by Ron Spence
If anyone in Canucks’ history deserves to have his number retired, it’s Trevor Linden.
His number will be retired on December 17th and his sweater will hang beside Stan Smyl’s.
Linden finished his career, having played 1138 games – with 318 goals and 415 assists for a total of 733 points. This was 23 behind Markus Naslund for the all time Canucks’ total points.
The Canucks have been far too frugal with their numbers.
They have forgotten Smyl’s old linemate and Canucks’ European scout – for a decade and a half – Thomas Gradin.
The likeable Swede was Vancouver’s leading scorer in both the 1980–81 and the 1981–82 seasons. He was their leading playoff scorer in four playoffs, but most important in their 1982 run to the Cup finals, when he had 19 points in 17 games (He had scored 37 goals that season.).
He was the Canucks’ assist leader for three seasons, and still holds the Canucks’ career points by a centre (550). He is also still tied with Markus Naslund for the most career hat-tricks.
Gradin was Vancouver’s MVP for the 1978-79 season, the Canucks’ Molson Cup winner (1982-83), and the Viking Award Winner for the best Swede in the NHL in 1982.
But most important to Canucks’ fans today, he was the man who discovered future star defenseman, Alex Edler in the wilds of Sweden, and was instrumental in persuading Brian Burke to draft the Sedin twins.
Now, Gradin’s accomplishments as a scout won’t count towards the retirement of his number, but it’s the proverbial icing on the cake of his illustrious career as a Canuck.
P.S. The only problem is that # 23 is now Alexander Edler’s number, but I am sure that he would give it up for the man who discovered him.
Thomas Gradin’s statistics courtesy of: eurohockey.net