May 29 2016 02:25PM
Yes, the time is nearly upon us. Ever since word leaked at last year's draft that there was mutual interest between the Vancouver Canucks and local boy Milan Lucic, a fierce debate has raged amongst the fan base: should the Canucks be interested? Should we, the fans, be accepting of a key cog of the 2011 Boston Bruins, irrespective of the hero he was for this city in junior?
Milan Lucic is an illustration of the rift that has grown between Canucks fans. There's a very real hatred associated with what he did to the Canucks five years ago, lifting the silver chalice in our building while sporting the spoked B. Yet it's difficult to imagine that even his fiercest critic wouldn't be able to find some semblance of forgiveness deep down inside them if the former Giant ended up pulling on the blue and green.
In short, Milan Lucic has us all deeply confused and conflicted. So.. should we bring him aboard?
May 29 2016 07:00AM
Coming in at #24 we have we have the prodigiously sized Tage Thompson. Thompson brings a skill game rarely seen in such a big man and was exceptionally productive for a 17 year old NCAA freshman. That said there are some reasons for concern when it comes to how and when he was scoring those points, as well as whether it was him or his frequent line mates who were really driving the offense.
After the jump we'll take a look at Thompson and why he's a guy who would be considered more of a long term prospect, but one with whom the upside at the end may be too much to pass up.
May 28 2016 05:06PM
When you think Brian Campbell, you probably think of his massive contract that the Blackhawks handed to him in 2008 after solid seasons in Buffalo and a strong showing in his limited time in San Jose. He was serviceable in Chicago, but he fell out of favour and many wondered if he would be the victim of a buyout. However, he was sent to Florida in a way for the Panthers to get above the cap floor and has quietly put together some strong campaigns in Sunrise. His familiarity with newly acquired Erik Gudbranson (did you hear about that deal?) and his veteran experience, which includes a Stanley Cup ring with the 2010 Blackhawks, could prove valuable as the Canucks take the next step.
May 28 2016 12:58PM
Jim Benning has taken a lot of heat in this market over the past year or so, and with good reason. He's haemorrhaged assets at an alarming rate, been on the losing side of his trades more often than not, and signed a number of players to above-market-value contracts. For a moment, however, I'd like to cut through the negativity and talk about something Jim Benning has always done remarkably well: finding talent in the draft.
Players selected by the Canucks under Jim Benning have already played a combined 137 NHL games. That's an impressive feat, even if the argument could be made that those players may have been better suited spending some time in the AHL last season. It's doubly impressive when one considers that Jim Benning has only been at the helm for a total of two NHL drafts, and the scouting department's two biggest crown jewels- Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko- have yet to play a single game in the NHL.
May 28 2016 11:00AM
Dirk Graham, Right Wing, 5th round, 89th overall, 1979 Draft
Although Ryan Kesler might be the most obvious example of a Canuck draft pick that went on to win the Frank J. Selke Award as the NHL’s best defensive forward, he is by no means the only one. Mike Peca, whose most notable accomplishments as a Canuck were an infamous hit on Teemu Selanne and being the key piece going back to Buffalo in the Alexander Mogilny trade, won the award twice. The other Selke recipient, the focus of our continuing series on late round Canuck draft gems, was both a future NHL captain and one of the all-time great moustachioed men in league history – Dirk Graham.