Canuck First Rounders ’01-’06

Here’s a breakdown of Canuck first rounders.  These are the most important picks any team can make and the importance of hitting it big in this round is essential to long term competitiveness as it’s impossible to buy your way out of drafing mistakes now.  It’s why almost every team except Chicago has increased the size of their scouting staff’s over the last couple year.

But for today, let’s take a look at the last 5 years to see how the Canucks have done with their pick.

2006 – 14th overall Michael Grabner – for all intents and purposes, the Canucks stuck their neck out on this one.  It was the first real suprise pick of the 06 draft as he was taken way ahead of his ranking.  But, don’t fool yourself into thinking this is another guaranteed third line player, he’s not.  He’s either going to be a top player on the first line, or crash and burn.  But that’s what makes it a great pick for Ron Delorme (head scount), he’s going to look like a star when he makes it.  Rating = A.

2005 – 10th Luc Bourdon – A dynamic defensemen that has a potential to become a future Norris trophy winner.  He will make the NHL in his first year as a pro after almost making it last year.  The draft was deep though, and we won the lottery to end up picking 10th overall.  Rating A+.

2004 – 26th Cory Schneider – Cory is a great goalie and performed excellent for the US team at the World Jr. Championship last year in Vancouver.  I was not originally excited about this pick because it’s not flashy, but it’s nice to see the Canucks finally commit to drafting and developing a top goalie.  It’s never been done by the team, so Nonis is breaking some new ground here. Rating = B.

2003 – 23rd Ryan Kesler – He’s shown scoring ability at the AHL level, and is a competent 3rd line center, but we need more from a first round pick.  First round picks must develop into 1st or 2nd line guys.  He’s got time yet, and next season will not tell the entire story, but he’s got to show some improvement in 2006-07. Rating = B.

2002 – First round pick traded for Trevor Linden.  This was not a good trade, but that’s only because there is very little I feel giving up a first round pick is worth trading for.  The only reason this is not a failing grade is because it brought Trevor home.  Rating = C.

2001 – 15th R.J. Umberger – A great pick that Phillidelphia is reaping the benefits from the Canucks inability to sign him to a rookie contract.  There was no excuse for that, but Delorme deserves the credit for a great pick.  Umberger will defintately be a #1 or #2 center in the league for a long time.  Rating = B.

All said, the last 5 years have been significantly better than the 5 years before that.  This group of draftees all have the ability and potential to be game breakers and top players on the team.  Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the previous 5 first rounders and compare.

The Chief Canuck

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