24 April, 2014


Morning After Draft Reflections

In a draft heavy on talented rearguards, four of the first five selections¬†were on the blueline, and 12 went among the top 30 overall. I’m at pains to identify a real reach anywhere in round one. Certainly there were no Blake Wheeler brain-dead picks. A lot of teams helped their systems last night.
Although . . . not so much in Pittsburgh.
There were¬†more than a dozen¬†trades during round one last night, which added serious spice to the evening drama. Olli Jokinen moved out of the Southeast (for a song). The Flames moved Alex Tanguay and his 18 goals and $5 million contract to Montreal for the Habs’ first rounder.¬†The Kings¬†shipped Mike Cammallerie to Calgary for a first. And of course the Caps parted ways with Steve Eminger.¬†¬†¬†
It’s a metaphysical certitude that a fair and sober and accurate evaluation of any draft requires 3-5 years’ time as picks mature from teenage prospects into young men mentored by NHL¬†organizations, and so necessarily it’s important to weigh in — with vigorous and unyielding certainty –¬†on who won and who lost last night, less than 12 hours after the 30th pick was made.
My winners: Chicago, Phoenix (highway robbery of Florida), Nashville, the Rangers, LA, Tampa, and the Caps.
Losers: the New York Islanders (there’s a stunner).
The Isles’ behavior last night can only be described as bizarre. They have a roster craving impact players, and perched at no. 5, they were poised to land one. Filatov, for instance, was on the board. So was Schenn. So what does the Snow-Wang braintrust do? They trade down. Not once, but twice!¬†Where at no. 9 they land¬†non-impact prospect Josh Bailey.
“The consensus is that [Bailey] won’t be a big offensive producer in the NHL,” THN wrote in its Entry Draft preview issue. Just what the Isles needed. I think the Blue Jackets stunned Snow with their selection of Filatov at no. 6, meaning, necessarily, that the Isles weren’t well prepared for the moment. There’s something new.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
Keep an eye on Nashville’s selection at 18, goaltender Chet Pickard. Mike Vogel chatted up a scouting source in Ottawa who suggested that Pickard is more impressive now than was Carey Price in his draft year. Wow.
Consensus seems to be that the Rangers got great value in selecting Michael Del Zotto at 20.
If there was one moderate reach in round one it might have been the Bs choosing Joe Colborne at no. 16.¬†Colborne played Jr. A the past two seasons. He’s a tantalizing package of a big frame, strong skating, and soft hands, but NHL scouts commonly show restraint with prospects who aren’t competing at the highest level among their peers. Colborne will skate next season with Denver of the WCHA, so he’ll get as good a test of his abilities there as he could anywhere.
Earlier this week, via the CapsReport, I put to draft guru Kyle Woodlief a question about an American prospect surge late this spring, noting that whereas throughout much of the hockey season most scouting services had just two or three Americans going in round one, finals lists commonly had 4-6 Yanks there. He poo-poo-ed the notion, suggesting that about three Americans remained likelys for the first. Well, six Americans went among the first 30 players drafted, further bolstering the claims of a renaissance in U.S. hockey development.
I just have this hunch that Hawks’ fans will come to love Dale Tallon’s pick of Kyle Beach at no. 11. He’s a big-bodied, piss-n-vinegar prospect.
For Caps’ fans, leaving a strong draft with two first-round picks has to be considered both a pleasant surprise and a real boon to an already strong stable of youth. If I’m a hockey fan in Hershey this morning I’m calling the ticket office and inquiring about season tickets for the next couple of seasons. In the Washington hockey bloggers’¬†real-time chat I¬†joined last night I observed to the room how cool it will be to see the name Gustafsson on the back of red, white, and blue Caps’ sweaters, and not out of nostalgia.¬†¬†¬†
I want to commend the Friday night puck party sensibilities of the well over 500 puckheads who joined JP, Eric, Peerless, and OFB in our consolidated live blog forum for more than four hours last night. Apparently, in late June, Washington isn’t much of a hockey town.
It was, from my vantage, everything that new media can offer as a rewarding experience¬†in being connected with like-minded lovers of hockey on a big night. It didn’t hurt that we were gathered on a Friday night. Kudos to JP for¬†bringing forward¬†the idea late in the day yesterday, and to Eric for carrying off the last-minute technology so smoothly. By evening’s end a whole lot of us¬†were united in the belief that we have to do it again.¬†We were also united in the belief that JP needs help with his refrigerator’s selection of puck sodas. ¬†¬†



7 Comments

  1. Walt wrote:

    I enjoyed watching the Entry Draft. Very interesting all the trades.
    You have to wonder why teams aren’t ready. They know this is coming and they should be ready!
    Lots of fun.
    I like the term puck soda. It’s like Frosty Adult Beverage.

    21 June, 2008 at 11:06 am | Permalink
  2. SovSport wrote:

    Doing it again is a given. July 1?

    21 June, 2008 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  3. Kim wrote:

    Please, July 1st. Just be sure and get JP some Guinness or other acceptable beverage. (She says while sipping her Bud Light).
    Think I will start with Sam Adams Black Lager, then Guinness, and then may resort to hard liquor depending on how it goes. So when will things get rolling on July 1st? Do things happen right away or is there a certain time that all the action begins?
    [admin edit: administrator had to correct the spelling if Guinness, we are obsessive-compulsive about some things.]

    21 June, 2008 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
  4. Blackaces wrote:

    The Penguins’ minor league system is going to suffer? Huzzah! Rejoice!

    22 June, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  5. Lisa wrote:

    I was one of those 500 so let’s not make it if, but when the next live blog will be.
    Since I’m full of demands, more information/analysis on the players selected by the Caps, especially after the 1st Round, would be great. They’re still babies and much isn’t known about how they’ll develop but we need something to sustain us over this long, hot, hockey-less summer. I probably need to get a life but I can’t help but be intrigued, even about players we might never see in the NHL.
    Finally, thanks to everyone for your great work on Friday night. I could have posted this on any number of sites including Japers’, Peerless, etc. but I just happened to be here so when I say “everyone”, I really mean it. Not sure how you find the time, but we really appreciate everything you do to keep us updated on the Caps and other things hockey.
    P.S. I highly recommend Harp or Chimay, both a bit pricey but like a lot of things, including Mike Green, worth it.

    22 June, 2008 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  6. ThunderWeenie wrote:

    I recommend Steam Whistle pilsner–great stuff, though it is hard to find outside the Toronto area. If OrderedChaos pays for my plane ticket, I’ll bring a keg or two!!!!

    23 June, 2008 at 8:44 am | Permalink
  7. Tell you what Thunderweenie: you pay for the plane ticket, I’ll buy the keg. :)

    23 June, 2008 at 11:32 am | Permalink