May 28 2013 08:22AM
Image courtesy Canucks.com
In late March we wrote up an Aftonbladet report that Canucks prospect Anton Rödin had made a verbal agreement with his former SEL club Brynäs to return there following the 2012-13 American Hockey League season. At the time we presumed that Rödin would at least wait to see whether or not the Canucks extend him a qualifying offer this offseason, but that presumption appears to have been incorrect.
Today multiple sources (and Aftonbladet) are reporting that Rödin has signed with Brynäs and will return to Sweden to play in the Elitserien next year. The Canucks will retain Rödin's rights (he'll basically become a restricted free-agent), but I think we can safely close the book on his time as a Canucks prospect.
Read past the jump.
Needless to say Anton Rödin, Vancouver's second round pick in the 2009 NHL draft, never really worked out for the Canucks. After dominating a world junior tournament and impressing enormously in the Elitserien during the 2010-11 season, Rödin just never successfully adjusted to the North American game. In his first season with the Wolves, Rödin managed twenty-seven points and battled shoulder tendinitis issues. He was hurt again in his sophmore American Hockey League campaign, and was even less productive when he was in the lineup, managing only fourteen points in a tick under fifty contests.
I find it a bit baffling that Rödin was such a non-entity in the American Hockey League, especially considering his speed, plus puck-handling ability and craftiness in puck battles. For a guy who weighs less than 180 pounds, Rödin had a solid knack for punching well above his weight along the boards. It's mystifying to me that his skills didn't translate into more offense even playing against secondary competition.
With Rödin returning to Sweden permanently and Kevin Connauton now one of the surplus of puck-moving blue-line prospects in the Dallas Stars organization, the Canucks have essentially burned their second and third round picks from the 2009 NHL draft. In total, those two picks resulted in a handful of underwhelming games from rental centre Derek Roy...
Vancouver's 2009 draft class is an interesting one, actually, in that there's lots of hand-wringing about it from Canucks fans even though the jury is out (or should be) on evaluating the majority of the players selected. Connauton and Rödin were flops in the Canucks organization, obviously, but Jordan Schroeder looks like an NHL player to me and Jeremy Price, Peter Andersson and Joe Cannata remain in the system. Those three will all play at the AHL level next season, at least they will if the Canucks can secure a parking spot for their newly purchased affiliate franchise, and while none of those players are particularly close to contributing to the big league club there's still opportunity for them to develop into NHL regulars.
Tony Gallagher recently evaluated the relative weakness of the Canucks prospect pool and put the organization's scouts on blast:
Can you say, honestly, that more shouldn’t have been expected out of Jordan Schroeder by now, if he was going to be the player they had hoped. He’s not finished developing, and you certainly don’t want to be making assumptions too quickly, but at the moment it doesn’t look like he’s top-six material unless he makes a whack more progress. Anton Rodin has been a bust so far. Kevin Connauton has been given up upon.
The loss of a first-rounder in 2010 for the Keith Ballard trade was obviously a huge blow, but which of the pro scouts was that high on the guy in the first place if his use here wasn’t the coach’s fault?
Yann Sauve getting hit by a car just as he was beginning to show some maturity wasn’t helpful, granted, but basically, unless Nicklas Jensen, Peter Andersson, Eddie Lack and Brendan Gaunce are all as good as everyone is hoping, it’s been a very lean run.
So shouldn’t there be some heads rolling here? Just because you once played for the Vancouver Canucks, have a great personality and can tell a good joke doesn’t qualify you to pick talent and stock an NHL team.
The Canucks are made fun of by the other scouts. To get a job, it seems all you need in your background is to have once put on the jersey and you’re in.
Here's the thing about Mike Gillis's draft record, and hold on to your butts because this is going to be a crazy revelation: it's mixed. I really like the organization's habit of taking NCAA bound players in the late rounds, but their emphasis on undersized skilled forward in 2008 and 2009 didn't work (though they appear to have changed course since). Also, they're clearly playing at some angle drafting more mature players of late that I frankly don't think makes a lot of sense (of course, I also don't really understand their angle yet).
For all of the criticism of the team's draft record, it's likely that all of Brendan Gaunce, Chris Tanev, Frank Corrado, Jordan Schroeder and Eddie Lack will credibly compete for NHL jobs at training camp this fall. Basically Vancouver's draft record is just about average, even if it looks worse than it is. Kind of like Luongo in the shootout.