MONTREAL – There were no real surprises during Round 1, except maybe the dearth of big-ticket trades that were at the center of attention in the days leading up to the selection process.
The Islanders, Tampa Bay, Colorado, Atlanta and Los Angeles have to be sleeping well tonight with the knowledge they got the player they wanted and were expecting to be there all along. After the fifth pick, though, mock drafts were busted with players like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Nazem Kadri and Scott Glennie going earlier than anticipated, while Jordan Schroeder and John Moore were the talk of our table for how far they fell.
So which teams came out on top? One thing is for sure, it was tough to pick out a real loser today as a bunch of teams manipulated their way around the order to best help themselves. However, there was one team whose fan base has to be a little disappointed with the lack of activity.
New York Islanders: When you select the consensus No. 1 – a sniper who broke Wayne Gretzky’s Ontario League record for goals in a junior career – that’s enough to label a team as a “winner.” But the Islanders didn’t just sit back and think about the future.
One of the most active teams Friday night, the Isles twice traded away pieces of its deep set of 2009 draft picks to move up in the round, ultimately settling on the No. 12 pick to add offensive defenseman – and former teammate of John Tavares’ in Oshawa this year – Calvin de Haan.
Already with a solid core of promising youth, the Isles have given the city a reason to give the go ahead for a new arena, where, perhaps, the glory years can be recaptured.
Anaheim: Well, at least one of the hot rumors came true. With Scott Niedermayer committed to return, the Ducks moved out Chris Pronger, who has one year remaining on his deal. For the second time, Pronger was dealt for Joffrey Lupul, who has been the subject of trade rumors out of Philly for more than a year now.
The Ducks added a good, young secondary scorer who will compliment their current stash of budding stars Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan nicely. The addition of Luca Sbisa, a mid-first round pick in last year’s draft with nearly 40 games of NHL experience already is a suitable long-term replacement for Pronger on the blueline, and the selections of Peter Holland and Kyle Palmieri are great additions to what is becoming a dauntingly deep forward unit.
As it works out, the Flyers basically have dealt three consecutive first round selections to the Ducks, plus Lupul, for a 34-year-old defenseman with one year left on his deal. Not that Philly was a loser in this trade – it’s almost assured they’ll sign Pronger for a few more years – but the Ducks came out smelling like roses.
Columbus: Taking a page out of the New York Islanders book, the Jackets stockpiled on second and late-rounders to move down a little in the first round. They could afford to make a move like that because of all the strong prospects they have stepping into the NHL right now: Derrick Brassard, Nikita Filatov, Kris Russell, Jakub Voracek and, of course, Steve Mason to name a few.
Further, their first trade set up a later trade to move up a few spots to take John Moore – ranked 16th by International Scouting Services – 21st overall. Moore, who has a very projectable 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame, skates like the wind and is, or is at least among, the very best skaters in the draft – perfect in the NHL and perfect for a team with such a decrepit power play.
Toronto: Yes, they’re Toronto, so any rumors are magnified 10-fold, but with GM Brian Burke’s history of draft day magic and the big game he was talking leading up to today, it must be disappointing to Leaf fans they stood pat at No. 7.
Nazem Kadri is a player, but he’s not without questions and the Toronto rebuild continues to move along at a snail’s pace. The rest of the summer will definitely be interesting to watch, but as far as Day 1 of the entry draft goes, Toronto came out a little flat.
From the road in Montreal, host Ken Campbell, writer Ryan Kennedy and web content specialist Rory Boylen discuss… The Chris Pronger trade… The players that went higher then expected… Those who fell… And the high number of Swedes that went in the first round. Producer: Ted Cooper.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.