Out of the System: David Honzik and Pathrik Westerholm

David Honzik
Screencap via canucks.com

Saturday afternoon the deadline for NHL teams to ink unsigned 2011 draft picks to entry-level contracts passed.

The Canucks confirmed to the Sporting News early on Saturday that the club had no intention of signing third round pick David Honzik, or sixth round pick Pathrik Westerholm. Not much of a surprise.

Read past the jump for more analysis.

David Honzik was selected very probably on the strength of his raw tools – Honzik is enormous, and exceedingly athletic – in addition to his lights out performance over a small sample of games in the 2011 QMJHL postseason. From the 2011 Young Stars tournament in Penticton through to the past two seasons in the Q, Honzik has struggled enormously since.

Everyone wants to hop on the "criticize Canucks scouting and drafting" bandwagon of late, and Honzik would appear to be ground zero for such complaints (seeing as how he was the team’s second pick after Nicklas Jensen in 2011). The Honzik pick was a bust, there’s no doubt about that, but four players selected ahead of Honzik will also be re-entering the 2013 draft, and two of those players are also goaltenders. Whiffs happen, especially when you’re evaluating 17 or 18 year old netminders…

As for Pathrik Westerholm, the undersized forward was drafted on the strength of a strong season in the Allsvenkan in 2010-11. He’s a skilled player and a Swede with a twin brother, so it would appear the Canucks went for upside late in the draft. Westerholm’s Allsvenkan scoring rate has atrophied mightily since his draft year and it would’ve been a surprise if the team had extended him an entry-level deal.

The Canucks selected eight players at the 2011 entry draft and have signed five of those players to entry-level contracts, including NIcklas Jensen and Frank Corrado who have already made their National Hockey League debuts. A sixth player, Wisconsin Badgers forward Joseph LaBate, has gone the NCAA route so the Canucks have a couple more years to make a decision before tendering him an an entry-level deal.

  • These two guys may not have worked out, but 2011 is a terrible draft if you want to criticize Canucks scouting. Jensen and Corrado look to be strong picks. Blomstrand and Tomernas are two Swedish players tracking very well, too. McEneny was signed as a ufa, too.

    I watched Blomstrand in his AHL debut in the Wolves. I love his attributes – size and speed – and think he’ll be a useful player in the vein of Higgins or Hansen.

    I dunno, I think this is you to be the draft year that defines Mike Gillis regime, much like 2004 did Nonis.

    • If 2011 is Gillis’ best draft (and so far you may be right), it’s not even in the ballpark of Nonis’ 2004 draft.

      The upside is far, far too limited with Gillis’ picks. Heck, put all 5 drafts together and there isn’t a single player with the upside of Edler, Schneider or Bourdon (RIP).

      I guess it can be argued that Hodgson had comparable upside to Bourdon; but considering Hodgson’s defensive limitations it’s a bit of a stretch.

      It’s the JP Ricciardi ‘Moneyball’ philosophy. Low-medium ceiling guys. Many of whom will fail in similar fashion to their high ceiling counterparts.

    • also, more telling, id say all of beattie, myron and hutton were upside picks not to mention tommernes and mcnally – mcnally in particular

      in fact, i think a higher percentage of his picks every year have been towards skill, scoring and upside over steady play. he seems to be trying to get his grinders in college fas/undrafted jr players

    • I respectfully disagree.

      When I speak of upside & high ceiling, I’m talking about a guy who has “core” player potential on a contending team. Which the Canucks are for at least another year, in my opinion.

      Of course, there is subjectivity in how you and I may differ in our definition of “core”

      In my opinion, the core Canuck players are the Sedins, Kesler, Hamhuis, Bieksa, Edler, Garrison & Schneider/Luongo. I consider both goalies to be core players, but of course there is only one net.

      As good as he is, I don’t consider Burrows to be a core player. In my mind, it takes a lot for a winger to be a core player and Burrows misses the mark.

      Grabner and the 40 goal ceiling people spoke of when he was a “boom or bust” prospect also does not qualify. But the core player ceiling was there and even if he never hits it, he is still a useful player.

      Bringing it back to the three prospects you mentioned, two are wingers. The chances of a winger meeting my definition of a core player is remote.

      The best of the 3 at the moment is Jensen. While he is considered a good prospect, what exactly is the upside? How much better than a Raymond/Hansen/Higgins are people projecting him to be?

      Tell me if you disagree, but it seems the industry opinion on Jensen is a 2nd/3rd line winger who can play on both sides of the puck. A nice (but replacable) player.

      Could he be better? Sure. But so could all the other 2nd/3rd line winger prospects in the minors.

      And he is probably the Canucks’ top prospect.

      To be clear, I don’t expect Gillis to necessarily find the Sedins when he consistently picks in the 20’s with his 1st rounder (aside from Hodgson).

      But where is the Edler, Schneider, Bourdon amongst his prospects? The closest was Hodgson and he gave him up for far too little.

      As I will continue to say until Gillis starts making better moves or is fired, the organization is worse at every position (F, D, G) at the major and minor league level than it was when Gillis was hired. If there is an argument against that, I’d love to hear it.

      • Actually, the general consensus upside for Jensen is that he could be a legitimate top six forward, maybe even a top line winger. That’s certainly beyond what players like Raymond, Higgins and Hansen currently offer. Those are tweeners. They can fill the 3rd/2nd line, but aren’t really counted as legitimate top sixers. Jensen could become that legitimate dynamic top six forward, and I’d say that’s a pretty high upside.

        • orcasfan

          Do you have a source for this?

          If I remember correctly, and please correct me if I’m wrong, the Canucks did not have a single top 50 prospect according to Hockey’s Future or The Hockey News and their only top 100 prospect on Hockey Prospectus was Jensen who was in the 80’s.



          That’s an old scouting report on Raymond. I certainly don’t see much of a difference between the two. And Raymond is a “successful” prospect in that he’s more or less met expectations and has been solid value from a late 2nd rounder.

          Not only do the Canucks have a weak farm system, Gillis’ “graduates” (Hodgson/Kassian, Schroeder, Tanev) don’t look like anything more than secondary contributors.

          Not a single prospect graduate/prospect looks like a future core player. Which is pretty bad after 5 drafts and 3 drafts that are old enough to evaluate fairly well.

  • Lack or Cannata could be his Schneider (Schneider was the product of almost a decade of development, soil…). Corrado could be his Edler.

    Nonis aside from the one year, gets too much credit. he has been a mediocre drafter. The majority of his 1st round picks gave been downright foolish.

  • Lack or Cannata could be his Schneider (Schneider was the product of almost a decade of development, soil…). Corrado could be his Edler.

    Nonis aside from the one year, gets too much credit. he has been a mediocre drafter. The majority of his 1st round picks gave been downright foolish.

    • orcasfan

      Nobody outside of Vancouver considers Lack to be an elite goalie prospect.

      Nobody outside of Vancouver considers Corrado to be an elite defenseman prospect.

      Both Schneider and Edler were top 50 prospects (as were Bourdon & Hodgson) BEFORE becoming impact NHLers.

      Being well thought of by the industry as a prospect is very important. All of the Canucks’ top prospects project as good-but-not-great contributors.

      • orcasfan

        The Goalie guild have Eddie Lack at nr 4 in their latest top 100 goalie prospect ranking. http://www.thegoalieguild.com/top100prospects/

        And several people in the biz outside Vancouver (like McKenzie) thought Corrado should have been on the world junior squad.

        Of course that doesn’t by itself prove that they are elite prospects. But saying that NOBODY outside Vanouver thinks they’re elite prospects is simply not true.

        • orcasfan

          Is the Goalie Guild as reputable as HF, THN or HP? I’m genuinely asking as I have no idea.

          And what does being 4th on this list mean? I’d much prefer to see a scouting report (or preferably multiple reports) that says Lack has the potential to be an above average NHL starter. That would be an impactful player.

          As for Corrado, his value is clearly much, much higher than when he was drafted. Which is good. But being a borderline Team Canada player does not necessarily mean he has impact potential.

          Go through the history of Team Canada players. Many do not become impact NHLers. And Corrado being a borderline candidate in his last eligible year is a lot different than being cut at 16 or 17.

          Finally, Jensen has pretty much “caught up” to all of the Canuck winger prospects.

          Corrado has surpassed all of the Canucks defense prospects and allowed Gillis to foolishly trade Connauton and a 2nd rounder for a rental.

          That in itself is quite telling about how terrible the first 3 drafts are, in large part because many picks were wasted on poor trades.

  • orcasfan

    It’s hard enough trying to “guess” which kids in the draft, in general, will ever play in the NHL. It’s just as difficult (especially without a top 5 pick!) to predict which of your developing prospects will actually evolve into the core players of your team. The Sedins are justifiably considered part of the core, for obvious reasons. But I remember when they were in their early 20’s that a lot of fans/pundits only thought they would top out as 3rd line players!

    I don’t know where Jensen or Corrado end up as roster players. They may develop up to their projected ceiling. They may not. Or they may exceed their projection. At this of their “careers”, who knows for sure? There are way too many examples of NHL stars who developed much further than how they were expected/projected to.

    So, if you went back to 2006-7, you may not have assessed the current core in quite the same way!

    • orcasfan

      Yes, of course this is true.

      But I’m not grilling Gillis’ draft selections only because they have provided little to no value to Vancouver.

      1) He has traded a lot of draft picks for underwhelming returns (Bernier, Alberts, Ballard, Kassian & Roy).

      2) Not a single prospect (aside from Hodgson) has had impact potential. And that’s because…

      3) Gillis’ draft philosophy is backwards. He wants to get “something” out of the draft picks as opposed to gambling on potential stars.

      And the results have been poor.

      Developing top prospects is also important because prospects can be used in trade. The only “core” player Gillis has acquired is Ehrhoff. It was a great trade that had more to do with timing than anything else.

      He doesn’t have the pieces that other teams covet and, hence, he can’t supplement the NHL roster with impact players via the trade market.

      Other than holdovers from the Nonis regime (Edler, Schneider).

    • orcasfan

      Correct me if I’m wrong on any of these points as you are far more knowledgable on this kind of thing than I am.

      -500ish shots is a pretty meaningless sample that likely has no predictive value.

      -For baseball, these “minor league equivalencies” aren’t really useful. AAAA players outperform legitimate prospects all the time so it doesn’t tell one anything of use.

      -Is there any statistical model (that has proven predictive value) that can use AHL save percentage numbers to predict the NHL save percentage equivalent?

      Generally speaking, and this goes for baseball as well, I’m far more interested in what scouts say about prospects than the statistical community. For hockey I’d say that is even more true.

  • The Goalie Guild is much better than HF. Justin Goldman has been offered jobs from professional teams and is writing for MacLeans right now. He is very very good at what he does, and I advise you to look at one of his scouting repots, and to generally explore his site. As the number four propect, he is basically an elite prospect.

    Being a borderline team canada player usually means you have impact player potential.
    Mean, big slapshot, smart, cool and collected. Could definitely end up being a core player.

    The fact that we can trade for a rental actually means we drafted well enough to afford that.

    • I know nothing about GG. But I’ve never heard of Eddie Lack referred to as an “elite” goalie prospect. I assume if he was he’d have been a top 50 or 100 prospect last season.

      The very fact that he wasn’t a top prospect last season (after two great AHL years), but somehow is an “elite” goalie prospect now after a poor/injury prone season makes me question the ideology. And the baseline for “elite” prospect status.

      What makes Justin Goldman very, very good at what he does?

      First off, Corrado didn’t make Team Canada. Even if he was a bad choice to cut, I assume that means, at best, he was borderline. And this was his last eligible year.

      And, again, making Team Canada doesn’t mean he is going to be an impact NHLer.

      “The fact that we can trade for a rental actually means we drafted well enough to afford that.”

      This is just a complete non-sequitar. Gillis offering a 1st for Clarkson and a 2nd + Connauton are job saving moves.

      With all due respect to my fellow Canuck fans, this all sounds like a bunch of apologizing for Gillis’ mistakes. His draft picks have yet to be considered top 50 prospects (aside from Hodgson) and they have provided very, very little value to the Canucks.

      I repeat, at every position at the major and minor league level the Canucks are worse than when Gillis was hired.

      Comparing Lack to Schneider and Tanev/Corrado to Edler/Bourdon are massive, massive leaps.

    • Mantastic

      Goaltending prospect projections are witchcraft at best, proven fact. so you really shouldn’t call him an elite prospect at all.

      and you have to be joking me that you think the canucks prospect cupboard was deep enough to trade your top 5 prospect.

  • NM00, referencing Hockey Future / HF Boards hurts your position. I’d recommend referring to something better, such as Hockey Prospectus. It’s better sourced, tends to see past draft pedigree and is less prone to hyperbole.

    • I’m not referencing HF Boards. At all.

      I’m referencing HF prospect rankings along with THN & HP. I’m quite sure they all rank the farm system low.

      If there is evidence that one of these is better than the others at ranking prospects, please share.

  • orcasfan

    Well, NMOO, I’m no Gillis apologist. At the same time, when I look at Nonis’ record on drafting and useless deadline give-aways of draft picks, I don’t see much difference. I will say, though, that when Gillis took over, he inherited the whole organization from Nonis. He brought in Gilman, but then took his time making other changes. I think Gillis is a very cautious guy, and even more so at the beginning when he had zero experience at the helm.

    Given his need to learn on the job (and that certainly is not his fault!), he did no rush into making radical changes. He took his time, learning just what he had – both organizationally and on the ice. He, then, started to make changes. So, over 5 years he has added substantially to the scouting team (badly needed), and shifted people around in the management team and scouting group. He was still doing that last summer! So, largely because he did not fire any of Nonis’ scouts, initially, for the first couple of drafts, the picks weren’t much different from Nonis & Co.

    As I said, Gillis is a very methodical guy. I think the changes he has made, especially in the scouting, but also in player development, will reap rewards for the organization in the future.

    Really, though, the fault for making those deadline deals (for Burke, Nonis and Gillis!) reats with the Vancouver market. The market dictates that this team has to make the playoffs, or, at least, make every effort (hello deadline deals!). Otherwise, the GM’s job is at risk. Add up all those (mostly) useless deadline deals over the past 10 years and just see how many high draft picks were flushed away. There goes your depth!

    • “At the same time, when I look at Nonis’ record on drafting and useless deadline give-aways of draft picks, I don’t see much difference”


      Edler, Schneider, Bourdon (RIP), Grabner, Raymond & Hansen in 4 drafts. Considering where he was drafting, that is more than what can be expected.

      The chances of Gillis first 4 drafts providing that kind of value are beyond a longshot.

      The first 3 drafts are pretty much dependent on Kassian & Schroeder thanks to the picks wasted on 3 poor trades (Bernier, Alberts & Ballard).

      The only “rental” trade was Roy. And Clarkson if Gillis had it his way.

      In 5 years, there has been one impactful good move (trading for Ehrhoff) aside from signing two local defenseman who wanted to play in BC.

      In no way does that one move make up for giving away numerous draft picks, drafting poorly in general & giving away Grabner, Hodgson and, in all likelihood, Luongo.

      Gillis’ moves are the reason the organizational depth chart is far weaker today than it was 5 years ago.

      • JCDavies

        “Edler, Schneider, Bourdon (RIP), Grabner, Raymond & Hansen in 4 drafts. Considering where he was drafting, that is more than what can be expected.

        The chances of Gillis first 4 drafts providing that kind of value are beyond a longshot.”

        Most of the scouting for the 2004 draft was done under Brian Burke, I’m not sure how much credit Nonis deserves for that draft. The responsibility for setting the direction of the scouting department for the year would have been the GM’s; in this case, Burke’s.

        Nonis got to walk up on stage and call names, but I don’t know if he really influenced the draft much. He certainly didn’t have much influence on who to pick with the 287th pick of the draft, at that point he was just deferring to the scouting department.

        The 2005 draft was deeper than most drafts – it would’ve been pretty difficult not to get a player with decent upside with a top-ten pick.

        The 2006 and 2007 drafts under Nonis are decidedly unimpressive.

        This is not exactly an above average draft history.

        From my first point, yes I do believe that Nonis deserves most of the credit/blame for the 2008 draft and Gillis less so (although, Gillis gets full credit for anything good/bad that comes out of that Hodgson trade).

        • Mantastic

          First off, Nonis worked with Burke.

          Nonis was the GM during the 2004 draft. Nonis was the GM who traded up so the Canucks could draft Edler instead of the Red Wings.

          Second, Nonis gets ZERO credit/blame for the 2008 draft.

          The organizational draft philosophy under Nonis & Gillis are completely different. And that is where the problem lies.

          Nonis was often criticized for going “off the board” with his selections. But that philosophy is what led to a number of high ceiling players being brought into the system. Two of them (Schneider & Edler) have become impact players. One of them (Grabner) has become a solid NHL player. One of them (Bourdon) tragically passed away.

          And, yes, there were outright busts like Patrick White. But so what? Busts are okay when there are as many hits as Nonis had.

          Gillis, on the other hand, is risk averse with his draft picks. After selecting Hodgson, for example, Gillis spoke of “trying to hit a double instead of a homerun”. Gills would rather get a bunch of useful players than a few impact players with his draft picks.

          Which is completely backwards. As is his focus on older/college prospects. As is his refusal to take defenseman in the 1st round. As is his refusal to take WHL players in general.

          Considering how large the Canucks’ scouting staff is, I doubt they are the problem.

          The problem is Gillis’ ‘Moneyball’ approach to drafting.

          • JCDavies

            As far as I’m concerned, you can judge Mike Gillis’ record on its own merits and, if you want to criticize what he has done so far, there probably won’t be much that I would disagree with but I do respectfully disagree with you about Nonis’ record.

            Besides Grabner, the 2006 and 2007 drafts were awful. I don’t know how you look at Taylor Ellington, Patrick White, Daniel Rahimi as early draft picks and say that Nonis’ record was anywhere near good enough.

            In 2005, with Bourdon, Kopitar and Staal available at pick #10, any GM in the league would’ve made a good pick there.

            In 2004, Nonis was GM for what, about three months? And you want to give him full credit for a draft process that had been going on for months before that? For all we know, Schneider and Edler were high on Burke’s list before they were on Nonis’.

            Gillis’ record aside, I think you are way off on Nonis’ record.

          • JCDavies

            You do realize Nonis worked with Burke, right? You seem to act as though he had nothing to do with “Burke’s process”.

            I don’t care about a single pick. I care about the body of work.

            On the whole, the Canucks did very well from 2004 – 2007 relative to their draft positions. This was in large part to Nonis’ high risk/high reward philosophy.

            On the whole, the Canucks have done poorly under Gillis. Specifically the 3 drafts that are old enough to evaluate.

            A large part of that is poor trades.

            A large part is Gillis’ backwards philosophy.

            Why you choose to focus on a single pick or the last two drafts of Nonis is beyond me.

          • JCDavies

            You seem unable to discus Nonis’ record on its own merits. Your tendency to revert back to bashing Gillis during your rebuttals shows that your position isn’t very strong.

            “You do realize Nonis worked with Burke, right? You seem to act as though he had nothing to do with “Burke’s process”.”

            This is exactly my point. There should be shared credit for the 2004 draft. You are trying to give Nonis all the credit when the scouting department worked under GM Brian Burke for the entire hockey season.

            “On the whole, the Canucks did very well from 2004 – 2007 relative to their draft positions. This was in large part to Nonis’ high risk/high reward philosophy.”

            One of the key pieces to your argument, Luc Bourdon, was not a high risk/reward draft pick.

          • JCDavies

            Are you kidding? Luc Bourdon absolutely was a high risk/high reward selection.


            That’s just the first scouting report I found by Googling.

            IIRC, Bourdon was not projected to go in the top 10. He was risky just like Grabner, White & Schneider (the 4th goalie taken in the 1st round that year).

            “There should be shared credit for the 2004 draft.”

            You have already conceded that Schneider (like all 1st rounders) is on the GM. Which is a good thing.

            Considering Nonis had to trade up to secure Edler, of course he deserves a ton of credit. As does Gradin.

            If you want to say Hansen was a fluke, sure, that’s fair enough. But Bieksa and Corrado fit in that boat as well.

            And, again, the focus on a single pick or single year is meaningless.

          • JCDavies

            “And, again, the focus on a single pick or single year is meaningless.”

            You’ve said this twice now but I’m not sure what exactly you mean by it. I thought I had covered all four drafts: 2004 – I don’t believe Nonis deserves all the credit; 2005 – was a deeper draft year than usual and most GMs should have got something out of that draft; and the 2006, 2007 drafts were horrible (with the exception of Grabner). Which picks deserve more attention? Butcher? Charles-Antoine Messier? Kablukov? Ellington? White? I’ve already admitted that Grabner and Bourdon were good picks (and I could obviously also include Raymond).

            Nonis wasn’t terrible at the draft but he wasn’t better than average either.

            On Bourdon:

            NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings:






            Bourdon appears to have been drafted right where he should have been. In a weaker draft year he would’ve gone even higher.

            The European scouts deserve the credit for Hansen (I didn’t say he was a fluke).

  • orcasfan

    It was fairly widely reported at the time that when Gillis was put into the chair in 2008, the only real input he had on the ensuing draft was for the 1st round pick, when he pushed for Hodgson. The rest of the picks that year were from Nonis’ scouting crew. I think it’s only fair that we give the same benefit of the doubt to Nonis for the 2004 draft.

    So, let’s look at their comparative records, shall we? Starting in 2004, the 1st round pick for Nonis was Schneider. Definitely a core player. The other picks in later rounds should be credited with Burke – Edler and Hansen. In 2005, Nonis picked Bourdon (10th overall), and also Raymond. Good picks, but probably not core, though hard to judge Bourdon (let’s be generous and say Bourdon would have been a core guy). In 2006, at 14th overall, they pick Grabner. Not bad, but definitely not core. In 2007, they Nonis lays a big donut! Absolutely nothing out of that draft! In 2008, as mentioned above, we credit Nonis with picks after the 1st – that means, Sauve. Not a core guy.

    During those years Nonis lost one 2nd pick, three 3rd’s, three 4th’s, and one 5th round picks.

    So, let’s turn to Gillis. We’ll apply the same “rules”, i.e. Gillis gets credit for 1st round pick in 2008, the rest should be seen as Nonis’.
    In 2008, he picks Hodgson at 10th overall. Probably should be counted as a “core” guy (though not in Vancouver!). In 2009, his picks (worth looking at) are Schroeder, Connaughton, Price, Andersson, and Canatta. Really too early to tell for all of them, but Schroeder has a chance to be a roster player. I would guess that all of the others have good chances too. What one usually calls good prospects! In 2010, with the first pick in round 4, he chooses McNally. Again, too early, but another good prospect. In 2011, He chooses Jensen, LaBate, Blomdstrand, Corrado, Grenier, and Tommernes. I think the only question mark in this lot is Grenier. The rest are good prospects, with a couple looking very promising. In 2012, the picks are still way too young, or in college, to have any real sense of their development. Though everyone is pointing out Gaunce as very promising.

    During those years, Gillis gave away one 1st, two 2nd’s, two 3rd’s, and one 4th round picks.
    About the same level of blunders as Nonis, but when you look at that 1st, it probably gives the overall blunder trophy to Gillis.

    I think the drafting under Nonis was largely a disaster. Despite what some people say, he did not fill the prospect cupboard. He basically continued in the same vein as Burke. I think his regime’s legacy will rest on two actions – the trade for Luongo and the hiring of AV as coach.

    As far as Gillis is concerned, the jury is still out!

    • Mantastic

      There are so many holes here.

      Not giving Nonis credit for Edler? Nonis was the GM who traded up so the Canucks could get Edler before he got to Detroit. Not giving him credit is ridiculous.

      As for “giving away” draft picks, the key is the 1st, 2nd and, to some degree, 3rd round picks.

      Gillis has traded high picks for poor returns.

      “I think the drafting under Nonis was largely a disaster”

      Again. Gillis has had an extra draft and his picks don’t even compare to Nonis’. That’s why the Canucks depth has eroded.

      It isn’t the scouts. It’s the difference in organizational philosophy (which is on the GM).

      If you think Nonis’ drafting was a disaster, you’re going to be upset with 90% of GM’s (including Gillis). The majority of teams picking where the Canucks did under Nonis do not turn out anywhere near that kind of quality.

      But, yeah, let’s all believe what Gillis is selling. His draft picks have provided very little value to the Canucks (including the picks he has traded).