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Moving the team in a different direction…

For the first time in their 30-year NHL history, the Vancouver Canucks started the 2010 draft in the 4th round, opting to save their early round picks until next year.  The Canucks walked away with three defensemen, one center and a goalie this year “to help move the team in a different direction,” according to GM Mike Gillis.

The Canucks started their day with American Patrick McNally.  A rising senior at Milton Academy near Boston, Mass., McNally was named the New England Prep School Defenseman of the Year and U.S. Hockey Report Prep Defenseman of the Year at the end of the 2009-10 season.  Paul Cannata, Milton’s head coach, said of McNally, “he loves to play hockey, carry the puck, skate, and make plays. There’s a freshness to his game that is really enjoyable.”

In addition to his hockey smarts, he also has the “book smarts” as he’ll be attending Harvard in 2011.  Gillis told ‘Canucks TV’ that they came away with quite a find in McNally as he believes McNally has slipped under the scouting radar this season because of his commitment to the Ivy League school.

In the 5th round Vancouver selected their second defenseman, Adam Polasek, from the Czech Republic.  Polasek played in 66 games the for the PEI Rocket (QMJHL)  last season, where he scored 13 goals and tallied 28 assists.

During the 6th round, the two non-defense choices were made in center Alex Friesen from Niagra and goaltender Jonathan Iilahti,  who could be part of the Finnish World Junior team next year.

Finally in the 7th round, the Canucks chose their third and final defenseman, Sawyer Hannay from Halifax.  Gillis felt Hannay was a “good, tough defenseman…with a lot of potential.”

With all their young offense and defense, and the addition of former-Panther Keith Ballard on Draft Day, seems there will be a lot of potential in the 2010-11 Canucks team

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