Vancouver Canucks: Top 10 Players in Franchise History

Joseph Trenton@@TrentonNHLCFLAnalyst IIIMay 2, 2012

Vancouver Canucks: Top 10 Players in Franchise History

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    The Vancouver Canucks have seen many All-Star players, Hart Trophy winners, Art Ross Trophy winners, two consecutive President's Trophy wins and many unforgettable playoff victories in their 41-year franchise history.

    Let's take a look at the Top 10 Canucks of All-Time, who have dedicated themselves on and off the ice for the city of Vancouver. This is a good opportunity to revive some of the past glory the organization and the fans have experience in the past. Without further ado, let's begin.


    Other recent articles by Joseph Trenton are:

    Vancouver Canucks' Offseason Blueprint for Change, Part 5

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10. Defenseman Mattias Ohlund, 1997-2009

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    Ohlund was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks 13th overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He originated from Pitea, Sweden, and made Vancouver his year-long home, with his children Hannah and Viktor being born and raised in Vancouver during his time as a Canuck.

    The Swedish defenseman plays with a quiet demeanor and often appears soft-spoken in media interviews. However, there is no shortage of exciting game-winning goals and thunderous body checks that mark the highlight of Ohlund's career in Vancouver.

    During Ohlund's career, he scored 19 game-winning goals as a defenseman, which is second all-time behind former teammate Sami Salo (20). He posted 93 goals and 232 assists for 325 career points. As a defenseman, that makes Ohlund the No. 1 all-time goal scorer, fourth overall in assists, and first overall in points.

    In the playoffs, Ohlund has a memorable game-winning goal in 2004 against the Calgary Flames. He registered 28 points in 52 career playoff games with the Canucks.

    Mattias Ohlund is the winner of No. 10 on the All-Time Canucks Players List.

9. Goaltender Kirk McLean, 1987-1998

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    McLean was honoured in the Canucks' 40-year celebration during the 2010-11 season. He has established himself as the star of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals with the Canucks.

    Kirk McLean played 12 years with the organization and played in 516 regular season games for the Canucks. In those 12 years, McLean faced 14,424 shot attempts, and registered 12,787 saves. He ended his time with Vancouver with 211 career wins and 20 shutouts.

    Playoff hockey is what defined Kirk McLean. Every Canucks fan has heard of the 1994 Stanley Cup run. What they will know, regardless whether they have seen the live games or not, is that Kirk McLean was the goalie that brought them to a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in 1994.

    The video shown above was one of his best saves, in overtime against the Calgary Flames, which sent them on the path towards the cup finals.

    Kirk McLean is a winner at No. 9 on the All-Time Canucks Players List.

8. Right-Wing Pavel Burel, 1991-1998

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    Pavel Bure is likely the most electrifying player in the Vancouver Canucks' franchise history. The players around him may call him the most skilled hockey player they have ever played with, and the fans celebrate him for bringing the Canucks to Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals.

    In Bure's time in Vancouver, he often brought fans to their feet with his breakaway speed and goal scorer's hands that beat hundreds of goalies who tried to stand in his way. Bure scored 254 goals and 224 assists for 478 points in 428 games as a Canuck.

    In the playoffs, Bure played 60 games and finished with 34 goals, 32 assists for 66 points. Bure was absolutely outstanding.

    His career moment is probably the Game 7 triple-overtime goal in the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Calgary Flames.

    Pavel Bure is the winner of No. 8 on the All-Time Canucks Players List.

7. Center Orland Kurtenbach, 1970=1974

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    Orland Kurtenbach is the Vancouver Canucks first-ever captain in franchise history. Kurtenbach was a leader on the ice with his defensive abilities, having played defense before switching roles to become a center later on in his career. Also, Kurtenbach was a good fighter who could protect his team and keep his opponents playing an honest brand of hockey.

    As the first captain of the organization, Orland Kurtenbach has been a Canucks alumni for more than 40 years. He is still very active in the Vancouver community today with his wife Laurel. Kurtenbach and the Canucks alumni award four scholarships at $3000 each to the junior players in the British Columbia Hockey League to attend the University of British Columbia.

    On October 26, 2011, the Canucks celebrated Orland's contributions to the franchise by putting him on the Canucks Ring of Honour that decorated the Canucks' home of Rogers Arena.

    Orland Kurtenbach is the winner of No. 7 on the All-Time Canucks Players List.

6. Left-Wing Daniel Sedin,1999-Present

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    Daniel Sedin is one of the most special players in Canucks franchise history. Not only does he play along a line with twin brother Henrik Sedin, he is a terrific goal scorer (279) who is third all-time in Canucks history behind only former captains Markus Naslund and Trevor Linden.

    Having played his entire NHL career in Vancouver, Daniel Sedin did honourable charity work in March 2010 by donating $1.5 million to the BC Children's Hospital with his brother Henrik, the same season they signed a contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks.

    Daniel has played in 92 career playoff games and scored 64 postseason points.

    Daniel Sedin is the winner of No. 6 on the All-Time Canucks Players List.

5. Center Thomas Gradin, 1978-1986

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    Thomas Gradin was one of the first European players to join the Vancouver Canucks and excel in the NHL. Gradin entered the Canucks as a rookie in 1978 and left as the leading scorer in franchise history with 550 points in 1986.

    On January 24, 2011, the Canucks honoured Thomas Gradin on the Canucks Ring of Honour to forever remember his contributions as a player.

    Apart from his time as a player, Thomas Gradin remains employed by the Vancouver Canucks until this day, where he is the Associate Head Scout in Sweden, scouting young junior players who could one day be drafted by the Canucks. He discovered several notable names drafted by the Canucks, including the likes of Alexander Edler, Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin.

    Gradin has made an enormous impact on the Canucks organization throughout his life.

    Thomas Gradin is the winner of No. 5 on the All-Time Canucks Players List.

4. Center Henrik Sedin, 1999-Present

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    Henrik Sedin was drafted second overall, with his twin brother Daniel third overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. General Manager Brian Burke did a lot of work to get two picks in the top three picks that year to finally secure the two dynamic Swedish forwards. To a large degree, the draft that year was highlighted to that moment where the Canucks drafted their eventual captain, Henrik Sedin.

    Henrik accepted captaincy before the beginning of the 2010-11 season when management decided to relief goaltender Roberto Luongo of the captaincy duties. It was unusual for a goalie to be named captain, but it was fitting at the time to make Henrik Sedin, the winner of the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy in 2010, their 13th captain in franchise history.

    With 892 games as a Vancouver Canuck, Henrik has scored 171 goals, 576 assists for 747 career points in the regular season. In 95 career playoff contests, Henrik has scored 22 goals and 49 assists for 71 points.

    Currently, Henrik sits second behind hometown neighbour Markus Naslund in franchise scoring, needing only nine points to tie Naslund for first place.

    Henrik Sedin is the winner of No. 4 on the All-Time Canucks Players List.

3. Right-Wing Stan Smyl, 1978-1991

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    Stan Smyl is the first Canucks player to have his jersey number to be retired to the rafters. He played his entire NHL career in Vancouver, and he continues to work within the Canucks organization to this day.

    In Smyl's career, he played 896 regular games, scored 262 goals and had 411 assists for 673 points. He sits fifth all-time on the franchise list for points.

    In the playoffs, Smyl registered 33 points in 41 games, including the Stanley Cup finals run in 1982, where he tallied 18 points in 17 games.

    After retiring as a player, Smyl immediately began coaching as an assistant on the Canucks and moved on to other roles such as the head coach of the Canucks farm teams, professional scout and now the senior advisor to general manager of Mike Gillis.

    Stan Smyl is the winner of No. 3 on the All-Time Canucks Players List.

2. Left-Wing Markus Naslund, 1995-2008

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    Markus Naslund is the Vancouver Canucks' all-time scoring leader with 346 goals and 756 points. Naslund served as a captain from 2000 to 2008, when he left Vancouver to join the New York Rangers.

    Naslund is a leader in a hockey perspective: He is also a dedicated member to the Vancouver community, performing volunteer work in numerous places, including the Canucks Place Children's Hospice.

    On December 11, 2010, the Vancouver Canucks honoured Naslund by celebrating his accomplishments during the 13 seasons he spent in Vancouver. His jersey retirement ceremony was highlighted by great moments of his big goals, tribute videos by West Coast Express linemate Todd Bertuzzi and a surprise appearance by Brendan Morrison.

    Naslund's franchise record for points will likely be broken this year by hometown neighbour and former teammate Henrik Sedin. However, Naslund's achievements will forever be remembered.

    Markus Naslund is the winner of No. 2 on the All-Time Canucks Players List.

1. Center Trevor Linden, 1988-1998, 2001-2008

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    Trevor Linden is No. 1 on the Canucks All-Time List with his remarkable performances as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. In 1988, a young Linden came out of the juniors with the Medicine Hat Tigers to join the Vancouver Canucks and begin his quest towards becoming one of the best contributors to his team, organization, and the Vancouver community.

    Like Markus Naslund, Trevor Linden established himself as a public figure and an icon in Vancouver for his services and friendly meetings that left an impact to hundreds and thousands of Vancouver citizens in awe.

    Without a question, Trevor Linden is a humble individuals who understood his role as a professional hockey player in a Canadian city and he connected with Canucks fans like no one else. In 2010, Linden was named a Member of the Order of Canada by David Johnston.

    Linden had a number of fine moments as a Canuck, but one of the best moments was Game 6 against the New York Rangers in 1994, where he was injured on his knee and knocked down by Mark Messier. Hall of Flame play-by-play announcer Jim Robson captured that moment vividly without much detail being visibly shown by the moving video camera.

    Linden gave his all to the team and the city of Vancouver. Today, you can continue to feel his presence with the new openings of Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness in Coquitlam, Burnaby and the Vancouver Convention Centre.

    Trevor Linden is the No. 1 winner of the All-Time Canucks Players List.

Honourable Mentions: Players That Almost Made the List

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    Here is the list of players that narrowly missed the Top 10 list and should be honoured also as part of the Honourable Mentions:


    1. Geoff Courtnall (1990-1995)

    Regular Season: 292 GP, 246 points.

    Playoffs: 61 points in 65 games (including 19 points in 1994).


    2. Roberto Luongo (2006-Present)

    Regular Season: 386 GP, 224 wins, 33 Shutouts.

    Playoffs: 32 wins in 61 games (including 15 wins in 2011).


    3. Richard Brodeur (1980-1988)

    Regular Season: 377 GP, 126 wins.

    Playoffs: 12 wins in 29 games (including 11 wins in 1982).


    4. Jyrki Lumme (1989-1998)

    Regular Season: 579 GP, 321 points.

    Playoffs: 40 points in 72 games (including 13 points in 1994).


    5. Todd Bertuzzi (1997-2006)

    Regular Season: 518 GP, 449 points.

    Playoffs: 14 points in 24 games.