For the third time in 29 years, the NHL will hold its amateur draft in Vancouver.
The event coincides with the Canucks’ 50th season, as well as the fact that the city will also host the 2018-19 World Junior Championships.
The timing is a little ironic given the fact that Vancouver’s management team seems to be reluctant to accept a full rebuild while many fans are clamouring for just that.
The way the last few seasons have gone though, Vancouver fans may get their wish and see the team pick in the top few spots of the draft.
If they do, there could be a homegrown prize waiting for them. Vancouver Giants defenceman and Cranbrook native Bowen Byram is slated to be one of the top prospects in 2019 and the Canucks are in need of defensive depth.
The team is already doing pretty well when it comes to prospects with first and last names that start with B.
The first time the Canucks held the draft, the team was near the bottom of the league’s standings, and was awarded the second overall pick in the 1990 draft. It was an absolutely loaded top five and when the Canucks took forward Petr Nedved (who would turn out to be pretty good in his own right), they missed out on Jaromir Jagr, who the Pittsburgh Penguins grabbed three picks later.
In that draft the Canucks also unearthed defenceman Jiri Slegr, who would go on to play more than 600 NHL games, and one of the most popular players in franchise history, enforcer Gino Odjick.
The 2007 draft wasn’t quite as successful for the club, as not one player the team picked went on to play an NHL game. Patrick White was the Canucks’ first pick at number 25 overall. He was later packaged in a trade for Christian Ehrhoff, who helped the Canucks reach the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
All this is to say that if there’s one season Canucks fans would be OK with the team being at the bottom of the standings for, it’s 2018-19. Watch them just miss out on a playoff birth instead.
It's not yet known if the draft will be held at BC Place (like the 1990 draft was) or Rogers Arena (as it was in 2007, when it was called G.M. Place).
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