Archive for September 8, 2006

Newcomer – Willie Mitchell

September 8, 2006

College Team: Clarkson University

Notable Teammates: Eric Cole (Carolina Hurricanes)

Best College Season: 29 points in 34 games

NHL Draft: 1996, 199th overall, 8th round

Drafted By: New Jersey Devils

Traded: 2001 with future considerations to Minnesota for Sean O-Donnell

Free Agent: 2006 signs a 4 year deal with Vancouver

Best NHL Season: 14 points in 69 games

It’s hard to believe that one of the players that caused Todd Bertuzzi so much trouble when the Wild and Canucks played is now in a Canuck uniform.

However, the rumour has been going around for a few years that Mitchell wanted to come play for the team he watched growing up.  A native of Port McNeil, Mitchell is looking to achieve a goal, that of bringing a cup to his hometown team.

Mitchell was brought here for one reason, and that’s to stop goals.  The team essentially traded up the injury prone free wheeling Ed Jovanovski for the injury prone defensive stalwart Willie Mitchell.

But I’m not convinced it was that needed after also landing the best young goalie in the league. 

More convincing a reason is that Mitchell is another player that learned a strong work ethic while in the Devils & Wild systems.  A work ethic that was again missing last season and Nonis is clearly trying to find the right guys to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Here’s hoping Luc Bourdon can come in and replace some of Jovanovski’s skill because it’s not coming from Mitchell.  But you still need to like what you see.

The Chief Canuck

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Newcomer – Marc Chouinard

September 8, 2006

Junior Team: Beauport Harfangs / Halifax Mooseheads

Notable Teammates: Yannick Tremblay (Vancouver), Martin Biron (Tampa Bay), Alex Tanguay (Calgary)

Best CHL Season: 73 points in 63 games

NHL Draft: 1995, 32nd overall, 2nd round

Drafted By: Winnipeg Jets

Traded: 1996 traded with Teemu Selanne to Anahiem for Chad Kilger, Oleg Tverdovsky, and a 3rd round pick.

Free Agent: 2003 signed a deal with the Minnesota Wild.

Free Agent: 2006 signed a 2 year deal with the Vancouver Canucks.

Best NHL Season: 30 points in 74 games

The year that Chouinard met his highest scoring output in the juniors in Halifax was the same year Alex Tanguay joined the QMJHL.  They bothed had pretty similar stats, but Alex had a few more years of seasoning and in his last year in Halifax, scored 61 points in only 31 games. 

Chouinard had a long haul to the NHL and toiled in the Mighty Ducks farm system for 3 years before making it to the NHL as a 13th forward for parts of 3 years in Anaheim.  It wasn’t until he joined a team of cast-offs in Minnesota that Chouinard was able to stick in the NHL on a full-time basis.

There should be no expectation that Chouinard comes to this team with any hope of some sort of scoring breakout.  He’s no Alex Tanguay, and has never been a prolific scorer.

But that’s not why the Canucks signed him.  It’s part of their more defensive strategy.  Chouinard, along with Willie Mitchell, have been taken from the Minnesota Wild in an attempt to gain more focus on the other side of the rink.

So the Canucks are going to gain a little strength up the middle, and while Chouinard was touted as a faceoff specialist when signed, he is a bit more than that.  Take a look at the youtube.com link I found of some of his highlights from last season and you should be pleased with what you see.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlqSA3iInBQ&mode=related&search=

Well as pleased as you can be with a third line center. 

But he is a good Canadian kid and is going to bring a work ethic to the team that has been lacking in Vancouver for some time, and that’s should be an exciting change.

The Chief Canuck