Vancouver Canucks 1997 NHL Draft Retrospective


The Canuck Way continues to look at how the Vancouver Canucks have done in drafts past. Today, we look at the 1997 NHL Draft.

Well, the Vancouver Canucks were slightly better with their picks in 1997 than they were the previous year. However, it was only one player better and that player would go on to have quite the controversial career.

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Brad Ference would never play a game for the Canucks, being sent to the Florida Panthers in the deal that also sent Pavel Bure to the sunshine state. He spent parts of four seasons with the franchise before being sent to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Darcy Hordichuk, spending a season and 15 games there. After the 2004-05 lockout, he was dealt again, this time to the New Jersey Devils. He would never play a game for them as he would sign as a free agent with the Calgary Flames at the end of the season. He would play five games for them in the 2006-07 season. He signed with the Detroit Red Wings the next season but would only play in the AHL. He retired in 2008.

Ryan Bonni played three games with the Canucks in the 1999-00 season. He would then play in various minor pro leagues, playing in Germany, Slovakia, Denmark, Austria and Italy as well.

Harold Druken would play parts of four seasons with the Canucks. However, in the 2002-03 season he would be property of three teams. After playing only three games in Vancouver, he was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. A month after being acquired, he was waived by the team and was claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, another month after that, he would be waived again and reacquired by the Hurricanes. After the season, he would be traded back to the Maple Leafs. He played nine games with the Leafs in 2003-04, spending most of his time with the Leafs’ farm team in St. John’s.

Kyle Freadrich played 23 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning over two seasons in 1999-00 and 2000-01. Other than that, he played in the ECHL, AHL and IHL.

Chris Stanley played two seasons in the ECHL before spending a season in Germany. He split the 2007-08 season between the Central Hockey League and Italy. He would go back to Germany the season after and would spend the rest of his career there. David Darguzas would never play professionally after leaving the WHL. Matt Cockell would spend one season with the University of Manitoba after leaving the WHL.

Matt Cooke is obviously remembered for being one of the NHL’s biggest pests. He has missed 32 games because of suspension and number seems low considering he wasn’t suspended for his big hit on Marc Savard.

He spent his first nine seasons with the Canucks before being traded to the Washington Capitals at the 2008 NHL Trade Deadline. After the the 2007-08 season, he would sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He would win the Stanley Cup with the team, but his five seasons with the team would also be the time where he would get in the most trouble with the League. He signed with the Minnesota Wild in 2013, and other than a 7-game suspension in the 2014 playoffs, he has remained relatively clean.

Larry Shapley spent the 1998-99 season in the AHL before splitting the next season between the ECHL and IHL. Rod Leroux never played professionally after leaving the WHL. Denis Martynyuk split two different seasons split between the AHL and ECHL before returning to Russia. Peter Brady spent one season in the AHL, three seasons in the Central Hockey League and one season in the United Hockey League.

Next: Canucks 1997 NHL Draft Retrospective

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