The Vancouver had a lot of high draft picks in their early years due to their poor performances. One of those high picks was Dennis Ververgaert at 3rd Overall in the 1973 Amateur Draft. Ververgaert had dominated with the London Knights in the OHA during his junior years and was highly touted. “Verve”, as he was known by some, had a solid rookie campaign in Vancouver in the 1973-74 season, right after being drafted. Ververgaert immediately became one of the top offensive players for the Canucks, leading the team with 26 goals and finishing behind Boudrias for 2nd in points with 57 points. His season got him a 4th place finish in Calder voting.
Ververgaert had an impressive, though shortened sophomore season, managing 51 points in his 57 games. Playing mostly with Boudrias, Ververgaert was an “offense-only” type of player who refused to practice the defensive side of the game. Ververgaert had a career year in the 1975-76 season, leading the Canucks in goals with 37 and in points with 71 while playing in all 80 games. Ververgaert’s numbers took a notable dip in the 1976-77 season, as Rick Blight took over his role as the premier right wing on the team, though Ververgaert still managed to finish in a tie for 2nd on the team in goals with 27.
Ververgaert showed more of his playmaking side in the 1977-78 season, with a dip in goals down to 21, but a spike in assists from 18 to 33, improving his point total to 54. The Canucks hired a new coach, Harry Neale, in 1978 who disagreed with Ververgaert’s refusal to play defense and promptly had him traded midway through the 1978-79 season to the Philadelphia Flyers in an exchange that brought over future Canuck captain Kevin McCarthy. Ververgaert was also again struggling for ice time against a new right winger who was challenging his position, Stan Smyl.
Ververgaert would only play one and a half seasons for the Flyers and one final season with the Washington Capitals before being bumped from the roster due to injuries and rising young players. Rather than play in the minors, Ververgaert retired from the game at the very young age of just 28 years old. When Ververgaert left the Canucks in 1978, he was third all-time in points with 304 and second all-time in goals with 139. While Ververgaert was a valuable player during his time in Vancouver, he never fully lived up to the expectations of a third overall pick and seemed to lack the patience to learn a complete game.
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