Joey Kenward: Busy draft day on day two
The Canucks select eight players in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
After taking Danish-born forward Nicklas Jensen with their first pick on Friday, the Vancouver Canucks selected seven more players on Day 2 of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft Saturday in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Canucks started off the day trading away their 2nd Round pick (60th overall) to the Minnesota Wild, in exchange for the 71st and 101st picks of this year's draft.
With their first pick in the 3rd round (71st), Vancouver selected goalie David Honzik of the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL. Born in the Czech Republic, Honzik is listed as 6'3", 209lbs. In 36 games last season, Honzik went 17-12-1 with a 3.54GAA and .884 Sv%. Hoznik participated in the 2010 CHL NHL Top Prospects Game. He was ranked 13th overall on the NHL Central Scouting Service's Final list of North American-based goalies.
“I think it’s always important to get a goaltender at the draft,” comments Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis. “David found his grove in the second half of the season in the Quebec League and we think he’s got a great shot to play at the World Juniors next year.
With their second pick in the 3rd round (90th), the Canucks took forward Alexandre Grenier from the Halifax Mooseheads. A 6'5", 200lbs winger, Grenier is 19 and played last season with Patrick Roy's Quebec Remparts. In 31 games he had nine goals and 15 assists. In 15 playoff games, Grenier had eight goals and eight assists.
“He seems to be a little bit of a late bloomer,” says Gillis. “He’s a big centre and we want to try and stay strong down the middle. Big guys that can skate are right up our alley.”
Vancouver's first pick in the 4th round (101st) was centre Joe Labate (pronounced Lah-Bait) of Holy Angels High School in Minnesota. Labate, who received quite a loud ovation from the crowd at the Xcel Energy Center, was ranked 51st overall on NHL Central Scouting's Final list of North American skaters. Having suffered a broken foot this season, Labate played in just 25 games, scoring 27 goals and 22 assists. He will be attending the University of Wisconsin this year and is property of the Tri City Americans of the WHL.
“I’m so thankful to be picked by such a great organization,” says the native of Burnsville, Minnesota. “You just hope to be picked by a good organization. I really like Ryan Kesler and I’m really thankful to be picked by them.”
“He’s got big upside,” adds Gillis of Labate, who was a finalist for Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Award. “He’s going to a great program in Wisconsin that develops players well. He’s a big guy who skates well and he has an opportunity.”
With their second pick in the 4th round (120th), Vancouver selected Ludwig Blomstrand of Djugarden Jr in Sweden. A 6'1", 180lbs. left winger, Blomstrand played in 35 games, scoring just three goals and four assists. He was ranked 74th on NHL Central Scouting's final list of European skaters.
“He’s very much like Jannik Hansen,” says Canucks Assistant General Manager Laurence Gillman. “He’s a tremendous skater who plays with some level of tenacity. We think he can be a solid two-way guy in the NHL “
The Canucks lone pick in the 5th round (150th) was Frank Corrado of the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. Corrado is listed at 6'1", 190lbs. and was ranked 155th in the final ranking of North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. In 67 games, Corrado had four goals, 16 assists, while finishing second on his club with 94 PIM.
“What we like about Frank is not just his toughness,” adds Gilman. “He can skate and he can move the puck up the ice very well. He’s a rather intriguing package.
Vancouver's only selection in the 6th round (180th) was Pathrik Westerholm from Malmo of the Swedish Jr. League. A 6'0", 185lbs centre, Westerholm scored eight goals and 13 assists in 34 games this year. He was rated 37th on the final rankings of European skaters by NHL Central Scouting. For what it's worth, he has a twin brother who he plays with. Ponthus Westerholm was undrafted this year, but in 33 games he had 16 goals and 39 assists. Don't be surprised to see the Canucks bring him to training camp in the fall.
“Pathrik is a smart play-making centre with the ability to score,” adds Gilman. “We felt that if we got Pathrik drafted that we’d have a lock on his brother.
With their final pick in the 7th round (210th), the Canucks took Henrik Tommernes from Frolunda Jr. in Sweden. A 6'1", 186lbs defenceman, Tommernes played his final year of junior last year, collecting ten goals and 22 assists in 40 games.
“Henrik is a player who could probably play in the American Hockey League today,” comments Gilman. “He’s a late bloomer who we think has pro potential to be a National Hockey League guy.”