The Canucks have had three number ten picks in the last 15 years and just five in the top ten overall. Vancouver will select in the familiar ten spot at this year’s NHL Entry Draft – one of the deepest and most promising drafts since 2000.
The first pick overall spot has seen some great talent in Hart Trophy winners, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Rick Nash, Erik Johnson, and this year’s Calder Trophy winner, Patrick Kane, who was selected last year by the Chicago Blackhawks. But what about the 10th pick? Is history any kind of indication?
A lot of it depends on Mike Gillis and his hard-drive full of scouting reports, but here’s a quick look at the last 10 picks at the number ten slot:
| ||2007: Keaton Ellerby (FLA) |
A cousin of Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan, Keaton Ellerby is a playmaking offensive defenseman that also finishes his checks well. He stands 6'4" and weighs 186 pounds and is a good skater with great mobility. He handles the puck well and uses his long reach effectively. Ellerby won the hardest shot competition (95.6 mph) at the 2007 CHL Top Prospects Game.
2007-08: After three full seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, Ellerby was traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors 16 games into the season. He finished the year with 26 points (23 with Moose Jaw), a career-best of his junior career. Ellerby had two assists in the postseason, where the Warriors failed to make it out of the first round of the WHL playoffs, falling in five games to the Calgary Hitmen.
| ||2006: Michael Frolik (FLA) |
Born in Kladno, Czech Republic, Michael Frolik hails from the same hometown as Jaromir Jagr and Tomas Plekanec. The 20 year old centreman stands at 6’1” and 185lbs was scouted as a young Jagr and represented his country at the World Junior tournament in 06-07. He has displayed exceptional playmaking ability along with a gifted sense for the game. His combination of agile speed and a solid shot can produce plenty of razzle-dazzle in the open ice.
2007-08:Frolik has just completed his second full season in North America with the Rimouski Oceanic in the QMJHL, where he put up 65 points (24-41-65) in 45 games.
| ||2005: Luc Bourdon (VAN) |
Luc Bourdon first emerged onto the national stage and into the hearts of the Canucks family when the then 19-year old was drafted tenth overall in 2005 after impressing Canucks management with his raw ability as a member of Val d’Or of the QMJHL.
The Canucks selected Luc in 2005 – the first season following the lockout. Luc was a tremendous young prospect with great gifts both on and off the ice. Luc’s life was tragically cut short when he was involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident this summer just outside of his hometown of Shippagan, New Brunswick.
| ||2004: Boris Valabik (ATL) |
Boris Valabik left his hometown in Slovakia in 2003 to join the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL to learn the “North American” game. He’s represented his country at the World Junior Championships in 2005 and 2006 and played his first pro season last year with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL last season, where he managed a +12 rating and nine points (2-7-9). At 6’7”, he uses his body well and is a fearsome fighter. He can make a good first pass and has decent shot selection.
2007-08: Valabik dressed for his first NHL game this season against Carolina, where he saw almost 18 minutes of ice. He played 58 regular season games with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL but finished the regular season with the Thrashers playing in the final seven games of the season. He returned to the Wolves to help the team to a Calder Cup Championship, where he had four points (3-1-4) in 24 games.
| ||2003: Andrei Kostitsyn (MON) |
Position: Left Wing
Brother of Sergei Kostitsyn, who also plays with the Canadiens, Andrei carries big expectations – not to mention a healthy sibling rivalry. He’s an excellent puck-handler with good speed (a theme in Montreal these days). He has good hockey sense but need to develop his game away from the puck. He’s played with the Canadiens the past three seasons but only played his first full season at the NHL level in 2007-08.
2007-08: Kostitsyn reached his first milestone when he played his 100th NHL game March 9 in Anaheim. He finished with an impressive plus-15 rating, good for second on the team. He finished the year with 53 points (26-27-53) in 82 regular season games. Kostitsyn made his first postseason appearance in the NHL, scoring five goals and eight points in 12 games before his Canadiens were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round.
| ||2002: Eric Nystrom (CGY) |
Position: Left Wing
Eric Nystrom completed four years at the University of Michigan and served as captain in three of the four years. He was drafted as a 19-year-old after his rookie year with the Wolverines, where he was named to the CCHA all-rookie team and posted 31 points (18-13-31) in 40 games. He represented the United States twice at the World Junior Championships in 2002 and 2003. He missed most of the 2006-07 season with an injury but returned to play five games with Omaha in the playoffs. Nystrom is scouted as a strong two-way player with a good hockey sense and can bring consistency to a team.
2007-08: Nystrom started the season with the Quad City Flames before being recalled by the Flames to play on October 22. He played 44 games with the Flames this year, including seven playoff games and 18 games regular season games with Quad City. Eric quickly became a fan favourite for his tenacious, never-say-die attitude. In fact, the web guys in Calgary can’t say enough good things about him.
| ||2001: Daniel Blackburn (NYR) |
Dan Blackburn was the CHL goalie of the year during his draft campaign and named to the Canadian Major Junior first All-Star Team. He made his season debut as a Ranger in the 2001-2002 season on October 10, 2001 and made the NHL all-rookie team after 31 games with the team. He played in 32 games the following season with a 8-16-4 record before missing all of the 2003-04 season with a shoulder injury. Blackburn played one more year of hockey with the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL before finally retiring because of the nerve injury to his shoulder.
| ||2000: Mikhail Yakubov (CHI) |
Drafted by Chicago, Yakubov is currently in the Florida Panthers’ system after being placed on waivers in 2006. Yakubov played 40 games with the Blackhawks in two seasons and was a minus-12 rating before joining the Panthers. He played 13 games in the 2005-06 season, where had just one assist and finished a minus-1. Yakubov returned to Russia to play with Cherepovets Severstal.
2007-08: Yakubov is still with Cherepovets Severstal in the Russian League, where he has 16 points (4-12-16) in 55 games.
| ||1999: Branislav Mezei (NYI) |
Originally drafted by the New York Islanders, Branislav Mezei played two seasons with the Isles before being traded to Florida in 2002. He played with the Belleville Bulls in the OHL for three years, where he had 28 points in 58 games in his draft year. He was scouted as having tremendous size and hitting ability. He is able to play a solid game as a stay-at-home defenseman and displays plenty of poise in the defensive zone.
2007-08: Mezei missed the final 36 games of the season with a shoulder injury but played 57 games, which is the most he’s played in an NHL season. He had four points (2-2-4) and finished a minus-13.
| ||1998: Nik Antropov (TOR) |
Position: Right Wing
One of only two players from Kazakhstan currently playing in the NHL, Antropov is a bit of a curiosity. He’s managed to carve himself a regular role at the NHL level since leaving Russia in 1999. He just completed his eighth season with the Leafs with a career best 56 points (26-30-56) in 72 games. He’s represented Kazakhstan in the World Junior Championships in 1999 and in the Torino Olympics in 2006. He is said to have great vision of the ice and is a good two way player that can play in all three forward positions. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a giant at 6’7”, 230-pounds, but it’s also a bit of a curse given that many a Torontonians just pray that he’ll wake up one day with bee in his pants and turn into a nastier version of Mats Sundin.
2007-08: He had career numbers in all three major categories and finished the season with a plus-10 rating. Antropov played his second 72-game season for the second time in his career but has yet to play a full 82-game season.