OTTAWA – A ton of trades stole the Stamkos show in Friday’s first round and a lot of this year’s opening round winners added upgrades that will help them win right away.
So who were the biggest winners?
Montreal: Far and away the biggest winner and Ken Campbell will attest to that. Adding a scorer in Alex Tanguay and the right to negotiate with Mats Sundin, this team just needed a nudge to contend and they gave themselves a full-on bodycheck.
Phoenix: Yes they left themselves a little thin on defense, but they acquired a leader in Olli Jokinen – at a bargain price – who is a proven scorer and just as hungry to make the playoffs as all of the inexperienced youngsters the Yotes possess. Not to mention drafting two scorers into the coffers.
Nashville: Got a big, solid center, which are so important to success in the NHL today, with their first pick and then, mere hours after dealing goalie Chris Mason to St. Louis, made Chet Pickard the first goalie picked in the draft.
Los Angeles: In a few years, no one will want to face Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Thomas Hickey and Colten Teubert with Jonathan Bernier holding down the fort.
And now, the sad sacks.
Florida: How do you not get a first-rounder when dealing away your biggest asset on draft day? Especially after the Roberto Luongo fiasco? This team continues to be a mess.
New York Rangers: Not to take anything away from Michael Del Zotto, who is a fine first-round selection for a team in need of an offensive defenseman, but, as Ryan Kennedy points out, the Rangers already have Bobby Sanguinetti to do the same job. A Tedenby, Nemisz or Gustafsson would have been the wise choice.
New York Islanders: Twice traded down and didn’t get anything of great significance in return. Passing up the likes of Filatov, Boedker, Wilson could come back to haunt them. Better make those other picks count.
All-in-all, it was one of the most thrilling first rounds the league has ever seen.
The Hockey News will cover the NHL Entry Draft from all angles with live coverage and up-to-the-minute pick-by-pick updates on both June 20 and 21 in our Draft Central.
Rory Boylen is THN.com’s web content specialist. His blog appears Thursdays.
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