Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top 10 Ex-Vancouver Canucks

With the off-season in full swing, the draft and first week of free agency are in the rear view mirror.  That means until training camp begins, it's kind of quiet around here.  PuckWatch has decided to list the Top 10 Ex-Canucks that are still active in the NHL.  Who would you like to have back?

10.  D Shane O'Brien - Nashville Predators
O'Brien is a fan favourite and well-loved amongst his teammates wherever he plays.  Since leaving Vancouver, "SOB" has found a home in Nashville, and a consistent role on their defence.  O'Brien's best moment as a Canuck was probably his goal against Chicago in the 2008-09 playoffs in Game 6, or his emotional display in the Los Angeles series the following year that seemed to wake up the Canucks.

9. LW Raffi Torres - Phoenix Coyotes
Torres was only a Vancouver Canuck for one year, but it was a memorable year.  29 points in the regular season, but a huge hit on Chicago's Brent Seabrook and the game winning goal with seconds left in Game One of the Stanley Cup Final were his most memorable moments as a Canuck.  Torres is a useful checking line winger.

8. C Brendan Morrison - Calgary Flames
A long time Canuck that centered the West Coast Express, Morrison found his niche with the Calgary Flames last year, recording 43 points before a season ending injury.  Morrison's top moment as a Canuck?  That would have to be his Game 6 Triple Overtime winner against Calgary in the 2004 NHL Playoffs.

7. LW Todd Bertuzzi - Detroit Red Wings
Bert has bounced around after leaving Vancouver, but like most veterans, finds a role with the Detroit Red Wings and makes the most of it.  Bert is a shadow of his former self but is still a handful.  Bert's most memorable moments as a Canuck is likely the Steve Moore incident, but if you're looking for something more positive,  how about this gem of a hit on Chris Chelios during the 2002 playoffs? (Honourable mention to his Barrett Jackman hit a year later).

6. D Willie Mitchell - Los Angeles Kings
Willie Mitchell had his Canuck tenure stopped when it was uncertain if he'd return from injury.  The Canucks left him to sign with Los Angeles.  Mitchell is a dependable blueliner who you will not often see in a highlight reel.  That being what it is, here's a Mitchell-like highlight that he'll be proud of.

5. D Bryan McCabe - New York Rangers
McCabe only spent a year and a half with the Canucks, but has been a long-time NHL defender.  Perhaps best known as a Maple Leaf, McCabe did play a very important role in the Canucks franchise.  He was the centerpiece of a trade involving the Chicago Blackhawks that landed the Canucks an additional draft pick to select Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

4. D - Ed Jovanovski - Florida Panthers
"Jovo-Cop" signed a lengthy and rich deal with the Florida Panthers this off-season (who didn't?).  Still, Jovo can play.  Not quite the risk-taker he was previously in his career, he's become a bit more dependable in his time in Phoenix, though injuries have slowed him down a bit.  Jovanovski's stint in Vancouver had a few highlights, most notably his KO of Adam Deadmarsh, and his assist for Team Canada on Joe Sakic's Gold Medal winning goal in 2002 at Salt Lake City.

3. C - RJ Umberger - Columbus Blue Jackets
RJ Umberger never really suited up for the Vancouver Canucks.  Unable to agree to terms due to Brian Burke's head-scratching policy on first round draft picks, rumour has it he was unable to sign despite only seeking $700k a year, a modest price for a first round draft pick at the time.  That led to Brian Burke's quote that he'd drive RJ back to campus if he couldn't sign him because he is an advocate of education. He was great in the playoffs for the Flyers, but is best remembered for being hammered by Brian Campbell.

2. D - Christian Ehrhoff - Buffalo Sabres
Christian Ehrhoff arguably could be #1 on this list, but with his huge contract and age difference compared to #1, we opted to make him #2.  Ehrhoff is a very swift defender who is no slouch defensively.  His swift skating and solid offensive instincts make him a threat on the powerplay and to jump in the rush at even strength. Erhoff's best moment may have been when he kissed his hockey stick after a goal in the playoffs versus Chicago this spring.

1. LW - Michael Grabner - New York Islanders
As the main piece of the deal that brought Keith Ballard to Vancouver, Grabner was waived by the Panthers but blossomed in New York.  Despite limited time on the power play, the Austrian sniper registered 34 goals in his rookie campaign.  A hat-trick against Anaheim the year before during his brief stint with the Canucks provided a glimpse of things to come.  The Canucks probably regret letting this guy go at the price they did, but really, the Florida Panthers waived him for nothing.

Honourable Mention(s)
Taylor Pyatt, Matt Cooke, Mattias Ohlund, Kyle Wellwood

Interesting to note that there aren't many solid forwards that have left the Canucks of late, but plenty of good defencemen.  Also, thanks to a lengthy tenure for Roberto Luongo, there's a long string of back ups, but no real starting goaltenders from this city on other teams.  Any glaring omissions from this list?


  1. Interesting topic! No apparent omissions - maybe Steve Bernier, but he hasn't done much in Florida. I feel pretty good after looking at this list although Grabner's 34 goals leaves a bad taste in the mouth. PM

  2. thanks! Grabner is the only one that irks me too. Nice to see we don't have a long list of superstars playing around the league.

    Imagine the Islanders, Predators, etc