It's draft time for Vancouver

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

It's draft time in Vancouver and we're not talking beer or wind.

The 43rd National Hockey League Entry Draft goes Saturday at 3 p.m. in General Motors Place. Tickets are $5. It'll be carried live on TSN.

St. Louis Blues won the April 20 draft lottery and pick first. Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins round out the top five. Vancouver Canucks pick 14th.

The 2006 draft is for North American players born Jan. 1, 1986 to Sept. 15, 1988 and non-North Americans born Jan. 1, 1985 to Sept. 15, 1988.

American junior star Erik Johnson is the top-ranked North American skater by NHL's Central Scouting bureau. Vancouver Giants' left winger Milan Lucic is ranked 58th. Swede Nicklas Backstrom gets the nod as the top European. Jonathan Bernier (Lewiston, QMJHL) and Jhonas Enroth (Sweden) are the top goaltenders.

The first draft was June 5, 1963 at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel where the Canadiens chose Garry Monahan with the first pick.

The only previous Vancouver draft was 1990 when a Pacific Coliseum labour dispute forced its move to B.C. Place Stadium. As drafts go, it was a classic.

Quebec Nordiques selected Owen Nolan first overall. Canucks' head coach and general manager Pat Quinn took Petr Nedved with the second pick. But Keith Primeau (Detroit Red Wings), Mike Ricci (Philadelphia Flyers) and Jaromir Jagr (Pittsburgh) followed. New Jersey Devils claimed goaltender Martin Brodeur 20th overall.


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