Jordan Schroeder: The Canucks Next Cliff Ronning?

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Jordan Schroeder: The Canucks Next Cliff Ronning?
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis may not have made any big trade splashes at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal but picking up the highly-touted Jordan Schroeder from the University of Minnesota at pick 22 overall in the first round could be deemed a big splash in its own right.

Going into the draft, Schroeder was ranked as one of the top five North American players according to the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau and most media outlets had the Minnesota-native somewhere in their top 15.

So what stood in the way of this skilled young centreman being picked up by a team earlier in the draft? Well that's quite simple.

Size.

At 5'8'', 175 lbs, Schroeder doesn't exactly fit into the type of frame that's become the norm for NHL players these days; big. But make no mistake, what this 18 year old lacks in height and weight, he makes for in raw point-producing ability.

In 35 games with the U of M's Golden Gophers last season, Schroeder scored 13 goals and added 33 assists for a total of 45 points, finishing second on the team in overall scoring. He also notched another 11 points in six games with Team USA at the World Junior Championships in Ottawa, another showcase of just how offensively skilled he really is.

Though Schorder has been most commonly compared to Boston Bruins play-making center Marc Savard who carries a similar stature at 5'10'', 195 lbs, Canuck fans won't have any trouble locating the last little guy who made a big impact in Vancouver.

Cliff Ronning.

In 366 games played with the Canucks, Ronning amassed an impressive 328 points for Vancouver as well as having played a pivotal role in the team's 1994 Cinderella playoff run with 15 points in 24 games.

With almost identical body-types down to the last inch and pound, there are definitely higher expectations for Schroeder then there were for Ronning when he came into the league as he was picked in the seventh round, 134st overall, but to live up to those expectations is another thing altogether.

However, the post-lockout NHL has also become more small player-friendly with players like Savard, Martin St. Louis, and Brian Gionta flourishing under the new system.

So what's to stop Schroeder from joining these ranks? Well, perhaps it's only time that's standing in the way of discovering if the Canucks are in possession of the next Ronning.

With Schorder, the Canucks managed to get their hands on arguably the biggest steal at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and with top prospects like Cody Hodgson, Michael Grabner and Cory Schneider already in the mix, the future of this Vancouver team looks very bright indeed.

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