FanPost

The Grungy Years: Canucks' Drafting in the '90s


In the world of theoretical physics, as in most imaginary fields, there are generally two kinds of geniuses: the Grinders and the Wizards. Richard Feynman's method of problem solving was described this way by Murray Gell-Mann:

"The Feynman Problem-Solving Algorithm: (1) write down the problem; (2) think very hard; (3) write down the answer."

That's a wizard. They can keep tonnes of information locked away in their brainpans and recombine them at will without worrying too much about where their notes got to (they don't have any) or if they are remembering details correctly (they are). It's all faintly horrifying for those of us who need not only our own notes and books and scraps of paper surrounding us at all times, but everyone else's, too.

What I'm saying is: I don't trust me to get it right. And I ain't talking about physics, I mean anything.

That's why when I found myself repeating what was 'common knowledge' (i.e. the Canucks suck at drafting players) I thought I'd re-examine the perceived wisdom and break it down to actually compare the picks with the average for the year. If there were only a dozen players who made a real difference to their teams one year, is it really the Canucks' fault for not getting them?

What I found was pretty much what I suspected: while there were a couple good years (2004 was impressive), for the most part the picks didn't go as well for Vancouver as they did for other teams.

I described the model I was using last time, going through the first decade of the 2000s, so I won't go over it again; but I will mention that when I say 'average' I'm using the common definition which is mean (it's modal if you're nas-tay!), and I've also included when the first pick happened. Also where there's a '0', it means someone was drafted but played no NHL games; as compared to 'N/A' which means there was no one drafted in that round.

Seeing as I have no use for sleep, recreation, or eyeballs that function properly, I decided to go back a decade further and see how they did. Was poor drafting a fine tradition, or an aberrant event? Let's find out!

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1990: NHL average - 1st: F (763 GP, 524 Points); D (633 GP, 202 Points); G (823 GP)

..........2nd: F (411 GP, 247 Points); D (96 GP, 30 Points); G (640 GP)

..........3rd: F (136 GP, 74 Points); D (187 GP, 36 Points); G (199 GP)

..........Canucks: (2) - 1st: Petr Nedved, F (982 GP, 717 Points); Shawn Antoski, F (183 GP, 8 Points); 2nd: Jiri Slgr, D (622 GP, 249 Points)

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1991: NHL average - 1st: F (700 GP, 455 Points); D (744 GP, 252 Points); G (N/A GP)

..........2nd: F (377 GP, 228 Points); D (317 GP, 105 Points); G (0 GP)

..........3rd: F (250 GP, 117 Points); D (27 GP, 4 Points); G (341 GP)

..........Canucks: (7) - 1st: Alek Stojanov, F (107 GP, 7 Points); 2nd: Jassen Cullimore, D (812 GP, 111 Points); 3rd: Sean Pronger, F (260 GP, 59 Points)

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1992: NHL average - 1st: F (351 GP, 198 Points); D (702 GP, 253 Points); G (N/A GP)

..........2nd: F (341 GP, 154 Points); D (269 GP, 75 Points); G (92 GP)

..........3rd: F (148 GP, 44 Points); D (343 GP, 67 Points); G (163 GP)

..........Canucks: (21) - 1st: Libor Polasek, F (0 GP); 2nd: Mike Peca, F (864 GP, 465 Points); Mike Fountain, G (11 GP); 3rd: Jeff Connoly, F (0 GP)

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1993: NHL average - 1st: F (697 GP, 491 Points); D (523 GP, 188 Points); G (596 GP)

..........2nd: F (351 GP, 159 Points); D (284 GP, 95 Points); G (133 GP)

..........3rd: F (148 GP, 67 Points); D (179 GP, 37 Points); G (0 GP)

..........Canucks: (20) - 1st: Mike Wilson, D (336 GP, 57 Points); 2nd: Rick Gerard, F (0 GP)

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1994: NHL average - 1st: F (519 GP, 227 Points); D (479 GP, 160 Points); G (166 GP)

..........2nd: F (319 GP, 123 Points); D (295 GP, 52 Points); G (648 GP)

..........3rd: F (296 GP, 123 Points); D (78 GP, 25 Points); G (N/A GP)

..........Canucks: (13) - 1st: Mattias Ohlund, D (909 GP, 303 Points); 2nd: Rob Gordon, F (4 GP, 0 Points); Dave Scatchard, F (659 GP, 259 Points); 3rd: Chad Allan, D (0 GP)

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1995: NHL average - 1st: F (567 GP, 346 Points); D (546 GP, 149 Points); G (446 GP)

..........2nd: F (167 GP, 61 Points); D (118 GP, 13 Points); G (2 GP)

..........3rd: F (160 GP, 64 Points); D (35 GP, 5 Points); G (109 GP)

..........Canucks: (40) - 2nd: Chris McAllister, D (301 GP, 21 Points); 3rd: Larry Courville, F (0 GP); Peter Schaefer, F (572 GP, 261 Points)

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1996: NHL average - 1st: F (547 GP, 256 Points); D (332 GP, 88 Points); G (0 GP)

..........2nd: F (215 GP, 79 Points); D (228 GP, 36 Points); G (114 GP)

..........3rd: F (154 GP, 52 Points); D (283 GP, 121 Points); G (0 GP)

..........Canucks: (12) - 1st: Josh Holden, F (60 GP, 14 Points); 3rd: Zenith Komarinski, D (21 GP, 2 Points)

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1997: NHL average - 1st: F (550 GP, 346 Points); D (508 GP, 129 Points); G (293 GP)

..........2nd: F (78 GP, 36 Points); D (149 GP, 35 Points); G (2 GP)

..........3rd: F (82 GP, 32 Points); D (76 GP, 9 Points); G (76 GP)

..........Canucks: (10) - 1st: Brad Ference, D (250 GP, 34 Points); 2nd: Ryan Bonni, D (3 GP, 0 Points); Harold Druken, F (146 GP, 63 Points); Kyle Freadrich, F (23 GP, 1 Point)

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1998: NHL average - 1st: F (706 GP, 400 Points); D (527 GP, 125 Points); G (6 GP)

..........2nd: F (215 GP, 86 Points); D (133 GP, 19 Points); G (16 GP)

..........3rd: F (239 GP, 136 Points); D (187 GP, 35 Points); G (46 GP)

..........Canucks: (4) - 1st: Bryan Allen, D (710 GP, 134 Points); 2nd: Artem Chubarov, F (228 GP, 58 Points); 3rd: Jarkko Ruutu, F (652 GP, 142 Points); Justin Morrison, F (0 GP)

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1999: NHL average - 1st: F (349 GP, 206 Points); D (315 GP, 69 Points); G (3 GP)

..........2nd: F (70 GP, 15 Points); D (126 GP, 28 Points); G (81 GP)

..........3rd: F (230 GP, 89 Points); D (118 GP, 37 Points); G (67 GP)

..........Canucks: (2,3) - 1st: Daniel Sedin, F (979 GP, 805 Points); Henrik Sedin, F (1010 GP, 842 Points); 3rd: Rene Vydareny, F (0 GP)

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So what did we learn today, other than showing how badly skewed small sample sizes can be (blame the goalies)?

I've learned that Patrick White has a rival for "Worst Canucks Pick Right Before A Much, Much Better One"; I've learned that some years you can get just as good a player in the third round as the second (on average); and that there are a disturbing number of player that I have zero memory of who apparently played for my favourite team!

I would actually say the Canucks did worse in the decade following the millennium than in the one before, but a big part of that could be the lower draft position and the cost of team success. What do you think?

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