The folks over at Canucks.com are running a neat little feature called “Who Wore it Best” where every day for the month of August they feature a player that wore jersey number 1-31. It’s a nice little summer feature and something I’m interested in, Canucks history and jersey numbers.
Just one problem: I keep disagreeing with them.
They are through the first four numbers and have picked Kirk McLean (#1), Mattias Ohlund (#2), Brent Sopel (#3) and Jim Benning (#4). I agree with the Ohlund selection, but Roberto Luongo (#1), Doug Lidster (#3) and Rick Lanz (#4) should be outraged!
Well even if those guys aren’t outraged, I am (in a lighthearted way of course), so I decided to make my own list. The list that Canucks.com is compiling isn’t including current NHL players, which explains Luongo’s exclusion. They’re doing that presumably to not offend anyone on the current roster or mention players on other teams. Lucky for me, Vancity Buzz doesn’t have the same restrictions (sorry Karm, you didn’t make the list).
He’s without a doubt the greatest goaltender in franchise history. Kirk McLean was also a great Canuck, but was not the elite goaltender that Luongo was.
Honourable mention: Kirk McLean, Gary Smith
Funny mention: Peter Skudra
Dan Hamhuis might hold down this spot when his career is over, but right now I give the nod to Ohlund based on longevity. Ohlund was a rugged and defensively sound and has the distinction of the all-time franchise leader in points by a defenceman.
Honourable mention: Dan Hamhuis, Doug Halward
Funny mention: John Namesnikov
Choosing Brent Sopel over Doug Lidster was a slap to the face of Canucks history! Lidster, for those of you who aren’t old enough to remember him, was one of the best d-men in Canucks history. He has twice as many points and games as Sopel, although Sopel’s hair was twice as good as Lidster’s. Lidster currently ranks fourth in franchise points by a defenceman.
Honourable mention: Pat Quinn, Bret Hedican, Brent Sopel, Kevin Bieksa
Funny mention: Anders Eldebrink
Canucks.com gave this spot to Jim Benning, presumably sucking up to the new boss. There’s no doubt that Rick Lanz is the best Canuck to ever don the #4. The offensively gifted d-man was a good player on some bad Canucks teams in the 1980s. He had three seasons with 48+ points and sits in 8th place on the Canucks all-time points list by a defenceman.
Honourable mentions: Barry Wilkins, Jim Benning, Gerald Diduck
Funny mention: Greg Hawgood
Second in franchise penalty minutes, Butcher was a warrior on the Canucks blueline for 610 games.
Honourable mention: Dana Murzyn, Christian Ehrhoff
Funny mention: Larry Goodenough
This one was one of the most difficult decisions to make, but I gave Sami Salo the nod over Dennis Kearns. Kearns has the higher point totals, but Salo kills him in plus-minus and cool factor.
Honourable mention: Dennis Kearns, Adrian Aucoin
Funny mention: Robert Nordmark
Another tough decision, Ronning is my choice for #7 despite having fewer points than both Andre Boudrias and Brendan Morrison (albeit in fewer games). Ronning is on this list because of his outstanding play in the playoffs, 58 points in 72 games, placing him 6th all-time.
Honourable mention: Andre Boudrias, Brendan Morrison
Funny mention: Pit Martin
He not only scored one of the biggest goals in franchise history in 1994, but he was an effective power forward that sits 15th and 10th all-time in regular season and playoff points respectively.
Honourable mention: Rick Blight, Willie Mitchell
Funny mention: Eric Weinrich
A real difficult choice given he was up against Don Lever, but Tony Tanti’s goal totals are just too eye popping to not include. The 6th all-time in franchise goal scoring averaged over 40 goals a season over a five year span.
Honourable mention: Don Lever, Ivan Boldirev
Funny mention: Lubomir Vaic
No explanation needed. Just watch the video below.
Honourable mention: Dennis Ververgaert
Funny mention: Fred Speck
You knew I wasn’t going to choose Mark Messier in this spot, right? Maki put up 123 points in 180 career games with the Canucks before being diagnosed with brain cancer and dying tragically at the age of 29. His jersey was unofficially retired by the Canucks following his death (save for the Mark Messier experiment).
Honourable mention: Chris Oddleifson
Funny mention: Mark Messier
One of the greatest players in franchise history and the first to have his jersey retired, Smyl is an easy choice. A true heart and soul player.
Honourable mention: nobody
Funny mention: Rob Flockhart
A solid defenceman for the team in the early 80s, Lindgren was an important member of the team that went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 1982.
Honourable mention: Artem Chubarov
Funny mention: also Artem Chubarov
Unlike 11, 12 and 13, there is a lot of competition for this spot. Alex Burrows narrowly edges former captain Chris Oddleifson and clutch goal scorer Geoff Courtnall. Burrows’ longevity, importance with the Sedins and in the 2011 playoffs puts him in top spot.
Honourable mention: Chris Oddleifson, Geoff Courtnall
Funny mention: Lonny Bohonos
Rich Sutter is the de facto pick at #15. Nothing against Sutter, he was a gritty player that put up 122 points over four seasons with the Canucks in the late 80s, but the #15 is like a who’s who of disappointing Canucks players. Brent Ashton, Jim Dowd, Dave Gagner, Drake Berehowsky, Marco Sturm, Derek Roy… They’re all on the list.
Honourable mention: Rick Rypien
Funny mention: Harold Druken
Feature Image: canucks.nhl.com