Canucks Draft Thatcher Demko 36th overall


I think it’s safe to say that on this platform we’ve been fairly critical of the way the Vancouver Canucks have conducted their drafts; both in the past, and as recently as last night’s opening round. It’s always tough to tell how much responsibility the general manager takes in relation to the rest of his scouting department, but there was a sense of optimism around these parts that Jim Benning’s relatively impressive draft record back when he ran the show in Buffalo would come in handy. Really, it couldn’t get any worse than it was during the Mike Gillis regime. 

Three picks in, it appears that the optimism was misguided; a whole lot of those very same problems that have plagued them over the years are rearing their ugly head all over again. After playing it safe with picks number 6 and 24, the Canucks watched uber talented faller Ivan Barbashev get taken just three picks before they settled for a goalie. A goalie, from Boston College, playing for the Vancouver Canucks. This ought to end well!

Here are the list of goalies that have been taken in the top two rounds since 2000:

  • Rick Dipietro
  • Brent Kahn
  • Ilya Bryzgalov
  • Dan Ellis
  • Pascal Leclaire
  • Dan Blackburn
  • Jason Bacashihua
  • Adam Monroe
  • Andrei Medvedev
  • Peter Budaj
  • Kari Lehtonen
  • Cam Ward
  • Hanu Toivonen
  • Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers
  • Tobias Stephan
  • Josh Harding
  • David LeNeveau
  • Maxime Daigneault
  • Marc-Andre Fleury
  • Corey Crawford
  • Jimmy Howard
  • Al Montoya
  • Devan Dubynk
  • Cory Schneider
  • David Shantz
  • Justin Peters
  • Carey Price
  • Tuukka Rask
  • Tyler Plante
  • Jeff Frazee
  • Ondrej Pavelec
  • Pier-Olivier Pelletier
  • Jonathan Bernier
  • Riku Helenius
  • Semyon Varlamov
  • Leland Irving
  • Michal Neuvirth
  • Jhonas Enroth
  • Chet Pickard
  • Tom McCollum
  • Jacob Markstrom
  • Jake Allen
  • Peter Delmas
  • Tyler Beskorowany
  • Mikko Koskinen
  • Robin Lehner
  • Jack Campbell
  • Mark Visentin
  • Kent Simpson
  • John Gibson
  • Christopher Gibson
  • Andrei Vasilevsky
  • Malcolm Subban
  • Oscar Dansk
  • Anthony Stolarz
  • Zach Fucale
  • Tristan Jarry
  • Eric Comrie
  • Philippe Desrosiers
The main takeaway: who the hell really knows. For every John Gibson there’s a Christopher Gibson, and for every Jimmy Howard there’s a Jeff Frazee. Goalies are a total crapshoot, and it’s why we’ve seen the paradigm drastically shift in favour of not burning higher picks on goalies, but instead using them to select skaters with a higher probability of having useful NHL careers.

Thatcher Demko had fine enough numbers in his first year at Boston College, and he may very well turn out to be the number on goalie for the Vancouver Canucks one day. But the odds of that are pretty minuscule based on what we know about the position, and even then, it won’t be for a number of years.

  • While Benning might have gone off the board by CA expectations, I’m perfectly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt given his drafting record in BUF and BOS.

    And in regards to Demko, he was a Boston College player, so the book on him should have been pretty complete by the Bruins, and Benning probably saw him in person a few times too.

    Anyways, given that Benning/Linden haven’t had time to overhaul the scouting staff (that should happen this summer), we can safely assume that drafts next year and on might be a bit different in style.

  • negative, negative, negative:::: I’m tired of reading your “Canucks Army” analyses on the new canucks; where the heck is Drance, at least he wasn’t mired in acrimony.
    I will give your writers kudos for the promptness of information, other than that lighten up……….please

    • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

      While I can say I agree with and even mirror your sentiments to a certain degree, not even the most negative of articles from the CA staff can even get close to touching Tony “Gollum” Gallagher when he’s in his best of moods.

      Now THERE’S a guy who needs to lighten up. I haven’t been able to read his stuff in a long time. Then yesterday, I broke down and read a couple of articles he posted yesterday after the Kesler trade. Big mistake.

      It was my mistake, really though; I should’ve known better by the titles alone: “Minor-league Canucks get fleeced by major-league Ducks in Kesler deal,” and “So far, if I’m a Canucks season ticket holder, the urge to go out and (renew) my package isn’t overwhelming.” What bitter garbage. At least McIntyre is more measured in his approach.

      • _ianmatheson

        Boy you got that right,while being critical and objective is fine.Sometimes he goes way,way, over the top.This is the same guy that was calling for coach “V”s head,while supporting Gillis,(and we all know how that worked out).LOL

    • _ianmatheson

      I miss Drance too!

      He was the best.

      I keep my fingers crossed everytime I come here that I get a new Drance article, most the time I leave disappointed and can’t even finish reading whats being written…

      come back Thomas!!!!

  • It is one thing to be negative – but negative and not getting the facts correct is inexcusable.
    2nd round draft choice are basically a crap shoot.
    ~20% make it. (And that includes many 4th liners)
    since logic tells us that you require 12 forwards for 2 goalies. On your list there are 15 starting goalies. (out of a list of 60) .
    Surprise as good or better than the record for 2nd round Forwards or defencemen.

    The moral is we ALL have cognitive bias.
    (I direct your attention to business insider
    that listed 57 of them)
    We need to work very hard to learn to put them aside).

    Our best weapon is logic and critical thinking.

    In this case you have clearly failed to do this.

  • _ianmatheson

    I couldn’t agree more. There are certain trends appearing with Benning already that are very concerning. Today’s missing of Barbashev was exactly like his missing of the entire big 5 yesterday. Each one was drafted one by one while Benning just sat there. Everyone knows if you want to draft someone you just go up to the podium, announce the player name and boom you own that player. Only a rookie GM wait for their turn while better players drafted before their turn.

    Don’t even gat me started with the goalie drafting. Benning finds Ryan Miller out of obscurity, Canucks get Schneider out of Boston College. Add them together and you have disaster waiting to happen.

    Fire Benning now. Literally let’s burn his house down an chase him from town before he destroys this team forever

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Jim Benning drew praise on this site for besting a potatoe and many other head scouts in the league based on the number of players he’s drafted that have played significant NHL games. Now you hammer him for playing it safe. He didn’t end up looking great in your analysis due to a tendency to swing for the fences.

    It’s hard not to flinch at Virtanen though. We have too many Shawn Antoskis in the collective memory.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Jeez, what’s the negativity around the draft picks? I think all three draft picks (6,24,36) have been good ones. Virtanen is 10 months younger than guys like Reinhart – so Virtanen potted 45 when he was 17 years old.

    The kid they picked at 24 was ranked way higher on a lot of lists, and the passé nature of picking goalies too high allowed the Canucks to get the best goalie in the draft with a second round pick.

    I’m a happy fan right now.

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      As you have every right to be! All of this is extremely subjective and random and who the hell knows. I just gave my opinion on how I personally believe that the value of taking a goaltender with a still-valuable early 2nd rounder isn’t exactly there. Just like with the two picks that preceded this one, looking at some of the other names still on the board at those particular points of the draft there were better options. That doesn’t mean that I think Demko, Virtanen, and McCann suck and have no future and everyone needs to freak out. It’s all relative. If you don’t agree with that line of thinking that’s totally fine. We won’t know for a number of years either way.

      • Dimitri Filipovic

        Yep. We won’t know for a long time. That is why I wonder why bloggers here choose to dump sh!t all over the picks instead of including some optimism. Not all the time but often. NegativeNation I guess.

  • _ianmatheson

    Since teams are using less (premium) draft pick capital on goalies, perhaps there’s another way to look at this.

    Demko was the 2nd goalie selected in this draft.

    These are the top 2 goalies selected in each draft from 2005-2009:

    Price, Rask, Bernier, Helenius, Gistedt, Lafleur, Pickard, McCollum, Koskinen, Lehner,

    And these are the top 2 goalies selected in each draft from 2010-2014:

    Campbell, Visenten, Hellberg, Gibson, Vasilevski, Subban, Fucale, Jarry, McDonald, Demko

    Obviously goalies take a while to develop so it would be fruitless to look hard at the 2nd list.

    Though Gibson already looks promising…

    But arguably 3 of the top goalies in the NHL (Price, Rask & Bernier) and another goalie with good potential (Lehner) came from those 10 goalies selected in the top 2 between 2005 – 2009.

    Just something to keep in mind.

    Benning used pick #36 not pick #6 on a goalie…

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    It’s not that I think drafting a goalie high is terrible or anything, it’s just that we don’t really seem to have much of a need. We have three guys that have the tools to be NHL starters one day, why take another? I don’t get it.

  • _ianmatheson

    Is any second rounder a sure thing though? Outside of the top of the first round the crap shoot begins. Listing off very goaltender that has or hasn’t been successful is no more deterring than listing every left winger or right winger that hasn’t played within the first two rounds. Either a player develops and gets lucky timing-wise with regard to available NHL roster spots, or they get buried on a depth chart or never develop. Thatcher Demko’s numbers are solid, he’s in a good program, and will have opportunities to develop on a big stage like this year’s WJC for USA. I don’t understand the disdain for this pick. We need depth at this position, why wait if you’re guy is there at 36…

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    The other interesting thing about the Demko pick was what Benning said about it during a TSN interview (maybe CP) – bad paraphrase coming, sorry – he basically said though that tending is a crucial position and you can’t win with out it.

    Sounds likely he’ll sign someone to share the load with Lack. Just hope he doesn’t blow his brains out on miller.

  • acg5151

    I disagree with this assessment. While it is true that goalies probably shouldn’t be taken in the first round, I can understand a goalie being taken in the second round because second rounders are worth less in trade, and yield NHL players at a lower rate than first round picks.

    Thatcher Demko has amazing numbers and is the best goalie prospect of this cycle. I don’t see anything wrong with spending a second rounder on him.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    I actually like the sounds of Thatcher Demko… I was rather critical of the Virtanen pick but this one I like. This is a guy with high upside, a real boom or bust draft pick, which is honestly what I think we should have done with our 6th overall pick. Sadly, I think its one of only three picks I like this year but that might actually be an improvement over the old regime.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey


    I’m new to this forum.

    My first thoughts; WOW… AS a die hard Canuck, this is heaven! A lot of articles almost every day. And a lot of funny and tricky analysis 😀

    But for every day I’ve been here I see that the writers tend to see themselves as hockey-gods!? They know everything, there’re always right, and everybody else is wrong…

    I gotta say that as much fun it is to read a neutral article here, as much pain is it so see writers think of themselves than better than others and article after article bash a hockey organisation for draft picks! Eh….!? DRAFT picks! How can anyone think they KNOW how good a pick can be!? And how can they be so certain that Benning and the Canucks have made so many mistakes!?