The Vancouver Canucks draft history through the first decade of the new millennium was far from great. Plenty of talent was missed, picks were traded away, and one of their most successful draftees (**R.J. Umberger)** demanded a trade before he played a single game for the team.

Vancouver also had their best years as a team during the 2000s, making the playoffs in all but two years. This continued success gave the team’s scouts quite a bit of leeway when judging them. Vancouver’s highest pick in the first 10 years of the 2000s was the 10th overall, which they obtained in both 2005 and 2008.

The 1990s weren’t very different than the 2000s for Vancouver. They saw similar success, with one Stanley Cup Final appearance and making the playoffs more-often-than-not. Yet the Canucks draft history was significantly better in the 90s. They had 13 players over the course of the decade that played in more NHL games than the average player from their draft year. This is a testament to how well they both scouted elite talent and primed said talent for the NHL. The long list of success stories shows the terrific ability of the Canucks in the 90s. While for most of the decade they won games at the NHL level, they were also nurturing talent and setting up for success in the early 2000s.

## Breaking Down the Vancouver Canucks Draft History: 1990s

The Canucks broke the 40-win mark for the first time in 1991-91 and made it to the Stanley Cup Final two years later. Overall, they made the playoffs six years straight to start of the 90s. Yet, to many fans dismay, they hit a bump in the road to cap off the 1900s. They missed the playoffs for the final four years, only to revive their success come the turn of the century.

### A Mixed Blessing

In an effort to remain in contention, the team made trades of increasing desperation – seven of them in the second half of the 1994-95 season alone. The first-round selection lost in 1995, for instance, was part of a deal for sharpshooter **Alexander Mogilny**. Mogilny would go on to score 107 points and 55 goals in 1995-96. He is only the second Canuck to ever record a 50-goal season, although **Pavel Bure** did it twice. In total, Mogilny scored 308 points in 312 games as a Canuck, giving Vancouver plenty of compensation in what was a blockbuster deal.

These desperation deals were enough to earn the team a playoff spot in 1996, but not much else. It’s fair to think of the possibilities the team could have had if they simply held on to their picks instead of ditching them for one more playoff appearance.

Canucks Draft History

**1990**

Canucks: (2nd overall)

1st: **Petr Nedved**, F (982 GP, 717 Points); **Shawn Antoski**, F (183 GP, 8 Points)

2nd: **Jiri Slegr**, D (622 GP, 249 Points)

3rd: No pick

*NHL average*

1st: F (763 GP, 524 Points); D (633 GP, 202 Points); G (827 GP)

2nd: F (411 GP, 247 Points); D (96 GP, 30 Points); G (640 GP)

3rd: F (136 GP, 74 Points); D (187 GP, 36 Points); G (199 GP)

#### **1991**

Canucks Picks (7th overall)

1st: **Alek Stojanov**, F (107 GP, 7 Points)

2nd: **Jassen Cullimore** D (812 GP, 111 Points)

3rd: **Sean Pronger**, F (260 GP, 59 Points)

*NHL average*

1st: F (700 GP, 455 Points); D (744 GP, 252 Points); G (N/A GP)

2nd: F (377 GP, 228 Points); D (317 GP, 105 Points); G (0 GP)

3rd: F (250 GP, 117 Points); D (27 GP, 4 Points); G (341 GP)

#### **1992**

Canucks Picks (21st overall)

1st: **Libor Polasek**, F (0 GP)

2nd: **Michael Peca**, F (864 GP, 465 Points); **Mike Fountain**, G (11 GP)

3rd: **Jeff Connoly**, F (0 GP)

*NHL average*

1st: F (351 GP, 198 Points); D (708 GP, 255 Points); G (N/A GP)

2nd: F (341 GP, 154 Points); D (269 GP, 75 Points); G (92 GP)

3rd: F (148 GP, 44 Points); D (343 GP, 67 Points); G (163 GP)

#### **1993**

Canucks Picks (20th overall)

1st: **Mike Wilson**, D (336 GP, 57 Points)

2nd: **Rick Gerard**, F (0 GP)

3rd: No pick

*NHL average*

1st: F (697 GP, 491 Points); D (523 GP, 188 Points); G (596 GP)

2nd: F (351 GP, 159 Points); D (284 GP, 95 Points); G (133 GP)

3rd: F (148 GP, 67 Points); D (179 GP, 37 Points); G (0 GP)

#### **1994**

Canucks Picks (13th overall)

1st: **Mattias Ohlund**, D (909 GP, 303 Points)

2nd: **Robb Gordon**, F (4 GP, 0 Points); **Dave Scatchard**, F (659 GP, 259 Points)

3rd: Chad Allan, D (0 GP)

*NHL average*

1st: F (519 GP, 227 Points); D (479 GP, 160 Points); G (166 GP)

2nd: F (323 GP, 125 Points); D (295 GP, 52 Points); G (648 GP)

3rd: F (296 GP, 123 Points); D (78 GP, 25 Points); G (N/A GP)

#### **1995**

Canucks Picks (40th overall)

1st: No pick

2nd: **Chris McAllister**, D (301 GP, 21 Points)

3rd: **Larry Courville**, F (0 GP); **Peter Schaefer**, F (572 GP, 261 Points)

*NHL average*

1st: F (603 GP, 364 Points); D (546 GP, 149 Points); G (446 GP)

2nd: F (167 GP, 61 Points); D (118 GP, 13 Points); G (2 GP)

3rd: F (160 GP, 64 Points); D (35 GP, 5 Points); G (109 GP)

#### **1996**

Canucks Picks (12th overall)

1st: **Josh Holden**, F (60 GP, 14 Points)

2nd: No pick

3rd: **Zenith Komarniski**, D (21 GP, 2 Points)

*NHL average*

1st: F (563 GP, 258 Points); D (332 GP, 88 Points); G (0 GP)

2nd: F (240 GP, 88 Points); D (228 GP, 36 Points); G (114 GP)

3rd: F (154 GP, 52 Points); D (283 GP, 121 Points); G (0 GP)

#### **1997**

Canucks Picks (10th overall)

1st: **Brad Ference**, D (250 GP, 34 Points)

2nd: **Ryan Bonni**, D (3 GP, 0 Points); **Harold Druken**, F (146 GP, 63 Points)

3rd: **Kyle Freadrich**, F (23 GP, 1 Point)

*NHL average *

1st: F (575 GP, 388 Points); D (522 GP, 131 Points); G (374 GP)

2nd: F (78 GP, 36 Points); D (149 GP, 35 Points); G (2 GP)

3rd: F (82 GP, 32 Points); D (76 GP, 9 Points); G (76 GP)

#### **1998**

Canucks Picks (4th overall)

1st: **Bryan Allen**, D (721 GP, 136 Points)

2nd: **Artem Chubarov**, F (228 GP, 58 Points)

3rd: **Jarkko Ruutu**, F (652 GP, 142 Points); **Justin Morrison**, F (0 GP)

*NHL average*

1st: F (603 GP, 335 Points); D (595 GP, 141 Points); G (6 GP)

2nd: F (212 GP, 98 Points); D (133 GP, 19 Points); G (16 GP)

3rd: F (268 GP, 150 Points); D (223 GP, 46 Points); G (47 GP)

#### **1999**

Canucks Picks (2nd, 3rd overall)

1st: **Daniel Sedin**, F (1306 GP, 1041 Points); **Henrik Sedin**, F (1330 GP, 1070 Points)

2nd: No pick

3rd: **Rene Vydareny**, F (0 GP)

*NHL average*

1st: F (388 GP, 236 Points); D (334 GP, 72 Points); G (3 GP)

2nd: F (70 GP, 15 Points); D (129 GP, 28 Points); G (81 GP)

3rd: F (243 GP, 92 Points); D (118 GP, 37 Points); G (102 GP)

### Building Blocks and Breaches

The decade started with a can’t-miss prospect, in Nedved, and ended with general manager Brian Burke pulling a rabbit out of his hat with the 1999 NHL Draft theatrics. In between were a few lucky strikes, a couple of astute picks, and some object lessons in choosing size or position over skill.

### Rock Bottom

At 12th overall in 1996, expectations were high for **Josh Holden**. Unfortunately for the Canucks draft history, four of the first-round centres chosen after him would go on to play over 750 NHL games, while Holden only managed 60. One can be more forgiving of Komarinski missing, as wasn’t taken until 75th overall. At that point, making it to the NHL is an accomplishment.

### Mountain High

It’s easy to see where the best picks in Canucks draft history lay: the twin peaks of the Sedin Brothers.

A generally awful year for the draft produced the two highest-scoring Canucks in history. They began their careers sheltered by the West Coast Express – a line with all three members having been traded for – and finished it with over 1300 games and 1000 points each. The story of how Burke managed to get the second overall pick in trades with three different teams is part of Canucks legend by now.

In retrospect, you have to wonder if the Atlanta Thrashers, Chicago Blackhawks, or Tampa Bay Lightning would repeat the deal. And, for that matter, if the Sedins would have been in as many highlight packages if they were separated.

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