The Vancouver Canucks are selecting 16th in the 2001 NHL entry draft.
With this pick they don’t have much of a chance at getting a goalie that will help them in the long run. Dan Blackburn and Pascal Leclaire are two goalies that are highly rated and have been highly scouted. They both have promising careers in the NHL. With the Canucks selecting 16th this year, the chances of either one of them getting drafted by Brian Burke and the Canucks very unlikely.
The only way that the Canucks would have a chance at getting either one of them was if a team like the New York Rangers made a deal. Since the Rangers are in need of a young goalie in their system, this is very unlikely. The Canucks need a team that does not need a goalie to make a deal with a team that needs a young goalie. Rumors are already swirling about the possibility of Jagr going to the Rangers, but there also is the possibility that Mike Peca or one of the Sabres many good young goalies to be dealt. Anything is possible. But the chances of the Canucks getting either Blackburn or Leclaire are very unlikely.
I also think that the possibility or the Canucks trading their pick if a goalie is not available a very likely situation. The Canucks obviously lack penalty killing strength, and a point man on the power play. With the pick they have this year it is possible that the Canucks could deal it for a power forward type right winger. Someone like a Brad Isbister.
With the Rangers holding the 10th overall pick, the needs are clear, first a banging, physical forward with size and skill. In order to show what the Rangers really need one has to analyze what they have as of draft day.
The prospect roster is stocked with goaltending with Johan Holmqvist, Vitali Yeremeyev, Johan Asplund and Jason Labarbera leading the list. This is an area that does not need any tinkering and any one of these can step in as back up to a “healthy” Mike Richter or whomever G.M. Sather crowns as No.1 in 2001-02.
DEFENSE: The defense has some solid prospects in Mike Mottau, Pat Aufiero, Filip Novak and recovering Tomas Kloucek but this area is not as deep as one would like either. As we wait for Wes Jarvis and Burke Henry to develop one knows that with each passing month they are not with the big club, chances are they will not make a steady contribution to the Rangers in the “show”.
Forward: The Rangers forward stock is thin at best. An active off season will have to me made via free agency and trade and not less important via the draft to fill the cabinets not only in NY but for their AHL affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut. The past year’s drafts of smallish players like Christian Dube (Switzerland) and Marc Savard (traded to Calgary) must shift to a higher gear, one that looks for bigger players that CAN contribute at the NHL level.