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2012 NHL Draft : Canucks Get Bigger

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June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; General view of the stage prior to the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; General view of the stage prior to the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Its always fun during the draft. We all try and project, burn up Google looking for info on the guys that our team picks, and tell our friends that cheer for the Oilers, Flames etc how much their picks suck. ( seriously, Jankowski? The kid could be great, but why pick him that early when everyone else has him projected in the second round. Huh Mr Feaster? )

What was fun is reading the reaction on Twitter to some of the Canuck picks. Rest assured, just because some guy saw your teams' pick in Oshawa a year ago, that does not mean his word should be gospel. We have a scouting staff, and of course they get dumped on by the hordes of internet experts every year ( they should have taken xxxxxxxxxx ! ), but I tend to take them at their word, or at least trust their opinion more than some others.

Of course, its a little more difficult than picking the consensus #1 for the third straight year ( and really Oiler fans, you talk about how your "young stars" are going to roll over the NHL THIS year for sure. No offense, but we are still waiting for those 1st round consensus picks getting your team up the table at least a spot or two...but hey...POTENTIAL!)

I highlight that word for obvious reasons. Thats what the draft is all about. So, without further delay, lets take a minute to check out what the word is on this year's crop of young men that may soon wear the Blue and Green.

The first thing to note is that the Canucks took a few players that were not your traditional 18 year old, as more than one comes to the draft for their second time. The organization desire to get bigger and older with their picks is duly noted as well.

So, with the 57th pick, the Vancouver Canucks select Alexandre Mallet. Who's that you ask? Well, he is definitely a veteran of the draft. This is his 3rd time in the mix for professional hockey employment. Here's his quick hit from the Province. A writer for the Hockeywriters website calls him the "next undrafted gem" in an article from April. What I like about this 20 year old who played for Rimouski in the QMJHL? He is the classic "late bloomer". He went from 10 goals and 19 points in 60 games last year to 34 goals and 81 points in this past year, in 68 games. Thats impressive. So is going +27 in a pretty offensive league like the Q'. The 123 PIM points to a guy that can play tougher if needed as well.

Hey, when a guy has a hockeyfights page, it does point to a physical player. As does the 8 bouts last year. He models his game on Tomas Holmstrom. Thats good. His agent is Allan Walsh. Not so good!

Here is young Mr Mallet after being drafted...

After a few rounds where the Canucks watched the other teams fill up the draft sheet, it was time to pick again by the 5th round. With the 147th pick, the Canucks selected another draft returnee. After not hearing his name in 2011, Ben Hutton ( who was ranked #200 by Central Scouting ) was selected 53 spots above that. As is detailed in his Province blurb here, he was out fishing for bass at the time. Something tells me he will enjoy Beautiful British Columbia! He is already committed to the University of Maine, and the skinny on his play seems to be a young man that is an offensive defenseman. who does not mind using his size ( 6'3", 195 lbs already ). While it might be tough to judge the stats ( he played for Nepean and Kemptville in the Central Canadian Hockey League, which is definitely not a marquee feeder league, where he scored 11 goals, 6 of those on the power play, and added 32 assists in 57 total games. Thats decent production no matter the league ), you have to play somewhere, right? The Canuck scouts must have felt strongly about him to take him above his rank, so I will bow to their obviously greater knowledge.

I like the story here from the playoffs for Nepean. The kid was a leader and the 1st star in the clinching game in the playoffs for his team.

Thirty spots later, with the 177th pick, the Canucks went local for a change, taking another overage winger, this time one Wesley Myron from the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL. As the info get a little shorter ( check out this bare bones blurb from the Province ), we get to the players where it is a little harder to project. This league is a strong feeder to players looking to get their education, and Wesley will be playing for Boston University in the fall. We all know how Mike Gillis like the smart players, so, for me, this is another strong pick, just based on potential. Myron had 17 goals and 42 points in just 26 games, and thats pretty good regardless of the league you are in. Check out this Victoria story from Nov 2011 ( about 1:20 in ) He sounds like a smart kid. Drafted, a scholarship to a good university, a Gold Medal winner in the World Junior A Challenge, and now a Canuck.

What stands out in most the stories on him is that he has good speed, and is said to be a strong two way player. Again, no matter the league, you have to be impressed when someone scores at a 1.8 points per game clip. His coach ( Len Barrie ) sounds pretty impressed here.

Myself, I love this video. Its from 2010, but you have to love a guy with a "big knob", no matter how much he gets made fun of for it!

Finally, with their final pick in the 2012 Draft, the Vancouver Canucks took another long term project that could have a great return. You know all those great things you here about Patrick McNally? Well, that Harvard star will be playing against the Canucks 207th pick, as young Mathew Beattie will be attending Yale in the fall. This could very well be another case of a player falling because of his school plans. Thats fine with the Canucks. We like smart players with size and skill, and this 6'3", 175 pound high schooler ( Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire ) went a bit later than his ranking ( 129th amongst North American players in the mid season rankings ). He can play centre, right and left wing. Yet another 19 year old, ( and with the understanding that it is tough to project on high school scoring stats ) he scored at a 2.64 PPG rate last year, with 39 goals and 35 assists in 28 games. Check out what his prep school coach says about him here, and here.

Or just watch the highlight clips that someone has put together for us from Youtube...

Hits pretty damn hard, huh!? Honestly, its tough to know this far out, but if even half of the projections in those collegehockey profiles above come true, the Canucks could have unearthed a late round steal!

He sure sounded excited about being drafted here...

Either way, a smart young man that is years away, but could be a solid pick down the road. Thats the beauty of the draft when you get down this far. He was one of the last half dozen players taken this year. But, then again, Jannik Hansen was the same as a 9th rounder. There are some pretty glowing things said about the young man here as well, with a quote from an "NHL scout" that he is one of those guys that "makes it look easy out there".

So, there you are. I've mined the Google ranks for you, but if you want to search any of their names, you can find much more. We take it for what it is worth, of course. But once again, it seems that Mike Gillis and Co. have drafted not only for position and need, but with an idea to smarts and character. Of that, I definitely I do with all these picks now that I have had a chance to get to know them. Hopefully, after reading this, you feel the same!