NHL Entry Draft weekend can be one of the most exciting times on the calendar for hockey fans. All the trades and rumors. All the new players. It is a time for a new beginnings. New hopes.
But for the Vancouver Canucks it proved to be a very uneventful affair this time around. No significant moves (there was a minor shuffling of draft picks). Salary cap concerns likely have the Canucks largely looking to clean up in-house issues rather than major tinkering. Although I suspect the Canucks took a lot of phone calls regarding Corey Schneider’s availability, the team likely busy trying to re-sign key defensemen Kevin Bieksa and Christian Ehrhoff and deciding about their other soon-to-be free agents than talking trade.
As far as the next generation of players goes, picking 29th overall makes the entry draft even more of a crap shoot than usual. Much to Jannik Hansen’s liking, the Canucks took another Danish kid named Nicklas Jensen. The scouting reports suggest he has a nice set of skills – good size, good speed, good hands. But he lacks consistency and drive. Likely he will either be boom or bust, no in between. With each subsequent round the Canucks filled out their draft selections with similar stories with increasing unlikeliness that they will ever pan out. Odds are they will have a career as uneventful as this draft was. But hey, you never know.
Uneventful draft weekends are actually welcomed in Vancouver. That means the team has risen to elite status in the NHL. Sure, that can mean draft day can often be almost boring. That beats those many drafts of years gone by when draft weekend was the highlight of the season for Canucks fans. That was because the Canucks were such a poor team that they often picked in the top ten or even top five. Without playoff action of our own to watch, we’d devour The Hockey News’ Draft Preview and pin our hopes for the future on 18 year olds that we attached ourselves to based mostly on the few words the scouts would share with the magazine. Debates raged about who the Canucks should make the face of their franchise. Trevor Linden or Mike Modano? Petr Nedved or Keith Primeau? It goes all the way back to year one – Gilbert Perreault or Dale Tallon? Heck. the Canucks were so bad for so long that we all pinned our hopes on Jim Sandlak, Dan Woodley, Jason Herter and Libor Polasek. Okay, maybe not Libor Polasek.
Yes, the NHL draft was a lot more exciting back for Canucks fans back in those days. I, for one, am more than happy the draft is boring now