WWYDW Summer Debates: The greatest UFA signing in Vancouver Canucks history

Photo credit:© Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 year ago
Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet with a ten-team no-trade clause.
Speaking of no-trade clauses, expect a lot of them to be handed out in a month’s time, because we are approximately four weeks out from the opening of the FREE AGENT FRENZY OF 2023.
In recent years, much of the Vancouver Canucks experience with the frenzy has been of the negative variety, with contracts such as those handed out to Tyler Myers, Braden Holtby, Micheal Ferland, and Tucker Poolman conspiring to keep the team in a salary cap-related hell for several years running.
But unrestricted free agency doesn’t always have to be about regrets.
There are, from time to time, good signings out of the frenzy, too.
Ilya Mikheyev, for example, seems to have worked out fairly nicely. The same goes for major signings like Dan Hamhuis and Manny Malhotra in the past.
Some UFAs work out, and today, we’re looking for the one who has worked out the most.
This is WWYDW Summer Debates, and today we’re debating:

Who is the best (non-ELC) UFA signing in Vancouver Canucks history?

Make your case in the comment section.
Last week, we debated:

Who was the worst first round pick in Vancouver Canucks history?

Your responses are below!
The worst first round draft pick in Canucks history was…PATRICK WHITE. What were they thinking of? He was a high school player. He probably was not on any other team´s first round wishlist. Probably not even on some teams´ lists at all. Way to go Canucks. You have to be best at something.
52 years on…..and on…:
Worst first round pick?? When looking back, not only are there so many bad picks to choose from, there are so many horrendous draft years, period. For that reason, I will go with Patrick White 25 OA in 2007. He topped the only draft class (so far) the Canucks whiffed on completely, with zero NHL games played.
Too many to pick one. We’re talking Canucks here. More strike outs than wins. Imagine Tkachuk and Nylander.
Killer Marmot:
Dan Woodley, who was drafted 7th overall in the 1986 draft. Dan played five NHL games with two goals and no assists.
But since he took only three registered shots, he finished his NHL career with a shooting percentage of 66.7%, which must be some kind of record. Even legendary sniper Mike Bossy managed a mere 21.2%.
bruce donice:
Libor Polasek, absolutely the worst. But with their next pick, the scouting staff redeemed themselves with Mike Peca, who was a home run.
Frankie says Juolevi.
BeerCan Boyd:
As for the worst ever first round pick, we could easily be talking about Lekkerimäki being that guy within the next five years. Small, slow, often injured, and wants to stay in Sweden instead of coming to Abbotsford.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
So many options for the worst first round pick. But, when you consider the pick order, depth of draft year, and production of the player drafted, then the clear choice is Olli Juolevi. While Partick White and Libor Polasek were terrible picks, they were taken 25th and 21st overall in drafts where many teams missed with late first round picks.
Juolevi was a 5th overall pick in the 2016 draft. 2016 turned out to be a first round with NHL players of varying impact from superstar to regular contributors selected after Juolevi. The Canucks’ ultimate return for their 5th overall pick in a relatively deep first round was barely 20 unmemorable games, a memorable training camp bag skate, and two spare parts in Lammikko and Juulsen. To me, that is the definition of the worst first round draft pick.
Lotsa bad ones… Nedved was bad cause they coulda had Jagr… but here’s a shoutout to Josh Holden, #12 in ‘96…. 60 career games, -10.
Jesse James Town:
Worst 1st… Alek Stojanov.
Best trade of a 1st rounder… Alek Stojanov.
I think if worst first rounder is a combination between highest draft position, least number of games played, and talent left on the board, it would be Juolevi in the modern era, Stojanov in the ‘90s, and Herter and Woodley in the ‘80s. We’ve really had some incredibly poor drafts…
Dennis Orr:
Too many bad ones…but Patrick White was by far the worst.
Far North:
Jason Herter. Drafted in the first round, eighth overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, Herter played one National Hockey League (NHL) game, scoring an assist in a game with the New York Islanders during the 1995–96 season. Cut and pasted from wikipedia.
Patrick White was the worst first round draft pick of all time for the Canucks. They took him way off the radar for top picks. It was a bizarre pick and it didn’t pan out at all. That they managed to get good value back in a trade for him was a miracle in itself.
Brock Boeser. Man that guy is so slow and soft. Total floater.
defenceman factory:
There is two ways to answer this question. What was the worst example of the Canucks defying conventional wisdom and drafting a player at a draft position no one else would have. Everyone knew it was a bad pick the day it was made. These picks have everyone scratching their heads and can get people fired. Canucks have a few of those.
The other way to answer is which draft pick has been most disappointing given the spot chosen and other players available. Juolevi fits in this category. He was considered the best D-man in his draft class by most. Many people thought there were better picks than Juolevi, but no one anticipated he would barely be an NHL player at all.
Craig Gowan:
I knew it was bad but my review of all the Canucks 1st round choices was shocking to me. I counted seventeen (17) 1st round busts. I’ll just mention the Top-10 busts: Jake Virtanen (6), Oli Juolevi (5), Cody Hodgson (10), Bryan Allen (4), Brad Ference (10), Dan Woodley (7), Jason Herter (8), and Alex Stojanov (7). Who was the worst? Perhaps because he was the highest choice at #4, it should be Bryan Allen. Perhaps because they hardly played in the NHL, it should be one of Woodley (5 NHL games) or Herter (2 NHL games). At 2 games for a 8th overall draft choice, I nominate Jason Herter as the worst Canucks 1st round draft choice ever.

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