Sunday, June 30, 2013

NHL Entry Draft 2013 Recap

Credit: NHL
Hosting the National Hockey League has become the try-outs to give the best impressions on the NHL selection committee to host a future All-Star game. But the marvelous weekend that has become the NHL Player Entry draft has become an event in and of itself. I've seen it first hand when it was here in Pittsburgh. The Prudential Center, in downtown Newark, NJ, had the unique flavor of the Devils fans and Jersey experience. They had a giant cake effigy of Martin Brodeur.

TSN took care of all the footage as the NBCSN in America just syndicated their feed. Why bother having it on NBC if they're just going to have someone else's talent on it?

Leading up to the draft, the Colorado Avalanche had time to think about the new direction they were going. They had a new front office with Avs legends Sakic and Roy. Were they going to make the new #1 selection by keeping it in the state by selecting Seth Jones knowing he would want to be an Avalanche. When the Avs won the earlier draft lottery, many fans felt as if the draft was fixed in the Jones' family's favor. But as the draft start time crept near, it was learned that Sakic and the gang actually coveted another prospect.

Nathan MacKinnon, of the Halifax Mooseheads and recent hero of the Memorial Cup, is a tall centerman that looks to be in the same Joe Sakic style. But instead of comparisons to the legacy hall of fame center, MacKinnon was immediately compared to Sid Crosby because he comes from the same Cole Harbor and studied at Shattuck-St. Mary's prep in Minnesota (much to the ire of many Crosby-haters in attendance.)

Listening to the TSN analysts in shock and disappointment believing that their #1 Seth Jones was passed over not once, but three times - finally going 4th overall to the Nashville Predators. His dad, Popeye Jones, was born and raised in Tennessee - so at least the family can show poetic justice.

Here is how the first 5 picks in the draft went:

  1. Nathan MaKinnon - Avalanche
  2. Aleksander Barkov - Panthers
  3. Jonathan Drouin - Lightning
  4. Seth Jones - Predators
  5. Elias Lindholm - Hurricanes

How many former Stanley Cups champions are among those teams? I count 4. It just goes to show you that the League can get cyclical.

There were some trades that went on, but not quite enough as to what was expected in preparation to the July 5th FA Frenzy. But the biggest shocking deal made on the draft floor was felt like the spur-of-the-moment decision to send hot prospect goaltender Cory Schneider to the host New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider, was one of the goaltenders involved in the Vancouver Canuck goalie controversy where Roberto Luongo and his long term expensive contract wore out his welcome.

Cal Clutterbuck, a Minnesota Wild favorite, was dealt to the New York Islanders for Neno Niederreter. I'd call this a very fair deal. What do you think?

My hometown Penguins traded Tyler Kennedy to the San Jose Sharks to move up to the second round where they previously had no selection.

Lastly, the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up the Chicago Blackhawks intimidating center and Stanley Cup hero Dave Bolland.

In a final note, the NHL decided that it would be fitting that one of the last picks in the draft, Marty Brodeur in host team city New Jersey can draft his son to the New Jersey Devils. It's charming on one side, but nepotism on the other. What would an undrafted player say that Brodeur's son got taken over him?
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