On Monday we revealed 31-40 of our top 40 countdown in honour of the Canucks’ 40th anniversary, which mostly featured players from the 1970s and 1980s. In part two of our 40 greatest Canucks countdown series we look at the greatest players, 21-30.
As we begin to take a look at the top 30, we start to see more players from the best eras of Canucks hockey (you know, the eras that featured playoff games somewhat regularly). This is where the list gets very interesting. How do you compare a player who excelled during the regular season on a bad team that missed the playoffs every year to a clutch playoff performer? How do you compare a goalie that had a great run for a short period to a goalie who was consistently good for a long period of time? Well, at Canuckz.com no task is too tough, no mountain too high, no river too wide… Maybe I should just give you the list:
30 .Willie Mitchell
One of the best shutdown defensemen in team history, Mitchell spent four very productive seasons in Vancouver. He loses some points for his lack of offense.
29. Sami Salo
Despite the jokes about his injury troubles, Salo has been a very reliable defenseman when healthy. He ranks seventh in points by a defenceman and has scored some big goals. In recent years he has become a pretty important shutdown defenceman, often paired with Willie Mitchell. Plus, he has balls of steel.
28. Gary Smith
‘Suitcase’ Smith had three very productive seasons for the Canucks in the 1970s including a 32 win season in 1974-75 en route to the first division title in club history. He even drew Hart Trophy consideration by some for his season in 74-75.
27. Dan Cloutier
He put up some great numbers in the regular season in front of some excellent teams but never carried that success to the playoffs. He was also was plagued with injuries. Still, his production in the regular season should not be completely ignored. He backstopped the team during some of their best seasons and was their toughest player for the years he was in Vancouver.
26. Richard Brodeur
‘King Richard’ ranks third in club’s all-time wins list and was the best player in team’s run to the cup final in 1982. He played in front of some dreadful teams in the 1980s and consequently only had one winning season, though he could hardly be blamed.
25. Patrik Sundstrom
Sundstrom didn’t do much in the playoffs as a Canuck but he had some nice regular seasons, including an amazing 91 point campaign in 1983-84. He’s probably best known for fetching Greg Adams and Kirk McLean in a blockbuster trade in the late 80s.
24. Petri Skriko
A very consistent point producer on bad teams in the 1980s. Skriko put up four straight 30+ goal seasons. Also possesses one of the best names in club history.
23. Doug Lidster
Doug Lidster is in much the same boat as Tony Tanti: a good player on a bad team. He holds the record for most points in a season by a defenceman and was co-captain with Trevor Linden and Dan Quinn for a season. I might have ranked him higher if I wasn’t still bitter that he was a part of the 1994 Rangers team that ultimately ended the Canucks Stanley Cup dreams.
22. Geoff Courtnall
Ranks second in all-time playoff scoring but loses points because he played only four full seasons in a Canucks uniform. Still, he has to be considered one of the most clutch goal scorers in team history.
21. Greg Adams
A gritty player, Greg Adams ranks 14th in regular season scoring and 9th in playoff scoring. ‘Gus’ scored two of the biggest goals in team history (overtime goals in game 5 vs Toronto and game 1 vs New York in 1994). I still get chills every time I see his famous goal in 1994 that sent the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals.