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Presenting: The Vancouver Wild / Minnesota Canucks

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Combining Canucks and Wild alumni rosters to create to most mediocre team in NHL history. 

Minnesota Wld v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

This Sunday the Vancouver Canucks will make their triumphant return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs… kind of.

The Canucks of course are one of the 16 teams slated to take part in the NHL’s Qualifying Series, facing off against the Minnesota Wild in a best of five series to determine who will move on to play in the “real” Stanley Cup Playoffs. Never mind the fact that the Canucks were actually in a proper playoff position based on points percentage when the league halted play on March 12th or the fact that the league will count player statistics from the play-in round as it would for the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. According to the NHL, the matchup between the Canucks and Wild is decidedly NOT a playoff matchup.

But let’s be real for a moment: It’s the playoffs, baby.

And you know what that means? Dozens upon dozens of playoff preview articles. People with far greater insight with much more analytical and critical ability than myself will break things down for you and make an educated prediction on who will win this series and why. In fact, you can already fill your boots with this kind of content by reading:

To be honest though, that’s not the kind of thing that turns my crank. What really gets me going is a good Richard Park or Jordan Schroeder reference.

So, with that in mind I set about creating a roster made up entirely of NHLers who played for both the Canucks and the Wild during their playing career. These are players who played for the Canucks AND the Wild, but were not exclusive to these two teams.

An obvious example: Surely we all remember Willie Mitchell from his days with both the Canucks and the Wild. Well he also played for the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers, as well. His time with the Kings and Panthers, as fruitful (Kings) or forgettable (Panthers) as those two stints may have been, do not disqualify him from his inclusion on my ridiculous roster. In fact, Willie is probably having his jersey number retired by this sad sack Frankenstein Canucks/Wild franchise given its lack of talent and depth.

There were a few rules that had to be bent to fill out this roster and I’ll address those as we pick apart one of the most mediocre rosters to never hit the ice.

So, at the risk of completely alienating two hardcore fanbases, I somewhat proudly but mostly apprehensively present the Vancouver Wild and/or Minnesota Canucks.

Top line

Matt Cooke Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

Matt Cooke - Pavol Demitra - Owen Nolan

Okay… not AWFUL but we already have a caveat to address. If you’re reading this thinking, “WTF!? Owen Nolan never played for the Canucks! This guy’s an idiot!”, well you’re half correct. Nolan did indeed play for the Canucks during the 2011 preseason while on a professional tryout contract (PTO). Also, you are correct… I’m an idiot.

Matt Cooke and Pavol Demitra are, of course, memorable Canucks and Wild alumni members, having played significant roles on both teams. Seeing that we have three recognizable NHL players on our top line, I’d say things are off to a great start.

Second line

Denis Brodeur Collection Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

Richard Park - Cliff Ronning - Jordan Schroeder

Oh boy… see that cliff back there? I think this roster just fell off it…

Cliff Ronning obviously stands out here as the only member of this line to really do anything of consequence in the NHL. He’s a Canucks legend of course and managed to pot 48 points in 80 games in his lone season with the Wild in 2002-03.

Richard Park was a utility forward for the Wild before playing a single season with the Canucks in 2005-06 before moving on to the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. The less said about 2009 Canucks first round bust pick Jordan Schroeder, the better.

Third line

Vancouver Canucks v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Charles Laberge/Getty Images

Marc Chouinard - Andrew Ebbett - Zach Dalpe

We are officially now in “Ooof” territory.

Long before the days when Canucks fans were calling for Loui Eriksson’s contract to be bought out, Hell before the topic of buying out Roberto Luongo’s contract was en vogue, Canucks fans wanted forward Marc Chouinard off the books. Then GM Dave Nonis did exactly that, buying out Chouinard after also signing him to a $1.1 million annual deal. He put up just four points in 42 games with the Canucks after two relatively productive seasons with the Wild from 2003-2006.

Andrew Ebbett seemingly played for every team in the NHL during his career, I’m willing to bet that he could play on just about any oddball Franken-roster that you could come up with. The most I can say about Zach Dalpe is that he did in fact play for the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild. How about that?

Fourth line

Fred Brathwaite #40

Bill Muckalt - Tyler Graovac - James Sheppard

I won’t lie, I like this line WAY more than the team’s third line. Bill Muckalt was a long shot to ever make the NHL after being selected in the 9th round by his hometown team back in 1994. The Surrey native managed to play 100+ games with the Canucks over two seasons and finished up his NHL career with an eight game stint in Minny.

Tyler Graovac… well I seem to recall him scoring a pretty sick snipe for the Canucks earlier this season. Good enough for me. James Sheppard, a former 9th overall pick of the Wild, inked a PTO with the Canucks back in 2016 that ultimately went nowhere. He’s a force in the German DEL though…

Top pairing

Detroit Red Wings v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Willie Mitchell - Keith Carney

Willie Mitchell is the unofficial captain of the Vancouver Wild / Minnesota Canucks. The stay-at-home defenceman from Port McNeill, BC played five seasons for the Wild and four seasons for the Canucks and was a fan favourite in both locales. Willie is legit.

Keith Carney, well I don’t know if legit is the right term when talking about his career with the Canucks and Wild, but the guy did manage 1000+ NHL games. That’s as legit as it gets when it comes to this roster.

Second pairing

Columbus Blue Jackets v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Keith Ballard - Cam Barker

This pairing is just primed for a good nickname. “Disappointment Duo” or “Total Bust Twins” are my top choices. Keith Ballard has been relegated to meme status amongst Canucks for over a decade now. Cam Barker will go down in history as the answer to the trivia question “Who was selected 3rd overall after Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft?”

Third pairing

Minnesota Wild v Washington Capitals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Brad Bombardir - Clayton Stoner

Look… neither of these guys played for the Canucks, okay? By my count there are only four defencemen in NHL history who have played for both the Wild and the Canucks, so I had to get creative.

Brad Bombadir and Clayton Stoner though are BC natives who have played with the Wild, so I’ll bend the rules for them. Bombardir, from Powell River, BC, was a rock solid blueliner for the Wild in their first four seasons and is still with the organization serving as the team’s Director of Player Development. Stoner has a funny name so I chose him over Greg Zanon, okay?

Goalies

There’s literally no one.

I can’t even use my dumb “But these are BC boys!” caveat here, so this team has no goalie.

Actually… scratch that. Canucks broadcasting legend John Garrett played both for the Canucks and for the WHA’s Minnesota Fight Saints, so he’s our starter. Not bad, right? Backing him up is Minnesota native Bob Mason who played just six games total for the Canucks.

So, here’s how our team looks on paper from top to bottom

Matt Cooke - Pavol Demitra - Owen Nolan
Richard Park - Cliff Ronning - Jordan Schroeder
Marc Chouinard - Andrew Ebbett - Zach Dalpe
Bill Muckalt - Tyler Graovac - James Sheppard

Willie Mitchell - Keith Carney
Keith Ballard - Cam Barker
Brad Bombardir - Clayton Stoner

John Garrett
Bob Mason

Anyone care to put some money on this thoroughbred of a lineup?