Hopefully there's been enough time to get that nasty taste of failure out of our collective mouths because this next week is crucial to how Mike Gillis and company adjust this team and begin the long uphill climb into 2011. Free agency starts in exactly a week, but before then we have the draft which kicks off tomorrow night in LA.
A quick note on that - I had hoped to be in LA to bring a bit closer perspective on Vancouver's moves over the weekend, but some travel issues kept me from making it. Very frustrating. So my humble apologies to the SBN crew as well as the NM community. Next year we'll get it right, I don't care if they have the damn thing on Mars.
After the jump we'll take a quick look at Vancouver's world heading into tomorrow.
Barring any trades beforehand, the Canucks have six young men to select this weekend in the following order:
- 25 (first round)
- 115 (fourth round)
- 145 (fifth round)
- 172 (sixth round)
- 175 (sixth round)
- 205 (seventh round)
Vancouver lost the second round pick to Buffalo (who has since moved it to Columbus) in the Steve Bernier deal. Their third rounder is in the hands of Carolina after picking up Andrew Alberts at the deadline in March. On the other hand, they picked up #172 in the Schneider deal with Phoenix after he cleared re-entry waivers prior to joining the Coyotes.
As MacIntyre notes in the Sun, this is the first time in Canucks history they enter a draft with no picks in the second or third round.
According to Hockey's Future, the Canucks have weaknesses on the back end (gasp!) that need to be addressed:
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.
All very true and helps explain why HF - as well as NM - picked up Jarred Tinordi in mock drafts. Tinordi is a 6'6'' left-shooting defenseman from the USHL who even the canucks.com folks have their eyes on:
One of the biggest players in this year’s draft, Tinordi should probably be ranked higher than where he his. By all accounts, the North Dakota University-bound prospect has great character and leadership abilities, as shown by captaining his team to a Gold Medal at the World Under-18 Championships. Known as a solid defensive d-man, he was +8 at that tournament and wasn’t on the ice for a single goal against. His father Mark spent 12 seasons in the NHL, racking up more than 1500 penalty minutes.
Update: I missed this, but Andrews Stars Page has a good write up on him, including this from the Red Line Report 2010 Draft Guide:
Massive stay-at-home rearguard with excellent character, bloodlines, and leadership. Dependable, shutdown defender always thinks defense first and his crease coverage is among the best of this class - colossal frame and nasty disposition form an impenetrable barrier between opponents and his goalie. Readily protects teammates and will drop the gloves. Reads and reacts to plays well at the defensive end.
Of course, the pick could be moved or maybe Gillis even moves someone like Cory Schneider or the rights to SOB. With such a weak draft hand to begin with, it has to be something the boss keeps his ears open for. If he opts to be patient for the third straight draft as GM, Gillis can take comfort in there are always gems to find deeper in the draft.
If you're interested, SBN also has some damned interesting reading on where drafted players hail from as well as a historical look at each team's drafting prowess (you may want to shield your eyes on this one).
The 2011 campaign has already started. Once again we wait to see what the boss man has in mind.