Monday, June 25, 2012

Reviewing The Draft

The 2012 NHL Draft was this past weekend. There weren't many surprises with Edmonton again opting for a forward over a defenseman. They couldn't pass up No.1 rated Russian Nail Yakupov, who joins an already stacked lineup that features Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky and Magnus Paajarvi. The Oilers do have a couple of young blueliners in Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry but still lack a true No.1.

With all the talk surrounding Rick Nash, even GM Scott Howson couldn't screw up the second pick tabbing defenseman Ryan Murray, who should bolster the Blue Jackets back end. However, most discussion has centered around Garth Snow's ridiculous proposal in which he offered every Islander draft pick including their No.4 for the second overall. Snow has done some crazy things before moving up three different times to take Calvin de Haan in '09. To this day, he's yet to debut but is expected to be ready for '12-13. Instead, Snow went strictly D, selecting seven altogether including No.1 pick Griffin Reinhart. With the acquisition of vet Lubomir Visnovsky from Anaheim in exchange for a 2013 second rounder, Snow is loading the deck. The Islanders will lose P.A. Parenteau to free agency and must find a replacement. Whether it's a bargain basement type or via a trade, they need help for John Tavares. Expect Nino Neiderreiter to have a bigger role while the organization keeps a close eye on Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson.

Round  No.         Player           
1         4       Griffin Reinhart
2         34     Ville Pokka
3         65     Adam Pelech
4         103   Loic Leduc
5         125   Doyle Somerby
6         155   Jesse Graham
7         185   Jake Bischoff

Here's a look at the Top 10:

1.Nail Yakupov  Edm   RW   Rus
2.Ryan Murray  CBJ    D      Can
3.Alex Galchenyuk Mtl C      USA
4.Griffin Reinhart  NYI D      Can
5.Morgan Rielly    Tor  D      Can
6.Hampus Lindholm Ana D    Swe
7.Matthew Dumba   Min D    Can
8.Derrick Pouliot     Pit   D    Can
9.Jacob Trouba       Wpg D   USA
10.Slaeter Koekkok  TBL D   Can

Note: Eight of the top 10 are defensemen.

Interestingly enough, Filip Forsberg fell to Washington at No.11 and Buffalo took a calculated risk selecting Russian playmaker Mikhail Grigorenko. Both could be steals. Grigorenko slipped due to injury and attitude. There's also the question of when he'll come over. The harsh reality of the KHL influence and why we're seeing less and less Russians. The Caps are still waiting on '10 top pick Evgeny Kuznetsov. Ironically, Grigorenko wants to wear former Sabre great Alexander Mogilny's No.89. That can be seen as positive for a team that also grabbed forward Zemgus Girgensons with their second pick of the first round (14th). Here's the complete Buffalo list that includes possible second round gem Jake McCabe:

Round No.  Pos         Player             

1        12    RW   Mikhail Grigorenko
1        14    F      Zemgus Gergensons
2        44    D     Jake McCabe
3        73    C      Justin Kea
5       133    C      Logan Nelson
6       163    G      Linus Ullmark
7       193    D      Brady Austin
7       204    RW   Judd Peterson

The biggest story of the Draft was the Pens dealing Jordan Staal to the Hurricanes where he'll team with big brother Eric and Jeff Skinner to form a dynamic trio. That should certainly improve Carolina in a winnable division. Jim Rutherford did pay a nice price to Ray Shero, parting with checking center Brandon Sutter, prospect Brian Dumoulin and the Canes' eighth overall pick that saw Pittsburgh take the Portland Winterhawks Derrick Pouliot. A defenseman who will be a big part of their future. Sutter is a solid replacement for Staal, who turned down a reported 10-year $60 million offer. The Pens were never gonna be able to keep both Staal and Sidney Crosby. At least they tried. Shero wasn't done unloading vet blueliner Zbynek Michalek back to Phoenix for Harrison Rupp and the No.81 selection, taking goalie Marc Chevrie. He's also looking for anyone to take Paul Martin, who's signed through '14-15 at $5 million a pop. Good luck with that. It all translates to the Penguins freeing up a ton of space, which could signal a big push for Devil captain Zach Parise. I can't imagine him signing there. It'd be almost as bad as crossing the Hudson to play for us. I'm sure Hasan has his own thoughts.

While Devil fans hold their breath with Parise hitting the open market in six days, they can take solace in Lou Lamoriello's first round choice. When I received two texts simultaneously including one from Buffalo resident Brian Sanborn, I knew it was bad. That they actually took Stefan Matteau at No.29 just blew my mind. Remember. The Rangers picked right before, tabbing defenseman Brady Skjei. I was floored. It's not so much that Skjei won't be good but the feeling is that we have enough D. Oddly, he and Matteau both played for the US National Team. Now, they'll be battling each other in the future. Addmittedly, I like Matteau who sounds like the kind of big, physical forward we lack. Kinda sounds similar to Dad Stephane Matteau, who the Devils never have to hear about again. It just seems like a cruel joke. I kinda lost it in a text to buddy Rob Davis, saying something to the effect of 'I hate your team. Why can't they just die?' Of course, it was tongue in cheek. Lamoriello was pleased with a draft that also included possible steal Damon Severson, who he didn't expect to be there at No.60. What else is new? Here are the Devil selections:

Round  No.          Pos           Player         
1         29             F     Stefan Matteau
2         60             D     Damon Severson
3         90             LW   Ben Johnson
4         96             LW   Ben Thomson
5        135            C      Graham Black
5        150            C      Alexander Kerfoot
6        180            C      Artur Gavrus

For the Rangers, it was a quiet weekend due to only four picks including aforementioned Skjei, who sounds very excited to be part of our team. He's already on Twitter and can be followed.I sent him a welcome tweet yesterday. Hope the kid pans out. Though I wonder what it means. Is Glen Sather gonna deal? He keeps mentioning how he doesn't want to break up the core, including Brandon Dubinsky and Mike Del Zotto, who celebrated a birthday while Dubi got married. At least he stayed put unlike Staal, who was traded on his wedding day. The Blueshirts qualified Anton Stralman, who may or may not return. Either way, they maybe in the market for a D. The cost for Keith Yandle is too much. Of course, Slats going public could be a way of bargaining with Don Maloney. He also indicated that they might not be able to re-sign Brandon Prust, who seems intent on July 1. I'll have more on this tomorrow. They're expected to be in on former Anaheim No.1 Justin Schultz, who will also be chased by rival Philadelphia. Speaking of the Flyers, they swapped James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn. A bit perplexing. I just love JVR. Schenn is physical and can aid their D. If JVR gets it, watch out. All indications are that Sather wants to sign players. Does he really think Parise meant what he said or is the plan to go for a vet like Ray Whitney? You never know. The Blueshirts did well to land Cristoval "Boo" Nieves in Round Two at No.59. He expected them to take him. Here's a short list that includes former Black Ace Peter Andersson's son:


Round     Pick      Pos              Player               
1            28          D             Jared Skjei
2            59          F           Cristoval Nieves
4            119        D           Calle Andersson
5            142       RW         Thomas Spelling

Draft Note: The Rangers moved their third round pick to Nashville for their 2013 third round pick.

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