The last time the team was in this situation they took a two-way centre out of Ohio State University that went on to play over 600 games in a Canucks uniform. Years earlier, the Canucks also found their very first 40-goal scorer with the 23rd selection.
Canucks.com opened up the history vault and sifted through all the past drafts to find the top players in NHL history that were taken 23rd overall:
Ray Whitney, 1991, San Jose Sharks
Just the second selection ever made by the Sharks, Whitney went on to play in parts of 22 seasons in the NHL, posting 1064 points (385-679-1064) in 1330 games. A Stanley Cup winner in 2006 with Carolina, the Fort Saskatchewan, AB product seemed to get better with age, posting a career high 83 points in 2006-07, while scoring more than 70 points in four of his final eight seasons.
Todd Bertuzzi, 1993, New York Islanders
One of the most popular players in Canucks history, Bertuzzi appeared in 1159 NHL games, registering 770 points (314-456-770). His best seasons came in a Canucks uniform (1998-2006), where he netted 449 points (188-261-449) in 518 games.He currently sits ninth on the Canucks all-time points, goals and assists lists.
Travis Green, 1989, New York Islanders
The current bench boss of the Utica Comets, Green took a few years to make the NHL full-time, but once he did he became a dependable two-way forward that appeared in 970 regular season games. He had a career-high 70 points (25-45-70) in 69 games with the Islanders during the 1995-96 season, while finishing his career with 455 points (193-262-455).
Ryan Kesler, 2003, Vancouver Canucks
In perhaps one of the deepest drafts in NHL history, the Canucks were able to snag the current Anaheim forward at 23. He appeared in 28 games for the Canucks the very next season and went on to produce 393 points (182-211-393) in 655 games with Vancouver. Kesler had a career high 75 points (25-50-75) in 2009-10, followed up by a career-high 41 goals the following the year, a season in which he won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s Top Defensive Forward. He played a vital role in the Canucks 2011 Stanley Cup run.
Scott Hannan, 1997, San Jose Sharks
The Lower Mainland product has enjoyed a lengthy career as a shutdown defenceman, appearing in 1055 regular season games and 100 post-season contests. Some of his best hockey came in the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he held Avalanche star Peter Forsberg to just one goal in six games during a second round series victory. Hannan won gold with Canada at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Ron Sedlbauer, 1974, Vancouver Canucks
Sedlbauer only played seven seasons in the NHL, but was able to leave a bit of a mark, becoming the first Canucks player to score 40 goals in a season in 1978-79. He also shares an expansion era record with Rick Nash for fewest assists during a 40-goal season, with 16. Sedlbauer finished his Canucks career with 108 goals in 325 games.
Craig Hillier, 1996, Pittsburgh Penguins
The first goaltender selected at the 1996 NHL Draft, the Penguins were hoping they had their goaltender of the future. The plan was to develop Hillier for a few years, then eventually transition him into the starting role, replacing Tom Barrasso. That didn’t happen. Hillier couldn’t translate his spectacular OHL career into the pro ranks. He played for two AHL teams and four different ECHL teams in a three-year span before going over to Europe.