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History of the 26th

by Tyson Giuriato / Vancouver Canucks

By the time Mike Gillis and his staff are on the podium to announce the 26th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, most of the big name prospects you have heard about all season will likely be off the board.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the Canucks don’t have a good chance of striking gold with the 26th overall pick. It also doesn’t necessarily mean whoever the Canucks take with their late first-round selection will take longer to develop than his draft-mates picked in the top 10 (see Perron, David). sifted through the draft archives to see who has gone 26th overall in past drafts. We found players of all sorts, including a couple of all-stars, a Conn Smythe trophy winner and pair of Canucks goaltenders (one past, one present).

15 of the best 26th overall picks from 1978 to 2008
Ennis has been one of the Sabres top offensive threats the past two seasons after a successful season in the AHL. The former Medicine Hat Tigers star is a fixture on the Sabres power play.
2007 david perron LW st. louis blues lewiston (QMJHL) 292 173
Perron jumped straight into the NHL upon being drafted by the Blues and made an immediate impact. He battled back from concussion problems the last two seasons to put up 42 points (21-21-42) in 57 games this past year.
2004 cory schneider g vancouver canucks phillips academy (US-HS) 68 38W
Arguably the best 26th overall pick ever. Enough said.
2003 brian boyle C los angeles kings st. sebastian's (US-HS) 271 77
The 6-foot-7, 245-pound forward found a home with the New York Rangers after two seasons split between the AHL and the Kings. Boyle netted career high 21 goals in 2010-11. NOTE: Another option for the Kings would have been Corey Perry, who went 28th to Anaheim.
2000 brian sutherby c washington capitals moose jaw (WHL) 460 90
 Sutherby is your prototypical role player, big, tough, and can chip in offensively at times. Although he has never scored at the rate he did in the WHL, he did put up 30 points (14-16-30) in 2005-06. NOTE: The Flyers took Justin Williams two spots later with the 28th pick.
1999 martin havlat rw ottawa senators trinec ocelari hc 660 539
When healthy, Havlat is one of the game's top offensive stars. The current San Jose Sharks forward has posted 50+ points seven times in his career.
1998 mike van ryn D new jersey devils u of michigan (NCAA) 353 129
Injuries caused Van Ryn to retire from the game during the 2008-09 season as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The London, Ontario, native posted back-to-back 37 point seasons while with the Florida Panthers, including 13 goals in 2003-04. NOTE: The Devils had lots of options as Scott Gomez went 27th to New Jersey, and Jonathan Cheechoo was taken by San Jose with the 29th pick.
1994 dan cloutier g new york rangers sault ste. marie (ohl) 351 139W
There is no question the sometimes hot-tempered Cloutier had his best seasons with the Canucks. He posted 30+ wins in the three full seasons he spent in Vancouver, while also recording seven shutouts in 2001-02.
1991 zigmund palffy rw new york islanders nitra (czech) 684 713
Great player, often on a bad team. Palffy scored at over a point-per-game pace during his NHL career, netting over 80 points five times. However, the Slovakian sniper played in just 24 post-season games during his 11 year NHL career. NOTE: Offensive defenseman Sandis Ozolinish went 30th to San Jose.
1987 rick tabaracci g pittsburgh penguins cornwall (ohl) 286 93W
Tabaracci played on seven teams (two of those teams he played for twice) during his lengthy career, and although most of his time was spent as a back-up, he played 147 games over three seasons from 1995 to 1998 for the Calgary Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning.
1984 brian benning D st. louis blues portland (WHL) 568 296
Benning’s best season came as a rookie when he posted 49 points (13-36-49) to go along with 110 penalty minutes. He would go on to register 30+ points six times in his career, and amassed 963 pIM. NOTE: The Blues could have taken Scott Mellanby with this pick, as he went 27th to Philadelphia. Another option would have been Stephane Richer, who Montreal grabbed with the 29th pick.
1983 claude lemieux RW montreal canadiens trois rivieres (QMJHL) 1215 786
Lemieux played on the edge, sometimes he even crossed the edge (just ask Kris Draper), but the guy was a flat out winner. He went to the Stanley Cup Final on five occasions, hoisting the cup four times. He was also named the Conn Smythe trophy winner, as playoff MVP in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils.
1980 bob McGill D toronto maple leafs victoria (whl) 705 72
Tough, real tough. The former Victoria Cougars defenseman may have only put up 72 points (17-55-72) in his career, but he made up for it with his fists. He shed the mitts 142 times in his career, while amassing 1,766 penalty minutes (2.50 per game).
1979 Brent ashton C Vancouver canucks saskatoon (whl) 998 629
Ashton only spent two seasons in Vancouver, but would go on to be a dependable scorer in the league, netting 20+ goals seven times in his career. His best season came as a member of the Winnipeg Jets in 1988-89 when he posted 68 points (31-37-68).
1978 don maloney lw New york rangers kitchener (ohl) 765 564
The current General Manager of the Phoenix Coyotes tallied over 50+ points six times in his career, with his best season coming in 1979-80 when he notched 73 points (23-48-73). Maloney spent the majority of his career with the Rangers, before ending his playing days with the Islanders in 1991, where he would eventually become GM of the team.
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