For smaller hockey nations, who would make up the Vancouver Canucks’ all-time roster?
NHL Ice hockey has experienced immense international growth through the reign of commissioner Gary Bettman, but that hasn’t always translated into widespread international talent from non-traditional hockey countries. The Vancouver Canucks however, have had their share of players from smaller hockey nations.
The Canuck Way has created All-Time lineups for different countries, such as Canada and the United States of America. This time, we take a look at a team of players from countries where hockey is far from the forefront of people sporting affections.
For the purposes of this article, teams who have not competed at least three times in the last 10 years of the IIHF World Ice hockey Championships qualify as non-traditional hockey countries. While the game is growing in many of these nations, few have had international success.
With that qualification method for countries, it leaves a void in a regular lineup — no goaltender. The Canucks have not had a goalie from one of these countries, so therefore this lineup plays with the net pulled.
Defence: Andrey Pedan – Lithuania
The only tried and true defender on this list is a player Canucks fans are infamously familiar with, Lithuania’s Andrey Pedan. His time with the Canucks came under the tutelage of Willie Desjardins, who became known for his use of players from smaller hockey nations throughout his time in Vancouver.
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Although Pedan only played 13 games in Vancouver (zero points) the native of Kaunas, Lithuania was a regular contributor to the AHL’s Utica Comets, where he played 97 games over two seasons. He is certainly not the most successful player on the list, but is the most familiar to modern fans. Pedan is now playing with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL.
Defence: Richard Park – South Korea/ USA
Richard Park is a centreman, but this lineup doesn’t have a second defenceman, so for the purpose of this exercise, he goes on the blue line. Through his time in the NHL, Richard Park was never known as an offensive powerhouse, rather he made his name as a hardworking bottom-six forward who could win battles defensively.
Born in Seoul South Korea, Park played only a single season on the west coast in 2005-06, where he scored 18 points through 60 regular season games. While he was born in South Korea, Park never played internationally for the Koreans, rather he played for Team USA as a dual citizen. Park retired in 2014, after two years in the Swiss first division.