Canucks 2002 Draft preview: part 2

By Kirk Pedersen

The Canucks having two picks in the second round. Here are a group of players whom the Canucks may find enticing when they step to the podium this coming weekend in Toronto, focusing on the young forwards weho may be available at #49 and 55.

The first player is Justin Maiser. The big, tough centreman spent last season with Boston University; banging and crashing his way to twenty points (7g, 13a) in 32 games.

Good: Maiser’s biggest asset is without a doubt his physicality; he hurts players. He has a good first-stride, and skates well in a straight line. He’s a deft passer, and is always one of the hardest-working guys on the ice.

Bad: Several scouts have tagged him as ‘dirty’. As long as he can keep his temper under control, he’ll be okay at this level. One other thing is that he still lacks overall polish on his offensive game. His passing is good, but his overall puck skills need a bit of work.

Petr Kanko is a smallish winger nearly averaged a point-per-game while he adjusted to the North American style.

Good: Kanko has an excellent package of skills; including a first step that almost looks like he’s been shot out of a cannon. He is a good passer, who has great vision on the ice of open teammates. He’s got a good shot, which is nearly always on the mark.

Bad: According to several scouts, Kanko has questionable character, and seemed to ‘stop’ doing what he was doing well around mid-season for Kitchener. A poor finish dropped him like a stone in the CSB rankings; making him a possible steal in the middle of the second round. His lack of size isn’t as big of an obstacle as you’d think; he handles himself well at 5’10”, 200.

Overall: Kanko would be another guy the Canucks should be thrilled to get with one of their picks. The diminutive winger would give them a serious prospect on the wings. His offensive stats weren’t great, but now that he’s used to life in North America, he should break out next season. A steal if he’s there.

Another OHL product, Adam Henrich could also slip to where the Canucks are selecting. This big bulldozer is being hurt in the rankings by the fact that his older brother, Michael; who was a first-rounder in 1998 by Edmonton, still has yet to shake the ‘bust’ tag. Henrich, who has excellent size and soft hands, potted 33 goals with the Battalion in his sophomore season.

Good: Adam has fantastic size at 6’4″ 230, and will (on occasion) put it to good use. For someone so big, soft hands are gravy. Henrich has excellent hands for such a big man, and his 33 goals this past season can attest to that. He’s got decent defensive awareness, and is a good offensive player all around.

Bad: For his size, the younger Henrich could stand to be a lot meaner. His skating skills are still sub-par; so he’ll need to work on those before he can be considered a legitimate prospect. Also, as previously mentioned, his family bloodline isn’t helping him advance in this draft; if anything, it’ll bring him down.

In the End: Henrich could be a big dropper come Saturday, and if the Canucks see him available with either of their picks; it’d be a wise decision to take him.

Strikingly-skilled Jan Kubista could be another guy the Canucks may take a flyer on. The speedy Czech winger had a decent season with his junior club in Pardubice, with seven goals and sixteen points in thirty games.

Good: A right-winger, Kubista has excellent skills across the board. He’s got an excellent shot, and has crisp passes. He can occasionally help out on defense, has an excellent stride and good skating ability; and has good vision of the ice.

Bad: According to THN, Kubista’s play went down the drain after Christmas. He just seemed to lose any edge that was on his game, including commitment and grit. This will need to go away in order for him to become a productive professional player.

Overall: Kubista is a brilliantly-skilled player, who brings back memories of Jan Hlavac, especially when it comes to offensive skill. Could be a good late-second or early-third rounder.

Next is Brandon Wheat Kings winger Tim Konsorada. He’ll most likely be available to the Canucks later, in the fourth or fifth round.

Pluses: Konsorada is a very competent offensive player with a great deal of skill. He’s got decent size at 6’1″ and 200 pounds. Konsorada is a good puck-handler, and has good stick-handling skills. He’s not particularly physical, but he’s got good strength, too.

Minuses: Despite his size, Tim is not much of a hitter, and usually shys away from the rough-going. His numbers were rather underwhelming for someone in his draft year; much like his teammate, Lance Monych. He will also need to get tougher if he wants to become more of a complete player.

The final forward is Andrei Mikhnov. The very tall, (6’6″) yet wiry (only 192 pounds) brother of Oiler prospect Alexei Mikhnov doesn’t have the same raw skills as his brother, but he’s bigger, and has come to North America sooner; both are pluses if he wants to become a player in the NHL.

Positives: Andrei’s huge frame often makes scouts wonder if he’ll be anything of a power-forward at the NHL-level; and with teams drafting for size even more nowadays, he’s already got his foot in the door. The youngster moves quite well for his size, and has strong skating skills. Mikhnov also has a powerful shot, and a nose for the net; both of which will help him become a power-forward; but, he’s not there yet.

Negatives: For someone so big, the Ukranian forward doesn’t use his body well at all. He needs to become more aggressive in his overall game if he’s going to make it to the upper-echelon of NHL, or even OHL, players. His offensive game left a lot to be desired this past season, and that’s another thing he’ll need to improve upon if he wants to have a shot in the future.

Overall: He might be worth a gamble later in the draft.

Goaltenders

Todd Ford is in his second season with the Swift Current Broncos. A teammate of Nathan Smith, the big goaltender held the club in several games down the stretch, and was solid in the playoffs.

Bonuses: Ford is big at 6’4″, which helps him cover a lot of net. He’s quick on his feet, and controls the puck well. Rebounds are not usually a problem for the big, lanky kid from Alberta. He is an intelligent player who rarely makes a bad move.

Flaws: Plays a butterfly style, which can sometimes nullify his size-advantage.

Overall: Ward would be a nice pick for the Canucks on Saturday. Reminds me a bit of our current ‘Goaltender of the Future’, Alex Auld.

Next is goaltender David Leneveu. This former BCHL’er spent this season with the U. of Cornell Big Red, and is currently the CSB’s #6 NA Goaltender prospect. He had a fantastic season as a Freshman, compiling an 11-2-1 record, with 2 shutouts, a 1.50 GAA, and a .936 SV%. Very impressive numbers, but the small sample size makes me wonder.

Strengths: David is a quick goaltender who uses the butterfly method. He’s got good awareness of the play around him, and isn’t prone to lapses of concentration. He doesn’t back down from anyone, and will stand his ground at all times.

Weaknesses: He will slip in this draft because of the hype other goaltenders have recieved. This, coupled with his relative inexperience (only 14 games played this season) will allow him to drop a few rounds on Saturday. Nobody has really any idea of how he’d play over a full season besides last season, with Nanaimo; in a second-tier league. He has yet to face a high level of competition.

Bottom Line: Taking a chance on Leneveu is a good idea. However, this might be too high.