with the seventh pick. He played 107 games and had just seven points. The good news for the Canucks is that they ended up trading Stojanov to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Markus Naslund, who became one of the greatest players in franchise history.
With all due respect to Naslund and his accomplishments with Vancouver, it's hard to deny that Chris Osgood would have been the better pick. He went 54th-overall to the Detroit Red Wings and turned them into a powerhouse. Osgood won 401 games and won three Stanley Cups with Detroit.
As we all know, many Canucks playoff meltdowns were attributed to lackluster goaltending from Dan Cloutier and Roberto Luongo. Osgood was one of the most money goalies in the postseason - going 74-49 with 15 shutouts and a 2.09 goals against average. That could have been huge for the Canucks in the playoff years.
And yes, we notice we have them taking both Osgood and Brodeur. It wasn't uncommon for teams to carry a pair of elite goalies two decades ago.
25 Michael Peca (1992)
The 1992 NHL Entry Draft is easily one of the worst in recent memory, so it's rather difficult to blame the Canucks for not scoring with their top pick. With the 21st-overall pick, the team drafted centre Libor Polasek - who they thought could bring Mark Messier's style of play.
Polasek actually never played an NHL game, and is widely regarded as one of the biggest draft mistakes in franchise history. Out of the few standouts taken after Polasek, Michael Peca was probably the guy they should have gone with. The flashy play-making center had a few nice years - scoring 56 points with the Buffalo Sabres in 1998-99 and 25 goals and 60 points with the New York Islanders in 2001-02.
Peca was part of the legendary Team Canada squad who won gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics. He was a well-respected leader and veteran who moved the puck well with his flashy speed. Too bad the Canucks couldn't combine his speed with Pavel Bure's speed, though.
24 Saku Koivu (1993)
The 1993 NHL Entry Draft was filled with future superstars, namely Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya, Jason Arnott, Viktor Kozlov and Jocelyn Thibault, among others. The only problem is that those guys were selected before the Canucks picked with the 20th selection. They chose Mike Wilson, who never played a game with them. The next pick was Saku Koivu, who became one of the best Montreal Canadiens in recent memory.
The long-time Canadiens captain scored 255 goals and 828 points in 1,124 career games. Koivu will best be remembered for returning late in the 2001-02 season to help Montreal make the playoffs, after missing most of the campaign as he battled (and defeated) Burkitt's lymphoma.
Koivu was one of the best leaders and captains in the NHL, and also had remarkable hands and speed through the neutral zone. The Canucks could have had him and Pavel Bure together. There'd be no stopping that speedy line.
23 Daniel Alfredsson (1994)
It doesn't feel right putting Daniel Alfredsson here, given how the Canucks used their first-round pick in 1994 to draft Mattias Ohlund, who is by far the greatest blueliner this team has ever had. But Ohlund never quite became a superstar the way Alfredsson became a franchise icon to the Ottawa Senators
'Alfie' wasn't selected until the 133rd pick, and he put the Senators on the hockey map right away. He's far-and-away the franchise's leader in goals (426) and points with 1,108. Alfredsson turned the Senators into a perennial playoff team throughout the late '90s and early 2000s. Ottawa also made the 2007 Stanley Cup, but did fall short to the Anaheim Ducks in seven games.
Could you imagine Alfredsson with the Sedin twins? Now that is just totally unfair. What a difference he could have been for the Canucks franchise.
22 Zdeno Chara (1996)
You probably aren't too familiar with Josh Holden - the man the Canucks took with their first-round pick in 1996. Meanwhile, future NHL Norris Trophy winner, Stanley Cup champion and Hall of Famer (we assume), Zdeno Chara went 56th-overall to the New York Islanders. Chara has spent his career making every other team regret on passing over him.
The Canucks learned that the hard way when Chara's Boston Bruins beat Vancouver in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Chara has 181 career goals and 586 points, and at 6-9, he's the tallest NHL player ever. He could have been a great fit on the Canucks for years - given how they were often a soft team that was always pushed around in the playoffs.
Put it this way - they draft Chara and keep him all these years, and they surely win the 2011 Stanley Cup. But once again, the Canucks missed out on drafting a franchise player.
21 Marian Hossa (1997)
What can we say about Marian Hossa that you haven't heard already? Few players were better and more productive during the 2000s, and the man has been a mega scoring machine in the 2010. It's hard to envision the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015 without his services.
Hossa is up to 517 career goals and 1,119 points. The Hall of Fame surely awaits one of the greatest snipers of this era. How great of a fit he could have been on the Canucks infamous West Coast Express Line...or even with Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
The Canucks used the 10th-overall pick to take defenceman Brad Ference, who played just 250 NHL games. Not one of them was with the Canucks, as he was involved in the Pavel Bure trade that sent both men to Florida. But oh, can you imagine if this team had Hossa?
20 Pavel Datsyuk (1998)
One of the greatest draft steals in NHL history, Pavel Datsyuk was the 171st-overall pick in 1998 by the Detroit Red Wings. To think the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions were drafting a future star (when they already had Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov and Chris Osgood), is completely unfair.
The Vancouver Canucks could have gotten Datsyuk, but every team passed on him multiple times, so we're trying not to blame them. They took defenceman Bryan Allen with the fourth pick. Now, Allen wasn't necessarily a bust - he was a solid stay-at-home blueliner who used his toughness well. But he never became a star, while Datsyuk became one of the league's best scorers for a decade. The two-time Stanley Cup champion also won three Selke Trophies for being the league's best defenceman.
So yeah, this team could have had Brendan Morrison, Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Pavel Datsyuk as its four centres.
19 Henrik Sedin (1999)
The Vancouver Canucks made the Stanley Cup Final in 1994 and were two goals away from winning their first championship, but fell to the New York Rangers in seven games. This team then embarked on some of terribly disappointing seasons, from 1997 to 2000. If there was any consolation, it was the fact that general manager Brian Burke somehow secured the second and third-overall picks in 1999.
With the third-overall pick, the Canucks took Swedish star Henrik Sedin, and he's only gone on to become the greatest player in franchise history. Sedin won the Art Tross and Hart Trophy in 2010, guided the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 and is the team's all-time leader in points.
Though the Canucks won't be winning a Cup with Henrik, he helped turn a struggling team and turned them into one of the NHL's elite - giving the city of Vancouver its best hockey ever.
18 Daniel Sedin (1999)
Brian Burke had to talk to many teams about making deals in order to ensure he had Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who really wanted to play as a duo in the NHL. The Canucks had the third pick before the draft, but Burke needed to work his magic to nab Daniel. He somehow got the Atlanta Thrashers to trade for the Tampa Bay Lightning's first pick to take Patrik Stefan, while obtaining the second pick from Atlanta.
Daniel's career isn't far off of Henrik's. He won the scoring title in 2011 and is second all-time in scoring. Daniel's played 23 less games, so perhaps it would be he and not Henrik who leads the Canucks franchise in points.
The 1999 NHL Draft was one of the worst ever, but the Canucks are one of the very few teams that escaped it with pure gold. Daniel and Henrik are the greatest twins in sports history, and there's no way the Canucks would be the same without one of the twins. Luckily, they got both of them.
17 Henrik Lundqvist (2000)
The 2000 NHL Entry Draft was one of the worst of all-time, and the Canucks learned that by taking Nathan Smith with the 23rd pick. He wound up playing 26 NHL games and didn't register a single point.
After Smith, a handful of standouts were selected, but none of them can say they've accomplished what Henrik Lundqvist has. The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner has posted 30-wins in every 82-game season since he broke into the NHL as a rookie in 2005-06. It's safe to say Lundqvist has been the best goalie in the league since the lockout.
And Vancouver's constant playoff meltdowns over the years have been well-documented. Hard to see them not doing better if they had Lundqvist, who owns a 6-2 career record in decisive Game sevens.
16 Patrick Sharp (2001)
This is kind of a double-whammy.
For starters, the three-time Stanley Cup champion has carved out quite a career for a man that wasn't drafted until the 95th pick. Patrick Sharp owns eight 20-goal seasons in his career and has a pair of 70-point campaigns. Without Sharp, there's a good chance the Chicago Blackhawks dynasty of the 2010s doesn't take place.
The Canucks lost to Chicago in the second round of the 2009 and 2010 playoffs, and Sharp was a force in both series against them. So if the Canucks had taken Sharp (and kept him all those years), they wouldn't have had to deal with him in the playoffs.
Instead, the Canucks took R.J. Umberger with the 16th pick. Yes, he's been a solid top-six forward throughout his career, except he never played an NHL game for the Canucks. They could have had a slick sniper in Sharp during those playoff runs, but mistakes happen.
15 Patrice Bergeron (2003)
The Canucks traded away their first-round pick in 2002. That's a pity, because future enemy on the Chicago Blackhawks, Duncan Keith, could have been selected by them. Oh wait, they passed on him in the second round, too.
Any who, the 2003 Draft was arguably the greatest ever. You had Marc-Andre Fleury, Nathan Horton, Eric Staal, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Suter, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Seabrook, Zach Parise and Brent Burns taken in the first round alone. Thing is, the Canucks didn't mess up the 23rd pick when they took Ryan Kesler, but there was room to get better. They passed on Patrice Bergeron, who was taken 45th-overall by the Boston Bruins in the second round.
As we know, Bergeron was the difference maker in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against Vancouver, scoring two goals (including the first, which held up being the game winner.) The three-time Selke winner (as of this writing), has 246 career goals and 635 points against Kesler's 239 goals and 528 points. So yeah, Canucks would have been better off with Bergeron.
14 Cory Schneider (2004)
Here was another rare time where the Canucks actually got their draft selection right. Cory Schneider has been one of the NHL's most dominant goalies for five years now, even though he's not even on Vancouver anymore. Everyone remembers that infamous 2013 Draft, where Mike Gillis traded Schneider to New Jersey for the ninth pick (Bo Horvat.)
But Schneider had a nice run in Vancouver. In 2010-11, he went 16-4-2 during the regular season with a 2.23 goals against average and .929 save percentage. He and Roberto Luongo shared the Jennings Trophy for having the league's fewest goals surrendered. Schneider then went 20-8-1 in 2011-12 with a 1.96 goals against average and .937 save percentage.
Though the Schneider trade was never popular with Canucks fan, Horvat has emerged as the Canucks best forward. There was no way of drafting him unless they sacrificed a key player like Schneider. He gave them great years then landed them a top centre. No reason to re-do this selection.
13 Anze Kopitar (2005)
The Canucks drafted Luc Bourdon with the 10th pick in the 2005 Draft. As many remember, he tragically passed away in 2008 after a motorcycle accident after completing his first NHL regular season campaign.
Bourdon was going to be a franchise defenceman with the Canucks, but the reason I chose the Canucks to take Anze Kopitar instead is because the latter would have likely been a difference maker for the Canucks in both 2011 and 2012. He's among the league's top-five centres of the 2010s. Those don't grow on trees, and the Canucks haven't been short of quality defenceman for years.
Kopitar has been a sure bet (when healthy), to score 25 goals and 70 points most seasons. He won the Selke Trophy in 2016 and was the key player in the Kings' 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup championships. He shut down the opposition's top player and scored the big goals.
Perhaps he would have been the difference in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. And he surely would have made sure the Los Angeles Kings didn't upset the Canucks in the first round of the 2012 playoffs.
12 Claude Giroux (2006)
Okay, the 2006 NHL Draft was terrible for the Canucks. It was the chance to redeem themselves after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2000. They went with the speedy Michael Grabner (14th overall), and got 20 games out of him, where he scored five goals and 11 points.
And just when the Canucks promoted him to the big leagues, they traded him at the 2010 Draft to the Florida Panthers to land Keith Ballard, who was a disappointment in Vancouver. Claude Giroux has only gone on to become the Philadelphia Flyers franchise player, posting a 93-point season in 2011-12 and adding 86 and 73 point seasons after that as well.
Having Giroux and Henrik Sedin as the top line centres? Instead, the Canucks took a player who took four years to finally make the team, only to trade him away. Grabner already has 19 goals this season for the New York Rangers. Ah, what a mistake.
11 P.K. Subban (2007)
The Canucks drafted Patrick White with their first-round pick in this draft, and he never played an NHL game. On the bright side, he was sent in a package deal to the San Jose Sharks which brought Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich - who provided plenty of depth on the Canucks defence.
But they should have probably taken P.K. Subban, who fell to 43rd-overall to the Montreal Canadiens. Subban won the 2013 Norris Trophy and is easily one of the top-five blueliners in the NHL. Imagine what he would do for a Canucks defence that had Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo in their respective primes.
To be honest, the Canucks have never had a Norris Trophy defenceman. Not hard to see why when they kept missing out on guys like Subban while taking guys who never came close to playing in the NHL.
10 Erik Karlsson (2008)
The Vancouver Canucks thought they had a future number one centre when they took Cody Hodgson with the 10th pick in the 2008 Draft. He didn't join the Canucks until the 2010-11 season, scoring one goal and one assist. And JUST as he was emerging as a top forward during the 2011-12 season (16 goals and 33 points), they traded him for Zack Kassian.
That ended up being an awful trade for both teams. Hodgson is only 26 years of age and no longer in the NHL. Meanwhile, Erik Karlsson has become the Bobby Orr of the 2010s, consistently putting up 70-80 point seasons and breaking through as the league's best defenceman, winning the Norris Trophy in 2012 and 2015.
Ah, the Canucks could have had him and Subban. Think about that for a moment. But as usual, they found ways to draft guys they didn't hold onto while other teams picked up franchise-changing players.
9 Ryan O'Reilly (2009)
When the Vancouver Canucks drafted Jordan Schroeder 22nd-overall in the 2009 Draft, it appeared as though they got the mega seal of this class. Schroeder was one of the top-five ranked North American skaters heating into the draft, but his small size scared most teams away.
The only memorable part of the Canucks and Schroeder was when Roberto Luongo went to the podium to announce the selection and pronounced his last name wrong. Schroeder played just 58 games in two seasons with the Canucks, scoring six goals and 15 points. He is now a fourth-liner on the Minnesota Wild.
But oh, how Ryan O'Reilly could have been a Canuck. He was the 33rd pick of the draft and has notched four 50-point seasons on lackluster Colorado and Buffalo teams. Just imagine how great he could have been during the years of Vancouver contending for the Stanley Cup.
8 Johnny Gaudreau (2011)
The Canucks entered one depressing offseason after losing the Stanley Cup Final to the Boston Bruins. Even though the 29th pick is never that attractive in an NHL Draft, the Canucks could have found a way to draft a franchise gem like Johnny Hockey. Instead, they drafted Nicklas Jensen. He played 24 games and scored six points throughout three seasons in Vancouver.
And to think this team could have had Johnny Gaudreau, who fell to the 104th selection by the Calgary Flames. Gaudreau (as of this writing), has 65 goals and 170 career points in 194 games. He and Sean Monahan sped up what was supposed to be a long-term rebuild in Calgary, guiding them to the playoffs in 2015. Gaudreau is among the NHL's fastest skaters and he's a pure goal-scorer that could have fitted in nicely with Ryan Kesler on the second line.
7 Jimmy Vesey (2012)
With another late first-round pick, the Canucks took Brendan Gaunce who is now slotted in as a fourth-liner on the Canucks. The 2012 NHL Draft is one of the worst in recent memory, unless a handful of players suddenly get their careers on track.
For the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup hero goaltender Matt Murray could have been an option. But let's be honest, goalie wasn't a weakness when they had both Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. But having Jimmy Vesey (the 66th pick in the draft), would have been a huge win for Mike Gillis. Then again, he isn't their GM any more because he couldn't draft at all.
Vesey is a skilled left winger with size (6-3, 203 pounds), speed and grit. He has 11 goals and 19 points with the New York Rangers in his rookie season. One can expect him to blossom into a star soon. But the Canucks found yet another amazing way to strike out on this draft.
6 Shea Theodore (2013)
This was a rare year for the Canucks to have a multiple picks in the first-round, but a controversial trade by Gillis set them up for it. They drafted Hunter Shinkaruk with the 24th pick. He played one game for them and was traded for Markus Granlund, who is fitting in nicely as a second/third liner on Vancouver.
Even though the Shinkaruk selection led Vancouver to Granlund, it's frustrating to know they let Shea Theodore fall to the Anaheim Ducks three spots later. Shea Theodore is big (6-2, 185 pounds), and though his offence is coming along slowly in the NHL, he's very responsible in his own end.
The Canucks have plenty of young blueliners right now, but only Olli Juolevi is capable of having a bigger impact than Theodore. They needed a franchise defenceman going into this draft, but passed on Theodore and drafted another bust.
5 Bo Horvat (2013)
The Canucks obtained the ninth pick by giving up franchise goalie Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils. The fans in Vancouver were livid about the trade, as the expectation was the older, more expensive and inferior Roberto Luongo (who requested a trade), would be moved while Schneider assumed the reigns.
But Gillis faced intense pressure from ownership to trade a goalie, and Schneider was given up for nothing more than the ninth pick. The good news for Vancouver is that Bo Horvat was such a good draft selection, that I don't even have to make a change in the re-draft.
He came along slowly in 2015 and 2016 as a second liner, but he's now the Canucks leading scorer. He already had 13 goals and 30 points after putting up 16 and 40 altogether a season ago. The Canucks have a new franchise centre to build around, and it's tough to see why they'd take someone else over Horvat in a re-draft.
4 David Pastrnak (2014)
The Ryan Kesler trade was supposed to kickstart the Canucks rebuild. They got the 24th pick from the Anaheim Ducks, Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa for the star centre.
Well, the Canucks used that pick to draft Jared McCann, who was packaged in a trade with the Florida Panthers that brought Vancouver Erik Gudbranson. McCann apparently had locker room issues with the team, but Gudbranson has been one of the biggest defensive liabilities in the league.
Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins (who won the 2014 Presidents' Trophy), took David Pastrnak with the next pick. After 25 goals in his first 97 games (over two seasons), he has enjoyed a breakout 2016-17 campaign in Boston. Pastrnak has 19 goals and 31 points and figures to be the franchise face in Beantown. Another major drafting mistake by Vancouver.
3 William Nylander (2014)
This was supposed to be an exciting draft for the Canucks. After a forgetful 2013-14 season under John Tortorella, it appeared as though they were going to start a rebuild and prepare for the next generation of superstars. Well, they went with the big/flashy winger in Jake Virtanen with the sixth-overall pick.
Virtanen has yet to make the roster full-time, and has struggled in the minors since expressing his frustration with head coach Willie Desjardins. The kid is struggling to find his maturity.
Meanwhile, William Nylander (who Toronto took eighth-overall), had 26 points in 38 games, and he's yet to even reach his full potential. The Leafs have a star to build around with Auston Matthews, while the Canucks may face a tough reality that Jake Virtanen could be the biggest bust in franchise history.
2 Brock Boeser (2015)
The Canucks made the playoffs in 2015, so they didn't get a high draft pick. What a pity, because it would have been nice to draft Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. But at least there's a good chance their 23rd-overall selection in Brock Boeser may do wonders any way.
It's far too early to see which players from the 2015 Draft will stand out. We need a couple more seasons to get a better idea of where these players are going. Boeser has been a star at the University of North Dakota, scoring 34 goals and 76 points over his first two seasons. Boeser is TSN's 20th-ranked NHL prospect, and it's safe to assume the Canucks will have hit the jackpot on this one.
Boeser has yet to play an NHL game. But right now, it's tough to think that they could have drafted a better player so late. But we will have to wait and see how it goes along.
1 Matthew Tkachuk (2016)
The Canucks just couldn't catch a break. Nevermind the fact they've never won a Stanley Cup or the fact they almost never draft well. It's the fact they were the NHL's third-worst team last year and were supposed to end up with either Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine or Jesse Pulujarvi. They fell to picking fifth, and took flashy Finnish defenceman Olli Juolevi.
There's a high chance Juolevi becomes the star defenceman Vancouver needs, but realistically he won't be ready for primetime in three years. So with that, it's tough to pass up on them taking Matthew Tkachuk in a re-draft.
In his rookie season, Tkachuk already has eight goals and 27 points in 40 games with a plus-10 rating. He's only a rookie and is going to get that much better with time. Seeing how the Canucks are loaded with young blueliners but not enough scorers, perhaps Tkachuk would have been the correct pick to make.
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