Who’s the best 10th overall pick ever by the Vancouver Canucks?

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      The Vancouver Canucks had in the neighbourhood of a 16 percent chance of moving up in last week’s draft lottery. It didn’t happen. Instead, the Canucks, who entered the lottery with the best odds of getting the ninth overall pick, actually moved down a spot to 10th. To make matters worse, Vancouver had to watch as the Chicago Blackhawks, originally slotted in 12th, jumped all the way to third.

      Who the Canucks eventually select in that position will be debated for most of the summer until the draft, which will be held in Vancouver on June 21 and 22.

      But how have the Canucks done in the past with the 10th overall pick? The team has drafted in that spot six times, to disparate results. Here’s how the Canucks’ choices at 10th rank against one another.

      6. Brad Ference, 1997

      Games with the Canucks: 0
      Overall NHL games: 250

      Ference (no relation to fellow defenceman of the same era Andrew) was traded a year-and-a-half after being drafted in the infamous Pavel Bure deal. He spent four unremarkable seasons with Florida and had stints in Calgary and Phoenix before calling it a career.

      But they could have had:

      It was a pretty solid draft year. Ference’s 250 games was the second-least amount played by a top 13 pick. And just two picks after Ference, Marian Hossa was selected by the Ottawa Senators. Arguably the second-best player in the draft behind first overall Joe Thornton, it’s hard not to imagine a world with Hossa riding shotgun with Markus Naslund and the Sedins.

      5. Rick Blight, 1975

      Games with the Canucks: 324
      Overall NHL games: 326

      It’s hard not to wonder what happened to Blight. After three straight seasons of being one of the team’s top scorers, he stumbled in the 1978-79 campaign, scoring 15 points in 56 games and getting demoted to the minors.

      He would spend one more full-time season with the Canucks (which was cut short by injury), but that was mostly it. He toiled in the minors for a few years before leaving hockey for good after the 1982-83 season at the age of 28. Blight passed away at the age of 49 in the same place he was born, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. 

      But they could have had:

      Defenceman Pat Price was taken by the New York Islanders with the very next pick. The stay-at-home rearguard would go on to play 726 games in the NHL.

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      4. Cody Hodgson, 2008

      Games with the Canucks: 71
      Overall NHL games: 328

      One of the more infamous characters in Canucks lore, Hodgson’s tenure with the team was tense. A back problem was initially misdiagnosed, and disagreements with coaching and management. He had 33 points in 63 games during his rookie season until he was surprisingly traded to the Buffalo Sabres for Zack Kassian. Neither player really worked out for the teams involved, and Hodgson was forced to retire after it was revealed he had a rare muscle disease in 2016.

      But they could have had:

      At the time, the hot debate was between Hodgson and Kyle Beach, who was taken with the next pick by the Chicago Blackhawks. Beach never played a game in the NHL, but the 12th overall selection, Tyler Myers, is still going strong with the Winnipeg Jets. The Canucks have actually been rumoured to be in the market for Myers when he hits free agency this summer. A deep dive into his statistics, however, shows that might be a mistake. Erik Karlsson was also nearby, taken with the 15th pick.

      3. J.J. Daigneault, 1984

      Games with the Canucks: 134
      Overall NHL games: 899

      A defensive blueliner himself, Daigneault actually showed a little offensive prowess in his first two seasons with Vancouver, putting 27 and 28 points respectively. But he was soon jettisoned in an ultimately inconsequential trade to Philadelphia. He’d go on to sit tied for second in most teams played for in an NHL career, but is best remembered for spending parts of seven seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, where he won a Stanley Cup in 1993.

      But they could have had:

      The next two picks were Sylvain Cote and Gary Roberts. Both went on to fruitful NHL careers. Cote, a defenceman, played well over 1,000 games and had around 50 points in his best years. Roberts was a fierce, productive winger who contributed to the Calgary Flames’ Cup win in 1989.

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      2. Luc Bourdon, 2005

      Games with the Canucks: 36
      Overall NHL games: 36

      Everyone knows the Luc Bourdon story. The New Brunswick native was looking like a promising NHL player until he was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 21. It’s hard to fault the pick; Bourdon was looking like he was going to be a solid contributor to the Canucks for years to come.

      But they could have had:

      There’s no faulting the Canucks’ selection, as Bourdon looked like a solid choice. Of course, the next two picks brought in Anze Kopitar and Marc Staal, both of whom have had successful NHL careers.

      1. Garth Butcher, 1981

      Games with the Canucks: 610
      Overall NHL games: 897

      Butcher was a willing and capable soldier for the Canucks for parts of 10 seasons. He racked up penalty minutes (he’s second in franchise history in the metric, behind only Gino Odjick) and ice time for some pretty terrible teams. He only played 14 playoff contests for the Canucks. Drafted as a high-scoring defenceman out of the WHL, that part never materialized for Butcher at the NHL level, but he’s still remembered as a solid rearguard.

      He also was a cog in one of the more important trades in Canucks history. That deal saw him and Dan Quinn moved to the St. Louis Blues for Geoff Courtnall, Robert Dirk, Sergio Momesso and Cliff Ronning, setting the stage for the Canucks’ run to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.

      Butcher’s son Matt was selected by the Canucks in the fifth round of the 2005 draft.

      But they could have had:

      Five picks later, legendary defenceman Al MacInnis was taken by the Calgary Flames.

      It’s a mixed bag, certainly, but all the players the Canucks have selected at 10th overall have had at least some success at the NHL level. Let’s see how they fare this year in that regard.

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