Tuesday, July 2, 2013

2013 NHL Draft Thoughts

Wasn't the draft we were told we were getting in terms of trades, but it was still exciting nonetheless. Here are some thoughts: 
  • Wanted to start by congratulating Colorado on making the right call and drafting MacKinnon. I don’t care how many centers they have, he’s the best player in his draft class and had to go first overall. Now, if they stopped with this Ryan-O’Reilly-to-wing stuff and traded Stastny they’d really be smart.
  • I can’t believe Chicago was that hell bent on retaining Bickell, who is more or less a .5ppg player that will play on the top line with Toews and Kane. I like Bickell and think he’s a good serviceable player that is physical and adds a dynamic net presence to any team, but Chicago is tight against the cap pinching pennies so to move out a cheap good player in Frolik to accommodate paying an okay winger 4M/year seems a little odd to me. I’d be willing to bet Bickell is the next Martin Lapointe rather than, I don’t know, the next Andrew Ladd/Nathan Horton/whoever.
  • On that note, why did Cal Clutterbuck cost a very good prospect in Nino Neiderreiter, when better third line players Tyler Kennedy and Dave Bolland cost draft picks no higher than second rounders? I like Clutterbuck and think he will be a great fit on the Islanders, but that price makes no sense to me.
  • Really like San Jose trying to get deeper, first by adding Torres late during the past season and now Kennedy. GM Doug Wilson has consistently tried to play guys declining in talent or hope for the best on his bottom two lines and it hasn’t worked, so this is refreshing. Some examples include Jeremy Roenick, Scott Gomez, James Sheppard, Benn Ferriero, Ben Eager, and so on.  I don’t like Havlat, and they need to figure out what their plan with Brent Burns is, but the rest of their team is looking very, very, good. Even though they just traded Galiardi, Kennedy is better than him and Tomas Hertl is an impressive young player that I think has a solid chance at being an impact rookie next year.
  • I don’t mind Florida taking Barkov one bit. I say this every year- Centers have more of an impact than defenseman generally speaking, and clearly many weren’t positive Jones will be elite. There are very few defensemen in hockey that can actually control the pace of the game, but there are so many centers that can, because of that I actually think the Panthers took less of a risk selecting Barkov rather than Jones. Barkov’s also the youngest player ever to hit 40 points in the top Finnish league.
  • The question with Jones for me has always been if he dominates because he’s elite, or does he dominate because he has the elite raw tools. In other words, he’s big, fast and strong, and he can get by on just those three things but in the NHL you need the hockey sense too and that’s what I question here.  If you have elite tools but not the hockey sense, you’re Jack Johnson.
  • I think Columbus had a really excellent draft. Wennberg is a good center and those are hard to find, Rychel can score, and Dano has a lot of upside and was one of the best players in the WJC this year in my mind. Near point-per-game Danish winger Oliver Bjorkstrand from WHL champ Portland was a great value pick in the third round.
  • Loved Chicago taking Ryan Hartman to end the first round, too. He was the only draft eligible player on WJC champs USA this year; he’s physical, fast and has some scoring touch. Chicago has been a great landing spot for physical players with skill- players like Shaw, Brouwer, Bickell, Bolland and Ladd come to mind.
  • Winnipeg had an interesting draft considering their last few years they took guys that are big, strong, two-way players in Scheifele and Trouba early, but this year selected pure skill players in D-man Josh Morrissey and 5’9 forward Nicolas Petan, not to mention J. C Lipon in the third round. They have Evander Kane already on the team along with guys like Enstrom, Ladd, Wheeler and Bogosian, and are putting together a nice little core.
  • Also, what’s ever become of Alex Burmistrov’s trade request? Some have rumoured him going to the KHL which would be a shame. He’s already played 194 NHL games and he hasn’t even turned 22 yet. Burmistrov is excellent on the PK and in general is solid defensively, plus he’s 6’1 and will mix it up physically. Teams shouldn’t be lining up for this guy necessarily, but someone should have acquired him by now.
  • One of the more underrated things of the weekend was Dallas GM Jim Nill referring to Jamie Benn as a winger. I guess that explains their interest in Weiss and Lecavalier as I assume they would like to put one of those two guys between Benn and Eriksson, and then create a second line of Nichushkin-Whitney-Cole. 
  • Speaking of Dallas, I know everybody gives it to Joe Nieuwendyk, but in the next few years I think we’ll look back at some of his final moves and be wowed. He got Cody Eakin to give Washington one year of Mike Ribeiro, and got Kevin Connauton, a second rounder, plus Joe Morrow by giving out not even half seasons of Brendan Morrow and Derek Roy. If these guys pan out, that’s larceny.
  • Steal of the draft might be Myles Bell in the 6th round to the Devils. He was a defenseman last year in his first draft eligible season and put up 41 points in 54 games. He got into an incident I won’t get into that ensured he wouldn’t get drafted, then returned to the WHL, was moved to forward and put up 93 points in 69 games.  Ryan Kujawinski in the third round was also a great pick by the Devils, as I think his stock was hurt because he played on the perennially bad Frontenac’s.
  • I’m not a fan of Buffalo drafting Ristolainen and Zadorov with their two first round picks although I commend them for sticking to their board. The bottom line is there’s no way Buffalo went into the drafting hoping to get two defensive defensemen with their first two picks so if they were really determined to stick to their board they should have traded down from their second pick. To Buffalo’s credit, their next three picks were Compher, Hurley and Bailey, all of which are forwards with top six skills and upside. Not many teams can say they came out of this draft with five players that have legitimate possibilities of being high impact players in the league, but Buffalo can.
  • I don’t mind a team taking a chance on a guy who is 6’7 like Calgary did with Keenan Kanzig, but in the third round? At the end of the day though, this draft was all about Sean Monahan for Calgary. I think that’s going to be a franchise changing pick.
  • For all the deserved Gillis bashing going on about the whole Schneider-Luongo fiasco, I really think this will go down as his best draft as GM of the Canucks. Horvat is a stud two-way center, Shinkaruk can score, Cassels looked very good for Oshawa this year and Subban has talent. There’s a lot of upside in Vancouver’s top four picks.
  • How does San Jose justify that moving up two spots in the draft is worth a second round pick? I’ve spoken to a few people that think Micro Mueller might be the second best defenseman in this draft behind Seth Jones, and if he is it will obviously be worth it, but that’s a huge leap of faith. 
  • In trading Galiardi, San Jose also has pretty well nothing to show for trading Jamie McGinn, Mike Connolly, and Michael Sgarbossa for Daniel Winnik, a seventh, and TJ Galiardi. McGinn had a bad year but has shown he can be a great utility player that's physical and has some game, and Sgarbossa, who won the OHL scoring race in his last season, had 44 points in 57 AHL games as a rookie this year. Neither are worth just a fourth and seventh, but that's what San Jose has to show for both of them combined. 
  • At first I thought the Lecavalier trade was a joke but then I put their forwards together and it actually does make some sense, at least at forward, as I'll just assume Brayden Schenn will be moved to the wing. However, considering they are over the cap, their defense still needs work and they need a goalie. So, I'll reserve complete judgement on that deal until I see what else Holmgren does to get the team under the cap. 

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