|The 2008 Draft was a blessing and a curse for David Carle, as he found out at the Combine that he had a serious heart abnormality which could end his career, but the Tampa Bay Lightning used the 203rd pick to select him.
Carle was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the walls of the heart that has been cited in the sudden death of young athletes.
Through his agent, Kurt Overhardt, Carle informed all 30 teams of his diagnosis and his decision to no longer play hockey.
Yet, the Tampa Bay Lightning used their final pick, No. 203, to select Carle.
"It was a selection made by our new owner, Oren Koules," said Jay Feaster, the Lightning GM. "He did some discussions with some people, but he came and asked us if we would make that pick. He said the young man worked his whole life to be in a position to be drafted today. He wanted us to make the pick and that's why we did it."
Carle likely did not know about the selection immediately, but was accepting of the news that changed the course of his life.
"It's really not the end of the world,'' Carle told the Anchorage Daily News. "I'm really quite fortunate they were able to find it.
"I've still got a long life ahead of me. I have a lot to look forward to and a lot of opportunities ahead of me.''
Carle totaled 34 assists and 45 points in 55 games this past season at Minnesota prep powerhouse Shattuck-St. Mary's, and was ranked No. 60 among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final ratings.
Abnormalities were discovered during a medical test at the NHL Scouting Combine last month in Toronto. Carle was referred for further testing, and doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota made the final diagnosis this week.
Carle had earned a scholarship to play hockey at Denver University next season, and the school said it will honor the scholarship. Denver coach George Gwozdecky said Carle would have some role with the program.
Another Conn Smythe winner -- With the final pick of the draft, No. 211, Detroit went back to the well to select high-scoring Swedish center Jesper Samuelsson, who recently signed with Timra of the Swedish Elite League.
Now, you have to know the history here to really appreciate this pick, made primarily by the Wings renowned Swedish scout, Hakan Andersson.
Nine years ago, the Red Wings, picking 210th in the draft, nabbed another high-scoring Swedish center from Timra by the name of Henrik Zetterberg. All he's turned into is a Stanley Cup champion and a Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
Andersson insists that's where the comparisons end between Samuelsson and Zetterberg, but what fun is that? Clearly you have to assume that Samuelsson will be lifting both the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Cup soon enough, right?
"I hope he is," Andersson told NHL.com while sporting a big smile. "Statistically the odds are against him. You have to say that, but Timra is the team where Zetterberg played."
According to Andersson, Samuelsson played 60-plus games in Sweden's third-highest ranked league the last two years and recorded a combined 102 points. He said hockey sense is clearly Samuelsson's best attribute.
So, let's get this straight: He's a scorer and he's intelligent and he is going to play for Timra and was picked in the seventh round by the Red Wings.
Come on. This is all a little too much, no?
"I didn't think of that. I was hoping everyone was gone when we picked," Andersson said. "He's still weak. He needs to fill out. He's 170 pounds, but the hockey sense is really good and he's a scorer."
-- Dan Rosen
Worth the wait: Indiana Ice defenseman John Carlson was forced to wait nearly four hours before he heard Washington announce his name at No. 27. Carlson was the first, and only, USHL player taken in Friday's first round. With the selection of Carlson, the USHL has now produced 20 first-round picks in the NHL Draft and has produced at least one first-round selection in each of the past seven drafts.
"I know that he was sitting and waiting very patiently and you could just see the excitement when his name was finally called late in the round," said USHL president Gino Gasparini. "The league is very excited for John and proud of what he was able to accomplish as a result of having played in the USHL." Another first-round pick from the USHL, Keith Ballard, was also part of Friday's action, being traded from Phoenix to Florida as part of the bounty that the Coyotes surrendered to land Olli Jokinen.
All told, the USHL had 10 players drafted, including Omaha's Patrick Wiercioch (No. 42, Ottawa), Lincoln's Jimmy Hayes (No. 60, Toronto), Indiana's Corey Fienhage (No. 81, Buffalo), Sioux City's Steve Quailer (No. 86, Montreal) and Chicago's Max NiCastro (No. 91, Detroit) taken before the start of the fourth round.
--Shawn P. Roarke
Family values: One of the loudest ovations heard on the second day of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft came when the Atlanta Thrashers chose Lewiston forward Danick Paquette with the third pick of the third round (No. 64).
The Paquette family is well-known in the Montreal area for its work with local youth hockey teams. That good will was inherited by Danick, who started his "Danick's Den" program in Lewiston to provide tickets for underprivileged children in the area.
In return, 100 friends and family members made the trip for Danick's big day.
After Danick's name was called, Lucien Paquette, Danick's father, was mobbed by well-wishers.
"It's his dream, from when he was a little kid," Lucien told NHL.com through an interpreter. "He's always dreamed about it. It's a dream for the parents, too. It's just like a diploma at the end of high school."
When told that the ovation for Paquette was as loud as the one given to top overall selection Steven Stamkos Friday night, Paquette laughed and said, "It's better."
|Jake Gardiner was elated to hear his name called out by Anaheim with the 17th overall selection at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and will head to the University of Wisconsin to perfect his defense.|
School's out: Jake Gardiner, a finalist for Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award as the state's high school player of the year at Minnetonka High School, was in complete awe Friday evening when he was called to the podium by the Anaheim Ducks with the No. 17 selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
For Gardiner, who'll attend the University of Wisconsin in the fall, being drafted presented a combination of shock and excitement.
"It was probably the best feeling I've ever had and, as a high school kid, I'm pretty much going nuts inside right now," Gardiner told NHL.com. "I was really surprised and my parents were so happy they started crying, so it was pretty cool. I've told Anaheim of my plans and I'll attend Wisconsin next season and play a regular shift and gain a lot of experience."
Gardiner, 6-foot-1, 173 pounds, is regarded as an exceptional puck-moving defenseman and even played forward for much of his career before making the transition to the blue line as a senior at Minnetonka.
He knows he'll have to perfect the art of playing the blue line at Wisconsin.
"The coaches at Wisconsin will make me a more well-rounded hockey player and my defensive game will improve," Gardiner said. "I'll learn the position and perfect my game because I've got the work ethic and drive to one day succeed in the NHL."
Gardiner compiled 20 goals, 48 points and a plus-41 rating in his final high school season.
--Mike G. Morreale
With the No. 8 selection, Gretzky, who received a nice ovation from the fans in attendance when he reached the podium, tabbed winger Mikkel Boedker of the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers.
"I think when you come to a draft like this, there are a lot of really good players and all the kids that went before (Boedker) are all very good and will play a long time in the NHL," Gretzky said. "But our hockey club is trying to play an up-tempo game with two guys on the puck at all times. Mikkel has tremendous speed and good size (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) and now he has an opportunity to play with the Phoenix Coyotes. He's a tremendous character guy who plays with a great deal of grit and I think he'll fit in nicely with our organization."
"We needed a tough, No. 1 center to go up against guys like (Ryan) Getzlaf, (Mike) Modano and (Joe) Thornton in our conference," Gretzky said. "We feel we gave up two very good hockey players in Boynton and Ballard, but got a tremendous asset back. We really feel like we made ourselves a better team."
Then, at No. 28, the Coyotes tabbed winger Viktor Tikhonov, who won a bronze medal with Russia at the 2008 World Junior Championships and was named best forward after recording five goals and seven points in seven games.
--Mike G. Morreale