Here’s how you can tell you’re at the NHL Draft: the wireless internet doesn’t work. Never does.
So rather than update the blog as things occur here on the draft floor, all I can do is write about them as they happen, then go back to the hotel and post this after you’ve all gone to sleep.
I figured there would be some trades this year’s and so far there have been a couple of good ones. I can’t believe the utter lack of value the Panthers got back for Olli Jokinen. To me, he’s a legit first line center. I like Keith Ballard a lot, but Nick Boynton was on waivers less than a year ago, and his lack of mobility is an issue. The Coyotes had the No. 8 overall pick and four more choices in the second round. And the best they could do was get the 49th. I’m not impressed.
Calgary finally moves Alex Tanguay; he goes to the Canadiens. And Brian Burke moves down, getting the No. 17 and No. 28 picks from the crosstown Kings for the No. 12. Los Angeles’ rebuild should get a jump start with two picks in the top dozen. That deal is a three-way swap that also sends center Mike Cammalleri to the Flames.
Stamkos to the Lightning. Doughty to the Kings. No surprises there. Bogosian to Atlanta. Pietrangelo to the Blues. Now the word from back here is that Toronto has moved up to take the No. 5 from the Isles. Sounds like Luke Schenn will be the pick, but we’ll see.
Pick No. 5 goes to the Leafs for pick No. 7 and at the Isles’ option, some other confusing stuff. My first thought is that it’s a lot to pay to move up two spots. Second thought is they really like Schenn. If that’s who they’re taking. It is.
Columbus makes a deal, getting R.J. Umberger from the Flyers for the 19th pick and exchanging a third for a fourth as well. Talking to Corey Masisak down by the rail, he thinks the Flyers are laying for a goalie at 19. Makes a lot of sense. We’ll see.
The Jackets keep the sixth pick and use it to take Nikita Filatov. I figured the Isles wanted him, and figured they could drop back to No. 7 and still get him. Nope, Columbus had other ideas. Now I’m thinking the Isles might drop back again.
The Isles do drop back, to No. 9. They make a deal with Nashville, which takes Colin Wilson. The Fishermen have accumulated three extra picks by dropping back four slots. They should still get a decent player, so that’s not bad.
Phoenix takes Mikkel Boedker at No. 8, and he supplants Lars Eller (13th overall to St. Louis in 2007) as the highest drafted Denmark native ever. Kind of thought the Yotes might grab a defenseman after having dealt away two of them, but you have to take the best player in the NHL Draft and I’m sure the Coyotes would tell you they did that.
Finally, the Islanders. They take Josh Bailey at No. 9. That’s four straight forwards in this, the Year of the Defenseman.
Vancouver is next. I wonder if they can move this pick for a forward. Or if they’ll take a forward. I’m thinking Tyler Myers has to go soon, like in the next couple of picks.
The Canucks take Cody Hodgson and then the Hawks take Kyle Beach. I really thought the Hawks would take Myers, given all the forwards they’ve taken the last few years. But it wasn’t too much of a surprise, because you could tell that Dale Tallon also really liked Beach.
The Kings convince Buffalo that they’re going to take the Sabres’ guy at 12, so the Sabres give L.A. a third next year to move from 13 to 12. They take Myers, ending a run of six straight forwards. The Kings pocket the pick and take Colten Teubert. Los Angeles has now plucked Doughty and Teubert, which ain’t too bad.
The Canes are up at 14 and they go with Zach Boychuk, one of the many small but skilled forwards in this draft. Nashville is up again now. I wonder if they might make a deal to move back, having already gotten their guy Wilson at No. 7.
Sure enough, the Preds get a third in ’09 to drop back to 18, and Ottawa makes the home folks happy by moving up. It’s always invigorating when the host team makes a splash at the draft, and the fans are really juiced. They seem to like the pick, too; it’s Swedish defenseman Erik Karlsson. With the selection of Karlsson, seven picks in the first half of the first round are defensemen.
Boston is up now. The B’s take Joe Colborne, the Jr. A kid who is bound for Denver University in the fall. I think this is the third straight year that a Denver U. kid has gone in the first round, but I’ll try to verify that with the INCH guys later.
Anaheim takes Jake Gardiner, the Minnesota high school kid. Nashville is up, and Corey thinks they might go with a goalie. They do. Chet Pickard is a Predator. As I wrote yesterday, I talked to someone whose opinion I very much respect who told me he likes Pickard better than Carey Price.
Does Philly take a goalie or do they move back? With the No. 19 pick, the Flyers take Luca Sbisa, the ninth defenseman to go in the first round.
The Rangers take defenseman No. 10 when they grab Michael Del Zotto, a guy whose stick fell a bit from early in the season. It’s just New Jersey and Edmonton now before the Caps finally pick at 23. Funny how last year the Caps were one pick in front of the Oilers and this year the shoe is on the other foot.
By the way, I have yet to find anyone who can offer even a mild defense of Florida’s Jokinen deal. I can’t believe no other club made a better offer.
The Caps have moved one of their seconds to move up to 21. Don’t play poker with George McPhee. The Caps have taken Anton Gustafsson, son of former Caps great Bengt Gustafsson. It’s a terrific story.
We’ve just come back from the scrum with Anton and his dad, and in the meantime Jordon Eberle went to Edmonton, New Jersey dropped back again so Minnesota could take Tyler Cuma. New Jersey grabbed Mattias Tedenby at No. 24 and Calgary used the pick it got in the Tanguay deal to select Greg Nemisz.
Not too many long reaches at all, or so it seems to me. This draft has gone pretty close to what most folks figured thus far, although there certainly has been a hell of a lot of movement.
Buffalo goes with Tyler Ennis at 26, and we learn that the Caps have made another deal. Washington swaps Steve Eminger and a third (the No. 84 pick) to Philly for the No. 27. I’m happy for Emmy. He was a good soldier here this season and he deserves a shot somewhere. I still believe he goes on to have a solid career in the league.
Now the question is, which player has prompted the Caps to make this deal?
It’s John Carlson, the defenseman from the Indiana Ice of the USHL who had committed to U-Mass, but reversed field and will play for Dale Hunter’s London Knights in the OHL next season instead.
Phoenix makes a deal to move into the 28 spot, and they go for the bloodlines with Viktor Tikhonov. Atlanta takes the small but speedy Daultan Leveille, and Detroit closes out the round by taking goaltender Thomas McCollum, the second netminder to go.
I had figured that 14-16 defensemen could go in the first, but it turned out to be a dozen. The Caps grabbed a center and a defenseman, making at least two picks in the first round for the fifth time in the last seven years.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, the Caps have two late second-rounders (Nos. 57 and 58), a fourth (No. 93), a fifth (No. 144) a sixth (No. 174) and a seventh (No. 204).
What a first round. So many picks changed hands, and a handful of established players moved on. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. I’m not banking on internet connectivity.