NHL Draft: Canucks are ‘very comfortable’ with their third-round choice given their experience

The feisty Finn piled up way more penalty minutes (485) than points (55) for the Vancouver Canucks in 246 games as a deterrent and bottom six left-wing grinder, who hit double digits here on three occasions.

He also logged 13 post-season games in 2003-04, including the gut-wrenching, seven-game, second-round series collapse against the Minnesota Wild.

Ruutu was a third-round 1998 NHL Draft pick and fought 37 times during 10 seasons with four teams, but the number than matters most to NHL scouts and those who judge drafting success is 200 franchise games.

That’s considered the measure of due diligence. If the player is then deemed expendable, brings something back in a trade, or leaves in free agency, like the 6-foot-2, 200 pound Ruutu did to join the Pittsburgh Penguins, it’s a check mark. Ruutu would finish with 710 career games.

“I don’t even have guys listed if I don’t think they’re going to play 200 games in the NHL, and not be a call-up guy that gets another 12 games, or a cup-of-coffee guy that gets you at least 100 games,” said NHL prospects scout Shane Malloy.

It’s why those in the know reference potential games played here in assessing what the Canucks hope to accomplish Saturday with their third-round pick in the 2024 draft at Las Vegas.

There are potential third-line centres and third-pairing defencemen and seldom do you hit a home run like landing blueliner Alex Edler in the third round of 2004.

Then again, you never know. The onus is on the player to become more than expected.

Legendary Canucks winger Stan Smyl was a third-round selection in the 1978 amateur draft at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal and his number has been retired and hangs from the Rogers Arena rafters. He ranks fifth in all-time franchise scoring with 673 points (262-411) in 896 games. The pugnacious winger is also third in penalty minutes with 1,556.




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