Reviewing the 1st Round

No big trades, no Mad Mike surprises, and the teams who I think did a very good job in the 1st round.The day started beautifully with sources reporting that the Washington Capitals would trade Jaromir Jagr to the New York Rangers for both, or either, Eric Lindros and Pavel Bure. However, nothing has happened…..yet. Rangers are looking to trade both Pavel Bure and Eric Lindros as well.

You would have also expected to see Mad Mike trade one of his defensemen. But, that didn’t happen.

Rightfully so, the Penguins did a fabulous job in acquiring the 1st overall pick from the Florida Panthers. Penguins traded a young solid 3rd line two-way winger in Mikael Samuelsson (hey, Kovalev trade worked out well, neh?) and the 3rd overall for Florida’s 1st. A good and trade fair, although i think Florida gets the miniuture edge since the trade basically went Nathan Horton and Mikael Samuelsson for Staal. At that moment, the Panthers acquiring Nathan Horton did not make much sense to me. A power forward playing on a European-like team? How will he develop well where the majority of the players are European? That’s why it did not make much sense to me. However, Panthers GM Dudley made a trade that turns things even better for their future. Trading later picks for the one that drafted Anthony Stewart. Horton and Stewart show signs that GM Dudley is heading a different direction with the Panthers. Superb job by the Florida Panthers.

The Penguins got Marc-Andre Fleury. Appears to have a great attitude, and the Penguins need that type. He barely has any competition in training camp so do not be surprised at all if he gets to play 8 or 9 NHL regular season games (max a rookie can play to then be sent down to juniors ). We’re reaching an era where the great goalies we know of are fading away and leaving the hockey world. Teams need to bring in their goalies of the future. Good job by the Penguins in drafting one of the best.

Carolina Hurricanes did good in drafting Staal, he will step right in next season since they have a weak center line and not much offense to show up for. Staal will be the Carolina Hurricanes’ franchise player for years to come. The right player to make a difference for this club.

I am glad to see the Buffalo Sabres picking Thomas Vanek, the Austrian….yah? He is exactly what they needed, an impact forward with size, motivation, and the major skills to score the big goals. A power forward with some Jagr-ish style, awesome pick for the Sabres.

The three top defensemen got picked in a row by the Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers, and Calgry Flames. Ryan Suter will be Nashville’s top defenseman, probably their franchise defenseman, in the next years, and he will be a fan favorite in the Music City. Braydon Coburn is the smooth skater that works well at both ends of the ice, and he may end up making the Thrashers line up. Not much competition to deal with. Dio Phaneuf, my favorite, got picked by the Calgary Flames. At that point, I expected the Flames to draft Zach Parise, who surprised a lot of people when he got picked 17th overall. The Flames future defense will be tops, especially if they can get the right goalie in nets. Phaneuf fits perfectly with the Flames and the Western Conference.

All three teams deserve a ton of credit for choosing the best players available, and coincidently all three happened to be defensemen.

This one shocked me big time. When the Montreal Canadiens picked a smallish one-dimensional scoring machine in Andrei Kastitsyn. I guess they want the player to make the quicker impact. Still, I am not too high on Kastitsyn….and I would have prefered to see the Canadiens drafting Jessiman or Zach Parise who is much better all-round. A question mark for the Canadiens.

The Philadelphia Flyers disappointed me a little bit when they picked Jeff Carter. He is a very good prospects, don’t get me wrong, but….I would not have picked him that high. I would have preferred to see them get Jessiman or Dustin Brown. Carter fits well in the Flyers system though, especially Hitchcock’s system. Still, nothing great, but nothing bad.

The Rangers ranked Hugh Jessiman, a big time Rangers fan, 4th on their list and picked him 12th. He is a wild card in terms of what more can he do and if he can really add more muscle weight. However, he fits in perfectly as the Rangers have drafted sizey forwards who have good work ethic and play with character.

Sharks also played a pretty big role by drafting an excellent forward in Michalek, and then making another trade to draft gigantor Steve Bernier. Sharks need to rebuild their prospect system as it is tremendously poor. Great job by GM Doug Wilson, acquiring two key prospects that will make a nice impact in their future. Expect Michalek to make the squad next season.

The Devils should be arrested for robbery, and what do you know….they don’t follow God’s rule…‘Thy shall not steal’. Well, they are the Devils so they do steal. It appears as if GM Kevyn Lowe was not a big fan of Parise, and his scouts agreed to take the offered picks to draft more ‘very good’ players. Zach Parise plays big in a sense that he creates scoring chances and he is a threat. Plays fast, works hard….shows up defensively. The announcer during the draft was shocked to see this kid get picked 17th overall, so was I. Probably, the best steal of the 1st round.

Chicago Blackhawks, or I should rather direct this to GM Mike Smith, always want to disappoint me. The best method in the 1st round Entry Draft…..you get the best player available. Seabrook will be a very solid, rugged, mean defenseman,…….however he was picked because of his position (defenseman). He could not have been the best player available, impossible! They need defensemen, and they went by addressing their needs. Hmm, Parise or Seabrook? Devils will answer that for you.

Capitals had the worst choice, Eric Fehr. He is good, but many scouts and reports expected him to go 2nd round.

Even the Minnesota Wild shocked me, a 2nd round guy picked way too early.

The Ottawa Senators also picked Patrick Eaves early, however…he is that fiesty skilled player that the Sens would rank high on their list. Nothing flashy though.

Overall, great moves by many teams, especially the ones that I pointed out. Horrible moves by a few teams….no blockbuster trades…no surprises. A peaceful draft day in Nashvile. The best teams here: Panthers, Devils, Flyers (still managed to draft two very good prospects), LA Kings (three good prospects), and the San Jose Sharks.