The Canucks were a rebuilding team in the late 1970s and for a while, it looked like a new young goaltender, Glen Hanlon would be the future tender for the team. Drafted 40th overall in 1977, Hanlon played four games in the NHL during his draft year at the age of 20 and showed good promise. “Carrot Top” as he was known by some due to his bright red hair, had set himself up for a anticipated 1978-79 year. In that year, the Canucks, despite having two veteran tenders in Gary Bromley and Dunc Wilson, gave Hanlon 31 games. They likely would have given him more had he not incurred a knee injury during the season. Though Bromley played in more games than Hanlon, Hanlon’s numbers were better in almost every category, leading the Canucks with a 3.10 GAA and 3 shutouts. He even had more wins that Bromley in less games. Hanlon was recognized for his good rookie campaign as he was 6th in Calder voting that year.
Hanlon was known to be an emotional player who hated being scored on. He took over the team’s starting job in the 1979-80 season, but struggled a bit more with the load of 57 games. Hanlon played in his first playoffs in 1980 with the Canucks, but didn’t play much in the 3-1 series loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Hanlon was frequently marred by injuries during his time in Vancouver and the 1980-81 was the most extreme case. Hanlon played in just 17 games, posting rather sub-par numbers. Unfortunately for Hanlon, a new goaltender, though older in age, produced surprisingly impressive numbers in lieu of Hanlon’s play: Richard Brodeur.
Hanlon would have a slightly better season in 1981-82, but would again suffer many injuries limiting him to 28 games with the Canucks before the Canucks made the decision that Brodeur was outperforming Hanlon by enough that they could afford to sell on Hanlon. Hanlon, who was an active member of the Vancouver community while he was there, was devastated at the news. Hanlon was traded to the Blues near the end of the 1981-82 season for a bucket of three players and a draft pick, most of whom wouldn’t leave a lasting impact. Hanlon left the Canucks with the second most wins (43) and shutouts (5) of all-time, behind Gary Smith on both accounts.
Hanlon would go on to play for nearly ten more years, retiring in 1991 with the Detroit Red Wings. The highlight season was probably the 1987-88 season, in which he tied for the league lead in shutouts with four, finishing 9th in Vezina voting. He also had a few standout playoff performances for the Red Wings in the late 80s as well.