Who Got The Best Undrafted Giant?

Jonathan Willis
August 29 2011 02:06AM

Vancouver, Edmonton and Minnesota all have something in common – aside from the fact that they’re all in the Northwest Division. Each of those clubs has invited an unsigned, undrafted Vancouver Giant to training camp on a tryout deal.

The three players invited are as follows:

  • Edmonton – Wesley Vannieuwenhuizen: 64GP – 0G – 8A – 8PTS, 157 PIM, +11
  • Minnesota – Nathan Burns: 59GP – 14G – 9A – 23PTS, 52PIM, +3
  • Vancouver – Brendan Jensen: 30GP, 8-13-1, 0.875 SV%

The Oilers invite goes out to defenseman Wes Vannieuwenhuizen. On the ice, he is a tough-as-nails defensive defenseman; his 157 penalty minutes led the team by a wide margin, and he was the only significant physical force on the blue line. He’s a teammate of David Musil, so the Oilers should be very familiar with him, and he’s regarded as a leader. Head coach Don Hay describes him as a “real warrior” and his plus-11 rating led the Giants’ blue-line.

Vancouver, a team that habitually invites at least one player from the Giants’ roster for a tryout, brings aboard goaltender Brendan Jensen this season. Jensen’s numbers are, at best, forgettable – that 0.875 SV% in particular sticks out like a sore thumb. Head coach Don Hay is pragmatic when he describes Jensen’s chances of starting for the Giants next season:

“I mean, you'd always like to have a proven No. 1 but that's just not the way the situation is right now. So it's up to Brendan to show us that he's ready to handle the position and the situation. He's got training camp and the exhibition season to do that and then we have to make a decision whether we feel he's capable of being the No. 1. If he is, great. If he's not, then we'll have to look around.”

The Wild’s choice, Burns, is the youngest of the trio – he was born in July of 1993. His offensive numbers aren’t especially impressive, especially given that he got some time on the Giants’ top line, and didn’t come close to his personal goal of 50 points.

He’s had some injury trouble, but faded as the season wore on: in the final month of 2010-11 Burns scored a single goal and went minus-7 in 10 games.

All of these players represent real long-shots to have any kind of NHL impact, but of the group I like Vannieuwenhuizen the best. He had the most impact last season in the WHL, and NHL clubs are always on the lookout for big tough guys that can play a bit and are regarded as good teammates. Given his age, he’s also the guy closest to regular duty in the AHL or ECHL.

After Vannieuwenhuizen, both Burns and Jensen have some nice points. Jensen is the guy most likely to get an opportunity this coming season; goaltenders develop even more erratically than forwards and Jensen’s both very young and likely to get playing time this coming year. Burns might be of interest if his defensive game is very good, but his lack of offense last season is troubling even if he is a phenomenal checker for his age.

The bottom line, though, is that none of these guys is costing the NHL team bringing them to camp very much, and it never hurts to get a closer look at an interesting prospect.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#1 mike
August 29 2011, 02:11AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

good read.

Avatar
#2 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
August 29 2011, 02:19AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

That's a helluva last name.

Avatar
#3 pelhem grenville
August 29 2011, 04:34AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Vannieuwenhuizen...+11 makes him shutdown-ish in the Dub but as you say he's [all 3] not going to make any impact in the NHL anytime soon...i thought he may have been bigger than his big name might have suggested but he's 6 one and 205 at 19...and most importantly here JW undrafted...

...so not many teams [ah, none to be counted] are interested so all three of these young men are low lights at best and destined for careers in lesser leagues ...

2bad NHL success is fairy tale stuff for them all...

Avatar
#4 HOFFFF
August 29 2011, 05:38AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

That's a long handle. With no Hyphens. Vannieuwenhuizen.

> Vanbiesbrouck

> Langenbrunner

> Kip

Hope he has wide shoulders. ...just sayin.

Avatar
#5 erixon
August 29 2011, 06:47AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I'll just call him Van Wilder.

Avatar
#6 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
August 29 2011, 07:23AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
mike wrote:

good read.

Mike, 2am "Good Read!" Nice first post I was sleeping.

Avatar
#7 Shane
August 29 2011, 08:48AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Wasn't he paired with Musil most of the year?

Avatar
#8 fuzzy muppet
August 29 2011, 09:16AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

WANYE

Where's Nation Radio?!?!?!

Avatar
#9 stevezie
August 29 2011, 09:34AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Has it really come to this? We're reading breakdowns of unsigned, undrafted longshots and comparing them to each other?

Avatar
#10 book¡e
August 29 2011, 09:46AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
stevezie wrote:

Has it really come to this? We're reading breakdowns of unsigned, undrafted longshots and comparing them to each other?

Wake me up when September ends...

Avatar
#11 Archaeologuy
August 29 2011, 11:02AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
stevezie wrote:

Has it really come to this? We're reading breakdowns of unsigned, undrafted longshots and comparing them to each other?

It's late August. I'm just glad we managed to fill up all of July and 4 weeks of August before we started on this. If we can just hold out for a little while longer before we discuss the new rolls of tape that the trainers just ordered, then I will be happy.

Avatar
#12 David S
August 29 2011, 12:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Archaeologuy wrote:

It's late August. I'm just glad we managed to fill up all of July and 4 weeks of August before we started on this. If we can just hold out for a little while longer before we discuss the new rolls of tape that the trainers just ordered, then I will be happy.

Great. So now there's two things I have to wait for. The latest Nation Radio segment and a post on the relative effectiveness of different brands, colors and widths of trainers' tape on individual player stats - WITH TABLES!

You suck man. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Avatar
#13 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
August 29 2011, 02:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Since Barry Stafford left, everything's up in the air in that Oiler dressing room, including this tape(s) issue. Is it Lowrys brand still, or has it shifted to the more affordable knockoff brand from accross the pond.

Hopefully we can find someone who's on the inside to clear this situation up for us.....stay tuned.

Avatar
#14 Cam Charron
August 29 2011, 04:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

"Vannieuwenhuizen"

Edmonton win based strictly on that name alone.

Comments are closed for this article.