Vancouver Canucks 1985 NHL Draft Retrospective


The Canuck Way continues our look into how the Vancouver Canucks have drafted in the past. This time, we look at the 1985 NHL Draft.

Well, the Canucks managed to pick even fewer players that would eventually play in the NHL. However, the one big difference is that three of the four players they selected would play more than 500 games in the NHL. The continued failure would be that only one would go play the majority of his career with Vancouver.

Lets get tight to it and look at the draft picks.

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Jim Sandlak would only play two seasons in the NHL with a team that wasn’t the Canucks. After being drafted out of the London Knights, Sandlak got off to a rocky start with the Canucks. Not on the ice however. The Canucks considered him such a good prospect that they traded away a future Hall of Famer Cam Neely. I think only one word can cover that trade: Oops!

Sandlak spent the first nine seasons with Vancouver. However, the ninth season (1992-93) saw him miss 25 games and most of the playoffs due to injuries. He would be traded to the Hartford Whalers after the season. Injuries continued to be an issue in his two seasons with the Whalers, playing only a combined 40 games for the franchise. Sandlak returned to the Canucks for the 1995-96 season, playing only 33 games and retiring after a failed tryout with the Buffalo Sabres the next season.

Troy Gamble played parts of three seasons with the Canucks, only having 20 wins total. He spent the majority of his career in the IHL, last playing for the Houston Aeros. Shane Doyle would never play in the NHL, but he would go on to play in nine different leagues: the OJHL, OHL, AHL, ECHL, IHL, SHL, UHL, WCHL and WPHL. Quite the well-travelled player. Randy Siska never made it out of the WHL, last playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Robert Kron would spend the first two and a half seasons of his career with Vancouver before being traded to the Hartford Whalers. He would spend eight seasons with the franchise, moving with the team when they became the Carolina Hurricanes. He would spend the last two seasons of his NHL career with the Columbus Blue Jackets before playing for a year in the SM-liiga.

Martin Hrstka never left the Czech Republic. Brian McFarlane never made it out of the WHL, last playing with the New Westminster Bruins. Hakan Ahlund played in Sweden, Finland and Germany in his playing career. Curtis Hunt made it as high as the AHL, playing with the St. John’s Maple Leafs. Carl Valimon also made it to the AHL, playing one season with the Prince Edward Island Senators.

The Canucks saved their best pick for their second-last of the draft. Though drafted in 1985, Igor Larionov didn’t join the Canucks until 1989. He would play three seasons with Vancouver before playing a season in Switzerland. When he returned to the NHL, he signed with the San Jose Sharks. After spending two seasons with the Sharks, he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings just four games into the next season. It was in Detroit that Larionov would be most successful, winning the Stanley Cup twice with the team.

He signed with the Florida Panthers for the 2000-01 season but was traded back to the Red Wings after playing just 26 games with the Panthers. He would spend the rest of that season as well as two more with the Red Wings before finishing his career with one season playing for the New Jersey Devils.

Darren Taylor made it as high as the IHL, playing for the Peoria Rivermen in the 1988-89 season.

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