Canucks 2001 Draft Review

By Kirk Pedersen

Every team has to build somehow. General Manager Brian Burke and Assistant GM David Nonis have done an excellent job in taking the Canucks from doormats to a success story in the money-driven NHL of today is remarkable. Burke and Co have been able to build through the draft, acquiring players such as Bryan Allen, Artem Chubarov, the Sedins, Brandon Reid, and now, R.J. Umberger, and that’s only in three seasons since taking over.

The Canucks have never been a model of draft excellence. Blunders such as Shawn Antoski, Alek Stojanov, Libor Polasek, and others, have been more or less forgotten since Nonis and Burke took over a couple of years back. They have instilled a mode of confidence in the players, management, and most importantly, the fans.

Even though Bryan Allen hasn’t arrived full time, (Which can be excused because of his various injuries) Burke has had a multitude of success in developing players, and drafting the best player available, rather than picking for a need, and that strategy has served him very well, as there is nothing to suggest that the good luck won’t continue.

Burke and Company strolled up on to the Draft podium and announced that their first pick in 2001 was R.J. Umberger. Umberger, who is is power-forward type of player. He slipped to the Canucks which was probably due, in small part, to the Oilers making a reach for Ales Hemsky at number thirteen.

The one problem with Umberger, however, is that he always leaves scouts wanting more. For someone with his size, he should be involved more with the physical aspect of the game, he will need to involve himself more in that part of the game if he wants to become a force, a la Todd Bertuzzi. He could be as good, if not better than Bertuzzi, but it could take a lot of work. He is slated to remain at Ohio State next season, and continue his education, and to continue to play for the Buckeyes.

Name: R.J. Umberger
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 200
Position: Centre
Central Scouting: Number 5 North American Skater
Nationality: American

   Year   Team        GP     G      A       P      PIM
   00-01 Ohio State   33    14     22      36      18
         U.S.A. (Jr.)  7     2      2       4       2

Analysis: Good pick. Umberger has all the tools to be an NHL success.

No pick in the second round, but in the third round took the younger brother of Detroit sniper Sergei Federov. Younger brother Fedor, who was unable to come to terms with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and re-entered the draft.

Name: Fedor Fedorov
Height 6’3″
Weight: 180
Position: Centre
Originally drafted by Tampa Bay, Round 6, Pick #182 Overall, 1999 Entry Draft.
Nationality: Russian

    Year     Team     GP       G      A      P      PIM
   00-01    Sudbury   67      33     45     78       88

Analysis: He’s a bit bigger than Brother Sergei, but doesn’t have the scoring touch of his brother. He had a brief audition with the Port Huron Border Cats of the UHL in ’99, but only lasted for 42 games as a 17 year old. He won’t produce all that much right away, but it seems as if he’s got all the physical tools to be a success in the minors, if not the NHL. Even if he isn’t a success, he will provide another warm body to be at Stan Smyl’s disposal next season in Winnipeg.

In the fourth round, with the 114th pick overall, was Evgeny Gladskikh. He’s another Russian League player who spent last season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk where he tallied eight points.

Name: Evgeny Gladskikh
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 176
Position: Left Wing
Central Scouting: Number 112 European Skater
Nationality: Russian

    Year    Team        GP    G      A      P      PIM
   00-01  Magnitogorsk  31    3      5      8       10

Analysis: His stats looks decent for a boy playing in a man’s league.

In round five, the Canucks dipped once again into the American College System, and nabbed Bowling Green Defenseman Kevin Bieksa. Bieksa, a teammate of fellow Canucks’ future hopeful Curtis Valentine, finished eighth in Falcons scoring, with thirteen points (4g, 9a) in 35 games.

Name: Kevin Bieksa
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 180
Position: Defense
Central Scouting: Unranked
Nationality: Canadian

Year Team GP G A P PIM
00-01 Bowling Green 35 4 9 13 90

Analysis: He looks like he might be a tough customer with his 90 PIM in only 35 games, and we could all use one of those, but might not have the overall skill needed to be an NHL force. He could probably be a good player in the minors, though.

No selection in Round six.

In the seventh round, the Canucks decided to select a player out of the QMJHL, possibly hoping to rekindle the luck they had with last years late-rounder Brandon Reid. With the 212th pick in the Draft, the Canucks landed on Halifax Mooseheads winger Jason King. King, a native of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, tallied an impressive 48 goals for Halifax last season.

Name: Jason King
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 195
Position: Centre
Central Scouting: Unranked
Nationality: Canadian

    Year     Team      GP    G    A      P    PIM
   00-01    Halifax    72   48   41     89     78

Analysis: So far Reid and Bell have made Burke look very good, with both putting together solid seasons with their respective teams. Good goal numbers for King, and he will no doubt grow on those next season, if he can stay in Halifax.

With their final selection in the 2001 Entry Draft, the Canucks went back to Europe and selected Russian centre Konstantin Mikhailov. He was ranked a bit high for an eighth round pick, so he might have some kind of flaw to allow him to fall.

Name: Konstantin Mikhailov
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 176
Position: Centre
Central Scouting: Number 46 European Skater
Nationality: Russian

    Year   Team       GP   G      A     P      PIM
00-01 Neftekhimik 24 0 2 2 12
Analysis: We shall see what kind of player he is, if he chooses to come over to North America to play.