Sunday, June 24, 2007

New to the Canucks Family

Despite a flurry of trade rumors leading up to this weekend's NHL Draft, the Canucks stood pat - with their draft picks anyway - and selected five players to add to their prospect pool.

With their first round pick (25th overall), the Canucks selected 6'1" center Pat White from Tri-City of the USHL. What NHL Central Scouting says about White:

A skilled forward with the ability to make a difference. Strong player with a physical presence. Plays tough in the corners and in traffic. Is good on the right wing and gets his wrist shot off with ease. Sometimes lacks urgency in his play.

Named Associated Press Player of the Year for Minnesota boys hockey in 2007. Named to the All-Tournament Team of the Class AA State Championships in 2007 after leading his team to the title game for the second consecutive year. Played 12 games with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL totaling nine points (8-1-9) in 2007. Will attend the University of Minnesota in the fall. Selected to play in the 2007 Under-18 World Championships.
The Canucks are short on offensive prospects at the center position so to pick a player like White was not a surprise. From what I've read about him, he sounds like a Ryan Kesler-type with perhaps a bit more of a scoring touch. I like that.

With their 2nd round pick (33rd overall), the Canucks selected defenseman Taylor Ellington from the Everett Silvertips last season He's a Victoria native and lifelong Canucks fan, and yes, he's excited about being the prospect of putting on the jersey himself.

The inspiration for Taylor Ellington of Victoria to pursue his dream came at age 4.

"I played road hockey wearing my Pavel Bure jersey," beamed the Everett Silvertips defensive defenceman, selected 33rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL entry draft Saturday.

"I'm shocked right now. You never expect a team you idolized to select you."
His NHL Central Scouting Report:

A stay-at-home defenseman that finishes his checks well. Good coverage and gap control. Able to jump into the rush and is good one-on-one. Needs to have more patience with the puck under pressure and needs to improve his conditioning.

Completed his third season with the Silvertips, helping them to their best ever regular-season. Posted 13 points (5-8-13) and a plus-five rating this season. Participated in the 2007 CHL Top Prospects Game. Was a member of Team WHL in the two-game Canada-Russia Challenge in 2006. Named as the Silvertips Most Improved Player in 2004-05.

With the Canucks need for more offensive prospects and local favorites Michael Repik and Oscar Moller still on the board, the immediate reaction to Ellington's selection mostly hasn't been favorable. He is considered a "safe" pick and may very well make the NHL some day; however since his upside is that of a depth defenseman, some feel that his selection at the 33rd overall spot was too early.

Peter Loubardias (Sportsnet) disagrees and loves the pick.
In assessing what the Canadian teams did, it’s impossible to tell at this point. I can tell you this, however, there wasn't one squad from this nation that didn't take at least two players that left me saying, “Do I ever like that pick!”

Let’s begin in Vancouver; Taylor Ellington is a defenceman with the Everett Silvertips who gets better every time I see him.
I don't know much about Ellington myself, but if he turns out to be a solid defensive defenseman - even in a bottom-six pairing - I would be happy with his selection. With only six picks in the draft and four of them in the later rounds (from rounds five to seven), the Canucks weren't in much of a position to gamble. I would've loved Michael Repik at this pick, but I'll forget about it if Ellington turns into even a bruising Bryan Allen type.

The rest of the Canucks' picks include: Charles-Antoine Messier (5th round, 145th overall), Ilja Kablukov (5th round, 146th overall), Taylor Matson (6th round, 176th overall), and Dan Gendur (7th round, 206th overall).

After the draft, Dave Nonis then swung a couple of minor-league deals. First he sent Jesse Schultz to the Atlanta Thrashers for defenseman Jim Sharrow.
In Sharrow, the Canucks are getting a 22-year-old blue-liner who shoots right-handed and has two seasons of pro experience under his belt. Sharrow is expected to play in the American Hockey League.

"He's a big guy that has a good shot," said Tambellini. "Our guys see some long-term upside in him."
Next he acquired Ryan Shannon from the Anaheim Ducks for Jason King and a conditional third round pick.

In Shannon, the Canucks are hoping a change of scenery may spark the speedster. Same goes for the Ducks. Randy Carlyle coached King in Manitoba.

"They [Ducks] were looking for a change for Ryan and we think he has a chance to be an NHL regular, but it's not a lock," said Nonis. "We think he has some upside and he definitely has a second gear -- he's one of the fastest in the league but his size may be a factor."
I like this trade for the Canucks. King was never going to play in the Canucks organization again. At least the Canucks were able to get an asset in return for him. Here's Shannon's TSN scouting report:

Assets: Skates extremely well and owns excellent shiftiness. Has defensive polish and offensive upside. Can play either center or wing.
Flaws: Is smallish even for the 'new' NHL. Must continue to work on his play without the puck in order to receive quality ice time at the highest level.
Career potential: Third line forward.
Oh... he also has one Stanley Cup ring more than this entire Canucks team combined.

(Patrick White's and Taylor Ellington's photos from canucks.com.)

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 10:52 PM


At June 28, 2007 1:12 PM, Anonymous Matt Gunn said...

I will be honest and say I was really hoping the Canucks would select Repik or Moller with that 33rd overall choice. Then again, I doubt either one of them will be more than 3rd line forwards at the NHL level (at best), and with Ellington, I think we have a "safe" pick, but when you only have one pick between 2nd and 5th, like you said, gambling isn't a smart move.

I am very happy with the selection of White. I think he will become a solid NHL player... sounds to me like Ryan Kesler, but better offensively.

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