Now there are a lot of you kids out there wondering why in the heck I am writing about Adrian Aucoin retiring today. Well, Aucoin was drafted by the Canucks in the 5th round in 1992. Aucoin played 6 seasons with the Canucks between 1995 - 2001. Those years. The lousy and filthy Canucks years. Aucoin played 341 regular season games with the Canucks (more than any other team he played for) scoring 49 goals, 71 assists and 120 points. He was a +11. He appeared in only 10 playoff games in his tenure here because the Canucks sucked, scoring 1 goal and no assists.
Aucoin scored his first NHL goal on his first shot on May 3, 1995 against Arturs Irbe and the Sharks.
In the 1998-99 season, Aucoin became a bit of a hero in Vancouver, despite the team's failures. He recorded a career year with 23 goals and 11 assists in 82 games. The goals to assists differential there tells the story. Aucoin had a rocket of a shot that was employed mightily on the power play. In fact, to quote his Wiki page:
...he rose from just 3 goals in 1997–98 to 23 the next season, 18 of which came on the power-play, tying Denis Potvin for the NHL single-season record (broken by Sheldon Souray's 19 powerplay goals in 2006–07). In addition to leading all league defencemen in goals and power-play goals in the 1998–99 NHL season, Aucoin also led all defencemen in shorthanded goals (2) and game-winning goals (3).
So yea, he still holds the Canucks' record for goals by a defenceman in a single season, and most power play goals, of course. He won the Babe Pratt Trophy as the Canucks' best defenceman that year.
I can still recall his play. Sure, he was a -14 that season because he did not score many points 5 on 5 and the team was a bunch of minuses anyway. But once the Canucks went on the power play, it was like watching Sami Salo out there. You just waited for somebody to pass the puck to him at the point so he could release that howitzer. If he had snuck in a bit from the point...even worse news for the goaltenders. Ironically he and Salo both wore the #6.
Aucoin also had a mean streak that of course was appreciated.
I found a quote from a Vancouver Sun article about his shot that I found intriguing:
“I remember trying to pass a couple of times and Mike (Keenan) was going: ‘No, no, that’s not what you’re doing, just make sure you pound it,’ ” Aucoin recalled Thursday. “So we’re in practice one day and I take a one-timer and I hit Messier. I break his shin pad and clearly it hurt him a little bit. So he comes up to me and I am like ‘oh, boy.’ I didn’t know what to think.
“Then he says: ‘OK, great. That’s the only way you’re going to get better. Keep shooting it.’ And I was, like: ‘OK, Mess.’ ”
There are no clips of Aucoin with the Canucks on YouTube that I can see, but I can show you a few examples of what he could do.
You get the drift.
Aucoin struggled to stay healthy and score after his big season and was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for.....Dan Cloutier in 2001. Aucoin played for 7 different teams in his NHL career, but he never bested that goal total in '98-99.
He retires after playing 1108 regular season games, scoring 121 goals and 399 points. He also played 62 playoff games, scoring 6 goals and 21 points.
Happy retirement, Mr. Aucoin!
Also see: Adrian Aucoin, the shootout master.