I could run down the entire draft. That would be annoying for me and I don’t think any of you have that much time to sit and weed through what you actually want to read. So I will try and just write up on 5 teams that I thought did a great job this weekend today and tomorrow I will write about 5 teams that I thought did a poor job this weekend. These are not in any particular order, so let’s get this going with the teams I liked.
Montreal – I think the Habs have topped everyone’s list as liking what they did this weekend. They got that big 1st line centre that they’ve craved forever (I have now said that 8 million times this year!) But then you move to the 2nd round and they got Sebastian Collberg and Dalton Thrower. Collberg has GREAT offensive upside to be at least a 2nd line 50-60 point guy, and Thrower just adds to the great talent they already have coming on the blueline (Tinordi, Beaulieu, with Subban already on the roster). Thrower is tough as nails and will play in the NHL. They got amazing value with Tim Bozon in the 3rd, Charles Hudon in the 5th (both are very talented), and Brady Vail in the 4th is yet another kid a lot of scouts liked to be a good 2 way centre down the line. They knocked it out of the park this weekend.
Nashville – They didn’t have a 1st round pick, yet they walk out of the 2nd round with 2 kids that easily could have been 1st round picks. Of course they got Colten Sissons….they ALWAYS get these kind of players. He will play in the league, maybe only as an effective 3rd line guy but none the less. Pontus Aberg should be just a real nice, reliable 2nd line winger. Then they get Portland Winterhawk Brendan Leipsic who is undersized but has BIG talent and was a huge contributer to their run to game 7 of the WHL finals. Mix in with those 3 Zach Stepan who was good value where they got him and 2 big raw swedish kids in the 6th round who I won’t pretend to know anything about but the Preds have had good success with those types of picks.
Winnipeg – Loved the Trouba pick as I’ve already said in other blogs, but then they took Lukas Sutter who will at worse be a 4th line centre that can win draws, be hard on the forecheck and plays with a ton of grit (so…he’s a Sutter). Then Scott Kosmachuck was great value in the 3rd round. Probably will be a 3rd line guy who much like Sutter is tough, has a great compete level and drives the net hard. I won’t pretend to know anything about 5th round pick Connor Hellebuyck, but I’m a big believer in taking a goaltender late in every draft because you don’t know how goaltenders will pan out. Then Ryan Olsen in the 6th and this kid was very underwhelming this season but if he ever figures it out he has a lot of skill and at nearly 6’3, 190 and a RH shot he could be a total steal. Some of you may recall a game on Friday Night Hockey this season on Sportsnet where he sniped a gorgeous goal that was on a lot of highlight reels.
Dallas – I think the Stars killed this draft. Value with just about every pick starting with Radek Faksa falling to 13. Then Ludvig Bystrom at 43 who was another guy that could have been a 1st round pick and this team needed D-men. Really love Mike Winther of P.A. late in the 2nd round. He had consistency issues this season but could be a poor man’s Mike Richards, has a lot of talent and grit. Don’t know anything about Esa Lindell in the 3rd round but again addressing their lack of depth on the blueline with a 6’3 Fin that has yet to fill out. Great value with Gemel Smith in the 4th, Brandon Troock in the 5th, and again taking a goaltending late each draft I love and they took Henri Kiviaho whom again I don’t know anything about.
Washington – You know I more so tried to focus on rounds 2-7 in this piece, but you can’t ignore the job George McPhee did in round one. 2 big power forwards for a team that lacks grit, especially in their top 6. 2 different power forwards, Forsberg (who was 1 of the 3 flat out steals of the 1st round) isn’t the bruiser obviously that Wilson is, but none the less. Then they picked up Chandler Stephenson in the 3rd round, great value with that pick the kid has great wheels. I won’t pretend to know some of the projects they got in the middle rounds, but they snagged a kid named Jaynen Rissling from the Calgary Hitmen in the 7th round. I remember reading that he had a great end to his 2011 campaign and there was a belief by some that he could emerge as a 1st round pick before it was all said and done. Well it’s all said and done and he was picked in the 7th but the kid skates pretty well and has a big frame so as far as 7th round picks go I would say that’s a pretty good one by the Caps.
And once again tomorrow I will run down (perhaps literally) the teams whose drafts I wasn’t a big fan of. I mean who knows how this will all shake down in 5-10 years time but it might be fun to look back and see how wrong I was!
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