Canucks 2009 Draft Review

Pick 22 – Jordan Schroeder, Center, University of Minnesota (NCAA)
One year after having star prospect Cody Hodgson fall into their laps at 10th overall, the Canucks were fortunate once again to have Jordan Schroeder fall through the draft to their spot at 22. Early in the season, Schroeder was being looked upon as a potential top-5 pick, but concerns about his size (5’9”) and a couple of bad games at the World Junior Championships hurt his draft stock. Even with that drop in his stock, the Canucks didn’t imagine he’d still be available at their spot. Schroder is small but extremely skilled and fast. As a freshman at the University of Minnesota, he finished top-5 in the entire NCAA in points per game, and his game is compared to Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis. Schroeder will likely go back to play his sophomore year at Minnesota in the fall, but NHL Central Scouting believes that he could jump straight into the NHL if need be.

Pick 53 – Anton Rodin, RW, Brynas Jr. (SEL)

Rodin represents the highest draft pick the Canucks have used on a Swedish player since drafting the Sedins second and third overall in 1999. A small, fast, and skilled winger, Rodin plays an aggressive game and isn’t afraid to play physically. Though he has the talent to potentially be an effective NHL player, he will need to bulk up significantly if he wants to continue to play the same style of play at the professional level. According to Gillis, they had Rodin ranked as a first rounder in the draft, so they felt fortunate he was still available late in the second round.

Pick 83 – Kevin Connauton, D, Western Michigan University (NCAA)

After identifying young offensive defensemen as a weakness in their prospect pool, the Canucks started to address that need in the third round by selecting Kevin Connauton. A mobile offensive defenseman, Connauton had a strong freshman year at Western Michigan University, where he scored 18 points in 43 games while playin 20-30 minutes a night. Connauton passed through the draft in his first year eligible, but a strong showing in his first year in college led to his becoming a third round draft pick a year later. Of note, Connauton is on the Vancouver Giants protected list and he may end up playing for them next season if the Canucks feel they could be more hands on with his development by having him nearby.

Pick 113 – Jeremy Price, D, Nepean (CJHL)

A relative unknown coming out of Ontario Junior A Hockey, Price was the leading goal scorer amongst defensemen in his league last season and a first team all-star, which suggests he may have offensive upside in the future. He is committed to Colgate College for the fall.

Pick 143 – Peter Andersson, D, Frolunda Jr. (SEL)

The Canucks second pick from Sweden was a towering 6’5” defensive defenseman from Frolunda. Head European scout Thomas Gradin compares Andersson to Alexander Edler, saying he skates well for a large man and is an effective passer out of the defensive zone. The knock on him is that he doesn’t play physically for a player his size, but with added strength and confidence his abilities, he may be able to add that element to his game.

Pick 173 – Joe Cannata, G, Merrimack College (NCAA)

The Canucks’ second overage pick, Cannata is coming off a strong freshman season with Merrimack College. Despite playing on a weak team in a very strong conference, Cannata was able to post a .918 save percentage and stole a couple games for his team. To put that into perspective, despite playing on a much stronger Boston College team, AHL Goaltender of the Year and top Canuck prospect Cory Schneider posted a .916 save percentage. Cannata also has the benefit of three more years of college eligibility to further refine his game.

Pick 187 – Steven Anthony, LW, Saint John (QMJHL)

After coming through the Nova Scotia hockey system, Steven Anthony was being touted as the successor to Sidney Crosby as Nova Scotia’s next big hockey talent. But after being drafted into the QMJHL, Anthony struggled with consistency and intensity and didn’t differentiate himself from the dozens of other draft eligible prospects. Over the second half of this past season, however, Anthony scored at a point per game pace, and that stretch was enough to convince the Canucks to acquire a seventh round pick (they traded theirs previously to acquire Jason Labarbera) in order to draft him. There is no denying Anthony’s talent, and he himself acknowledges that he struggled with his confidence playing under his previous coach. There is a chance, however small, with the right development Anthony can rediscover the talent that made scouts drool previously and become a contributor at the NHL level. It’s a worthwhile risk to take at that point in the draft.

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