Whether it's the Edmonton dynasty of the 1980s, the dominant Avalanche teams from their first decade in Colorado or the back-to-back Presidents' Trophy-winning Vancouver teams of today, Northwest Division clubs long have demonstrated the importance of good value at the draft to the success of a franchise.
Every team has had its ups and downs since the draft began in 1963. Here's a look at the hits (and some of the misses) for the five teams in the Northwest on Draft Day.
Best first-round pick: Al MacInnis (1981) -- When you think of MacInnis, the first thing that comes to mind is one of the great slap shots in NHL history -- he was one of the few players who made goalies shudder any time he got near the red line. But MacInnis developed from a player with just a booming shot into a well-rounded blueliner who became one of the NHL's most effective defensemen. He was dealt to St. Louis in 1994 and retired a decade later with 340 goals and 1,274 points, totals that landed him in the Hall of Fame. Few goalies were sorry to see him go.
All five Atlantic Division teams have won multiple Stanley Cups -- and though the New Jersey Devils came up two wins short of a fourth championship in franchise history this season, they proved again that good drafting is the basis of NHL success. Future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur and captain Zach Parise lead a core that mostly is homegrown, and the Devils' success at the draft table was a key to their ability to acquire Ilya Kovalchuk two years ago.
Every team has had its ups and downs since the draft began in 1963. Here's a look at the hits (and some of the misses) for the five teams in the Atlantic Division on Draft Day.
Best first-round pick: Martin Brodeur (1990) -- It seems incomprehensible now, but Brodeur wasn't the first goalie picked in his draft year (Calgary chose Trevor Kidd nine picks earlier). The Devils took Brodeur with the 20th selection and got the winningest goaltender in NHL history, as well as the backbone of three Stanley Cup winners. That's pretty good for a player who was passed over by 19 teams.
Central Division rivals Chicago and Detroit are excellent illustrations of the value of solid drafting. The Wings have been among the NHL's elite teams for the last two decades, winning four Cups in that span, while the Hawks went from down and out to elite status, including a Cup in 2010. The common denominator: Top-quality work at the NHL Draft -- for more than 20 years in the case of the Wings; for the past half-decade in the case of the Blackhawks.
Every team has had its ups and downs since the draft began in 1963. Here's a look at the hits (and some of the misses) for the five teams in the Central Division on Draft Day.
Best first-round pick: Denis Savard (1980) -- Luckily for Chicago, the Canadiens passed on Savard, a Montreal native, allowing him to fall to the Hawks at No. 3. Savard spent his first 10 seasons with Chicago, breaking the 100-point barrier five times thanks to some of the most spectacular moves ever seen on an NHL rink. He finished his career with 473 goals and 1,338 points, the vast majority of them with the Hawks.
The rest of the Northeast Division continues to chase the Boston Bruins at the head of the pack, and the first step in closing that gap may come at the 2012 NHL Draft.
For the past two years the Bruins have had the rare blessing of being an elite team while also holding top-10 picks in the draft, courtesy of the trade that sent Phil Kessel from Boston to Toronto in 2009.
The Bruins used the picks they received from Toronto in exchange for Kessel to draft center Tyler Seguin with the second pick and right wing Jared Knight with the 32nd choice in 2010, and then took defenseman Dougie Hamilton with the ninth selection overall in 2011. That infusion of young talent greatly strengthened the team's future even while the Bruins remained among the League's elite.
Tomas Hyka has learned that every cloud truly does have a silver lining.
But after the year he's had, everything is looking pretty sunny in his world right now.
In his first season in North America, the Czech-born forward had 20 goals and 44 assists in 50 games with the Gatineau Olympiques. He was third in assists among all first-year Quebec Major Junior Hockey League players, and his team-best 64 points were fifth.
NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League announced today the order of selection for the 2012 NHL Draft, set for June 22-23 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Round one will be conducted on Friday, June 22 and broadcast live by NBC Sports Network in the United States and TSN and RDS in Canada, beginning at 7 p.m., ET. Rounds two through seven will take place on Saturday, June 23, broadcast live by NHL Network throughout North America beginning at 10 a.m., ET.
4. NY Islanders
10. Tampa Bay
The Washington Capitals will be the busiest team at the 2012 NHL Draft, with a League-high 11 selections.
The 50th annual draft will be held June 22-23 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The first round will start at 7 p.m. on June 22 (NBCSN, TSN), with rounds 2-7 starting at 10 a.m. on June 23 (NHL Network).
The Caps have a pair of picks in the first round -- Colorado's at No. 11, from the Semyon Varlamov trade, and their own at No. 16. It's the fourth time since 2004 they've had multiple first-round picks.
"Only if you want to be blind, dumb and stupid," Button told NHL.com. "It would be one thing if you had this enormous talent pool (from Russia), but there's not an enormous talent pool."
Publicly, general managers and scouts are in agreement. Privately, ask any top player with Russian ties entering the 2012 draft and they'll admit there were a few questions regarding their preference of league (NHL or KHL) during the team interview sessions at the Scouting Combine.