Monday, July 1st, 2013
HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We love hockey and …….beer!
The 2013 NHL Entry Draft is in the books and what a day! A looooong day! There were certainly some surprises both on the draft floor with trades and on the draft stage with selections.
I was shocked to see that New Jersey acquired Cory Schneider from Vancouver for the only the 9th overall selection. Thought it would’ve taken much more to land that kind of goaltending prospect but once the Canucks selected Bo Horvat with the 9th pick, it made a little more sense. Horvat is a player with loads of intangibles and is a big game competitor; he has been all of his life. He will likely compete in the Canuck’s future second line centre spot and contribute on their top PK unit and PP unit, as a net front presence. Horvat has been developed by the Hunter brothers in London and he has become one of the most complete players in this draft class. Expect Horvat to be the future Captain of the Canucks at one point. I did however expect a larger return for Schneider but it was clear Gillis handcuffed himself.
New Jersey got a great deal here as Cory Schneider will slowly take the reins from Brodeur over the next year.
The other notable trade that took place was Dave Nonis acquiring Blackhawks centre David Bolland for the 51st pick, 3rd round pick and additional 4th round pick (2014). Good deal for both sides. I like the addition of Bolland for the Leafs and it came at a reasonable price. Toronto lands another centre option, albeit not an ideal top line centre, and picks up another player who is hard to play against. As a closet Leafs fan, I would prefer them to be a team built on skill (like the Blackhawks and Penguins) but the franchise is clearly leaning towards building a team that is extremely hard to play against. I don’t mind this route as long as it produces results….and it should.
Staying with the Leafs, I was pretty excited to see some big names remain on the draft board when their 21st overall pick came due as they had the option to select Hunter Shinkaruk (this year’s draft day slider), Andre Burakovsky (a forward with awesome offensive skills/patience), Ryan Hartman (two-way hard to play against skilled forward) and Adam Erne (big speedy north south scoring winger). In the end, Nonis and company chose to select Frederik Gauthier, a big bodied committed, hard-working centre with a win-at-all-cost attitude. I don’t mind the pick as Gauthier is the type of player that wins championships. If he can reach his top-six upside, I will absolutely be thrilled with this picks. My gut tells me that I would’ve liked to see Hunter Shinkaruk in the blue and white (the type of player I prefer). Time will tell I guess.
Over the next week, I will break down how each team did with their draft selections so check back often but after a quick scan of the team’s selections, here are my top 3 teams from yesterday’s draft.
1. Buffalo Sabres – After taking two excellent forwards in Grigorenko and Girgensons at the 2012 draft, Buffalo responded and landed two very good defensemen in Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov on Sunday. In addition to these big defensemen, Buffalo grabbed the highly competitive and versatile pivot in JT Compher with the 35th pick, a selection they dealt Andrej Sekera for during the draft. In addition to the 35th pick, Buffalo also received Jamie McBain from the Carolina Hurricanes giving the skilled rearguard a fresh start.
Moving forward, Regier and his draft team selected the top high schooler in Connor Hurley, big skilled smart forward who is the youngest player available in the draft, and then added Justin Bailey, another big highly skilled shooter who grew up in Buffalo. Buffalo stayed with taking forwards grabbing Nicholas Baptiste, an under-the-radar skilled forward who came on strong late in his draft season in Sudbury. Next up, Sabres grabbed a goaltender who unexpectedly fell in Calvin Petersen (great value pick here). Rounding out their draft day were Gustav Possler, defenseman Anthony Florentino, American forward Sean Malone and overager Eric Locke, who was outstanding value in the 7th round. To be honest, Buffalo did absolutely amazing at every position in the draft. Excellent.
2. Winnipeg Jets – The Jets can leave the draft floor very satisfied after addressing multiple positions with some great value selections. Winnipeg welcomes an offensive wizard on the backend with their 1st round selection in Josh Morrissey, then turned to a highly skilled small forward in Nic Petan early in the 2nd round. Petan led the WHL in scoring this season. Eric Comrie, a standout goaltender, was grabbed later in the second before the Jets selected Jimmy Lodge (a favourite of mine) and overager JC Lipon in the third round. With their 4th round selections, Winnipeg grabbed the good friend of Jacob Trouba (2012 1st Rd Jets’ selection) in Andrew Copp and a responsible defenseman in Jan Korastelek (a player I had ranked in my top 60). Winnipeg wrapped up their draft by selecting three defensemen in Tucker Poolman, Brendan Kichton and Marcus Karlstrom. Kichton was left unsigned by the Islanders and re-entered the draft. He is a high scoring offensive defenseman.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets – Jarmo Kekalainen performed excellent in his first draft as the Blue Jackets’ General Manager. Selecting Alexander Wennberg (14th), Kerby Rychel (19th), and Marko Dano (27th) in the 1st round gives Columbus three different prospects. Wennberg is a skilled two-way forward, Rychel is a natural sniper with size and Marko Dano is a quick skating tenacious forechecker. In the second round, Dillon Heatherington (50th) was an excellent addition to the blue line as he will bring a stabilizing presence and suffocate the opposition. I was shocked that Oliver Bjorkstrand was available for their 89th pick in the third round and was good to see him finally selected. Nick Moutrey, Markus Soberg and Peter Quenneville rounded out their late round selections. If you are a Jackets fan then you have to be pleased with their 2013 NHL Draft selections.
Detroit – Loved how the Wings grabbed a second round pick by trading down from 18th to 20th with San Jose. Detroit still ended up with Mantha (20th), Zach Nastasiuk (48th; favourite of mine), Tyler Bertuzzi (58th; wildcard player), and Mitchell Wheaton (139th) to name a few.
Edmonton – The Oilers finally addressed a defensive need by selecting Darnell Nurse (7th) and then took some real chances on some intriguing prospects (a luxury they have with their depth) by selecting Marc-Olivier Roy, Bogdan Yakimov, Anton Slepyshev, Jackson Houck, Kyle Platzer, and Greg Chase. I was surprised to only see two defensemen selected by the Oilers.
Tampa Bay – The Lightning had a decent draft but I absolutely loved their Drouin selection (ballsy taking him over Seth Jones, but I do agree) and then their Adam Erne selection with the 33rd pick. Erne played with Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov in Quebec last season.
Dallas – I always seem to like the way that the Stars select and Jim Nill didn’t disappoint under his new position. Nichushkin was gift wrapped for Dallas at 10th, Jason Dickinson (who I pegged in my mock…albeit at a later pick) was a good gamble pick at 29th and then Nill grabbed Remi Elie, a player I was touting back during the London Knights training camp. Elie was certainly a surprise going at the 40th position. Desrosiers, one of my favourite netminders, was grabbed with the 54th pick and then Dallas made some solid selections in Hansson and Nick Paul.
I will be back with more thoughts in a day or two so don’t feel left out if your team wasn’t discussed. There is a lot to digest from this draft and it will take a while.
Kudos for the Devils having a nice touching moment at the end of the draft by having goaltender Marty Brodeur select his son Anthony, also a goaltender, with the 208th pick in the draft. Pretty surreal feeling for Anthony.
Thumbs up to the Florida Panthers for selecting Christopher Clapperton, one of the coolest hockey names I have ever came across.
Thanks for reading,