Markus Naslund has an idea what Pavel Bure will experience on Saturday when the Russian Rocket's No. 10 will be raised to the rafters at Rogers Arena, never again to be worn by a Vancouver Canuck player.

Naslund's No. 19 was retired three years ago. His was the third number to be so honoured after Stan Smyl's No. 12 and Trevor Linden's No. 16. Bure will be the fourth.

“It's something you never expect when you're in the middle of your active career and playing the game,” said Naslund, who has flown in from Sweden to be part of the Bure festivities. “I think it's an outstanding honour for yourself and, if you do have a family, it means a lot to them, too. It's definitely a nice touch after you've finished your career.”

Naslund played two seasons with Bure from 1996-98. Naslund was still an emerging star while the Rocket was already a full-fledged force in the NHL, having twice scored 60 goals and won a Calder Trophy. Bure's electrifying career came as no surprise to Naslund.

“Pavel was definitely a unique player and I remember watching him even before he came over to the NHL,” said Naslund. “I remember being in awe of the stuff he was doing, his ability to combine his speed with his skill and the desire he had to score every time he got the puck.

“It was definitely something special – and it was great to have a chance to watch him closely when I got traded to Vancouver.”

Smyl was honoured by the Canucks for his dogged determination and perseverance during 13 seasons in which the team never played above .500, although the Canucks did make one unlikely trip to the Stanley Cup final in 1982. Smyl had some excellent offensive seasons, too, once scoring 78 and 88 points in back-to-back years. But even he admits he never had the natural talent of the Russian Rocket.

“I know a lot of players like myself dreamed of doing the sorts of things Pavel did,” said Smyl, who was an assistant coach with the Canucks during Bure's seven seasons on the team. “I think that's the biggest thing I can remember about him is how exciting he was and the way he could bring the fans out of their seats with his pure speed and what he could do with the puck.