Canuck First Rounders ’96-’00

Here’s another breakdown of 5 more Canuck first rounders. 

2000 – 23rd overall Nathan Smith – Smith was a small center, and early in the Burke era, they continue to draft small guys with a belief that the league would someday enforce their own rules on obstruction.  Well it happened a few years too late for this kid, although he’s done okay at the AHL level, he was cut loose this year to make way for younger talent on the farm.  Rating = D.

1999 – 2nd & 3rd overall Daniel & Henrik Sedin – In their first 5 years in the big league, they’ve totalled more points than Markus Naslund had to this point.  They continue to get bigger and stonger every year, and have now taken top line duties on the Canucks.  They have not yet topped out their performances and will continue to get better as Naslund did.  Rating = A.

1998 – 4th overall Bryan Allen – It took him a while to make it to the NHL due to many knee injuries in junior and in his first couple years as a pro.  But he’s here now.  You’d expect more that you get from him being that he was picked 4th overall, but he’s okay nonetheless.  Rating = C.

1997 – 10th Brad Ference – I think the best way to do an analysis on Brad Ference is to compare him to another Canuck defenceman picked 10th overall, Luc Bourdon.  The difference is undeniable.  Ference never was going to be a top defenseman, but is definately good, noted by the fact he’s played several years in the NHL.  Rating = C.

1996 – 12th Josh Holden – Another small center that just couldn’t make it to the NHL.  Is still successful in the minor level, but times run out on him despite multiple chances.  Rating = D.

Looking at this five year span tells a different story than the more current period.  It’s clear the team is drafting better quality players, ones that have the potential to be gamebreakers, and are using the first round as a foundation for their first & second lines.  Time is the only thing that will confirm this, but the change in direction looks good.

The Chief Canuck

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