“We tried to move up into the elite area, we offered a substantial package, and it wasn’t going to work,” Canucks GM Dave Nonis said. “We weren’t going to erode our team to get there.”
Kyle Turris, a forward from New Westminster, B.C., who went third overall to the Phoenix Coyotes, was an enticement for the Canucks to move up, but none of the top five teams picking in Friday’s first round were budging.
“It became clear to me right before the draft they weren’t looking for anything, that they were going to pick,” Nonis said. “It didn’t matter how much we threw at them.”
White is from Grand Rapids, Minn., and will play for University of Minnesota next season.
The six-foot, 186-pound forward split his season between his high school team and Tri-City of the U.S. junior league. He had 19 goals and 26 assists in 29 games. Scouting reports say he’s hard to knock off the puck and tough along the walls.
“We like his offensive instincts, he’s very good with the puck and his vision is well above average,” Nonis said.
White improved his draft stock by playing for the U.S. at the world under-18 championship this year.
He was pleasantly surprised to hear his name called in the first round as he expected to wait until the later rounds on Saturday before being picked.
“I never expected to for sure be drafted into the NHL,” White said. “I thought last year I might have a chance. Throughout the year, things were just looking better and better and now I’m here.”
When the draft resumes Saturday morning, the Canucks pick third in the second round, 33rd overall and they also have the 56th and 61st picks. But after that, they’re not up again until the 145th pick.