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Stealing Schroeder

by Jeff Paterson / Vancouver Canucks
Like so many of the young men selected in the 2009 National Hockey League entry draft, Jordan Schroeder had a few anxious moments waiting to hear his name called on Friday night at Montreal’s Bell Centre.

But after being selected 22nd overall by the Vancouver Canucks – a little later than many had projected -- the highly-skilled University of Minnesota centreman hopes the wait was worth it.

According to those who’ve seen him play, Schroeder (pronounced Shray-der) packs an explosive skill set into his 5’8”, 175 pound frame drawing comparisons to players like New Jersey’s Brian Gionta and Chicago dynamo Patrick Kane. In 35 games as freshman with the Golden Gophers, the 18-year-old scored 13 goals and added 32 assists leading his squad in helpers and finishing second on his team in overall scoring.

The Prior Lake, Minnesota native chalked up another 11 points in six games for Team USA at the World Junior Championship in Ottawa. So it’s safe to say this guy knows where the net is. Although considered a play-maker first, Schroeder – who considers Boston’s Marc Savard and Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom his favourite NHL’ers -- also possesses a powerful and deadly-accurate snap shot.

Jeff Paterson is a Team 1040 broadcaster and a regular contributor to the Georgia Straight.

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And the Canucks think they got a steal at the 22nd spot as the right-handed shooter was rated ninth overall by The Hockey News, 11th overall by Red Line Report, 14th by International Scouting Service and 15th by TSN. He finished the year as the fifth highest rated North American skater according to the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau.

“We had Jordan much higher rated than our selection and we didn’t think he’d be available to get with 22,” Canucks general manager Mike Gillis told TSN moments after allowing captain Roberto Luongo to make the selection in his hometown. “So when he (Schroeder) was there we were taking him. We’re very excited about it.”

Schroeder had barely had time to process the situation when he was asked about being selected by the Canucks. “(I’ve heard) nothing but good things about the organization,” Schroeder said. “I’m very fortunate to go there and I’m looking forward to meeting the fans.”

Schroeder said he has no idea how far he is from donning a Canucks jersey and playing for the organization.

“This (getting drafted) is only a step,” he said. “My dream is to play in the NHL so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

In the instant analysis of the Canucks first round selection, TSN’s Bob McKenzie made it very clear that he thought the hockey club had pulled off a first round heist.

“Second consecutive year that I’ve really liked the Canucks pick,” McKenzie said referring to last year’s selection of Cody Hodgson 10th overall. “This is a steal getting Jordan Schroeder here. The reason he fell – size. But he tied for second at the NHL scouting combine in the bench press. In all the strength tests, he mapped out near the top. I think this guy is going to be a big-time offensive player for the Vancouver Canucks.”

A teammate of the Canucks 2007 first round pick Patrick White at the U of M, Jordan Schroeder was the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Year last season and was also named Inside College Hockey’s National Rookie of the Year. So getting selected in the first round of the NHL Draft is just the latest in a long list of accomplishments in Schroeder’s memorable 2009.

The Vancouver Canucks have to be hoping the old adage is true about good things coming in small packages. Jordan Schroeder isn’t the biggest hockey player around, but he’s shown he’s capable of putting up big numbers. And after landing him with their first pick in the 2009 Entry Draft, the Canucks are looking forward to Schroeder shredding opponents for years to come.
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