Top 10 prospects
1. Cody Hodgson, C
2. Cory Schneider, G
3. Michael Grabner, RW
4. Jordan Schroeder, C
5. Anton Rodin, RW
6. Sergei Shirokov, LW
7. Steven Anthony, LW
8. Yann Sauve, D
9. Taylor Ellington, D
10. Kevin Connauton, D
The Vancouver Canucks have the 25th selection in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft.
With Vancouver needing to get over the proverbial hump in the playoffs after bowing out short of the Western Conference Finals yet again, this offseason could prove pivotal in their success or failure. The emergence of quality forwards has squashed the need to add too much to the top six. On the contrary, solidifying the bottom-six forwards is more of a concern at this point. Ryan Johnson’s unrestricted free-agent status doesn’t help their cause too much either. These needs are unlikely to be filled from within the organization as many of their prospects are highly-skilled offensive-minded players who wouldn’t benefit from bottom-six minutes nor would they be very effective contributors there.
The number of offensive defensemen who occupy Vancouver’s ranks creates a natural need for defensive defensemen. Again, this is likely an issue that’s resolved through trade or unrestricted free agency as the top seven Canucks prospects are all forwards. The defensive prospects, a group headed by Yann Sauve, are not likely to make a strong impact next season.
Despite having a fair amount of on-ice success recently, the Canucks display a surprisingly talented prospect pool. Ultra-talented forwards such as Cody Hodgson, Michael Grabner and Jordan Schroeder are the cream of the crop. They are followed up closely by Euro standouts Anton Rodin and Sergei Shirokov. And of course there is top goaltending prospect Cory Schneider.
The Canucks have a strong corps of forward prospects but lack defensemen in the system. None of Vancouver’s defensive prospects project to be top pairing and similarly none of them are really considered a lock to become regular NHLers. Many of the defensemen in the pipeline are considered projects. Sauve and Taylor Ellington are defensive-minded but don’t bring much to the table offensively. Kevin Connauton and Jeremy Price are offensive-minded but leave something to be desired in the defensive zone. Peter Andersson has intriguing two-way upside, but his ETA for the NHL is still to be determined.
Schneider likely moving up to the NHL to back up Luongo creates a hole in the prospect pool’s goaltending depth. Joe Cannata and Morgan Clark, the only other goalies in the system, do not necessarily project to be regular NHLers. It’s not a pressing concern with Luongo and Schneider at the helm, but it can’t hurt to have goaltenders developing just in case.
The Canucks organization seems to be partial to virtually any avenue that will produce quality prospects and players. Even without taking into account the healthy mix of their depth picks in recent years, just taking a sample of their first rounders points to the scouting staff’s rich palette. Their last eight first-round picks were drafted out of (in reverse order starting with 2009 to 2002): the NCAA, OHL, USHL, WHL, QMJHL, US-HS, NCAA, RSL.
The Canucks will come into the draft with little ammunition in the top 100 picks. They own picks No. 25, 115, 145, 172, 175, 205.
They lost their second-round pick, initially, to Buffalo for winger Steve Bernier. They shipped off their third-round pick to Carolina for defenseman Andrew Alberts. Vancouver acquired the 172nd pick (sixth rounder) at the trade deadline from Phoenix when they sent Mathieu Schneider to the Coyotes.
Hockey’s Future Staff Mock Draft Pick: Jarred Tinordi, D, USNTDP