Vancouver Canucks: Redrafting the 2009 NHL Draft

4 of 8

Round 3 – 83rd Overall

Original Pick: D Kevin Connauton
New Pick: D Sami Vatanen (106th to ANA)
Honorable Mentions: F Cody Eakin (85th to WSH), RW Craig Smith (98th to NSH)

I really, really, really wanted to redraft at least one player that is an original Canucks pick. Kevin Connauton, a current NHLer for the Arizona Coyotes, was supposed to be the one. But then I discovered Sami Vatanen at 106, which destroyed the entire plan. Vatanen is simply better than Connauton.

To be fair, Connauton was one of the Canucks’ top prospects when they decided to trade him in 2013. At the time, he led the AHL Chicago Wolves in goals by a defenseman (7) and points by a defenseman (25). He looked like a big, physical D-man with great two-way abilities. But the Canucks were in win-now mode, so they dealt Connauton and a second-round pick to the Dallas Stars for center Derek Roy.

Roy was a former star center with a career-best 81-point season in 2007-08, and he still had the potential to help Vancouver in a playoffs. But, you might remember, he didn’t. Roy was in Vancouver for 16 games, played for three more teams in the next two years, and is now in Switzerland. It could have been so much easier.

It took Sami Vatanen four years to land a full-time NHL gig, but at least he made it. He also didn’t make it as a depth defender, but he is an important part of the Anaheim Ducks’ D-core. The Ducks just signed him to a four-year $19.5 million contract extension and he will stay with the club for many more years.

Next: Round 4