SUTTER STANDS PAT
While the rumours -- everyone had Ottawa's Jason Spezza making a move to Cowtown -- persisted, Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter did not make a move on the first day of the NHL Entry Draft.
Not that he doesn't like making moves on the draft floor. He has made some big trades and acquisitions at the draft, including getting Jay Bouwmeester last year.
"The biggest reason we have made trades at the draft and before July 1 is that I think July 1 is the day that players get overpaid," said Sutter.
July 1, of course, is the onset of free agency in the NHL. The Flames have not been particularly active in that department with Cory Sarich and Curtis Glencross the only two free agent signings on the roster at the moment.
Sutter said, based on the first 30 picks, he feels the Flames may have a shot at some of the "middle" first round players who were not picked on Day 1.
"It's ging to be fun. We have seven picks and we will continue to work to move up if we can," said Sutter.
WAHL ATTENDS THE DRAFT
It was two years ago, in Ottawa, that Mitch Wahl, whose home is about a half hour from Los Angeles on Seal Beach, was drafted in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft.
This year he stopped by the draft as an observer.
"Draft day was a real fun experience," he recalled. "To have a team call your name is pretty special. Then you have to work towards making it in the NHL."
Wahl, a surfer, fits into the California mode.
"It's a great spot to live in the summer. There's lot of hockey in Canada in the winter but coming home to the beach and sun in the off-season is fun."
Wahl played for a fourth season in the WHL with Spokane last season, tallying 30 goals and 96 points in 72 games. He then joined the Abbotsford Heat, the Flames top affiliate, for the playoffs, tallying six points in 12 games.
HALL AN OILER
Okay Flames fans.
Get ready to see a lot of Taylor Hall. As expected the Edmonton Oilers, the Flames rival in the Battle of Alberta, was chosen first overall by the team to the north. He was actually ranked No. 2 by Central Scouting as Tyler Seguin was ranked No. 1 overall.
Seguin went second to the Boston Bruins.
The 6-foot-one, 185-pound Hall, played for the Windsor Spitfires last season but likely won't be going back. With the Oilers in rebuilding mode they will likely put Hall right into the line-up.
Here is what is being said about the young Hall, who played some minor hockey in Calgary before heading to Ontario.
Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire
“When you talk about Hall, you talk about quickness, acceleration and hands. Easily and arguably, could have actually been our No. 1 pick overall. Taylor has done it all; he's the reigning MVP of the Memorial Cup tournament and has played on two medal-winning world championship teams.”
Windsor Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner
“Taylor is a dynamic skater who is fearless when he goes to the net. He is very difficult to knock off the puck once he gets it and his hunger for the puck is special. He reminds me of Pavel Bure. Taylor’s desire to be the best is also very unique and has also contributed to his success, and made him the great player that he is.”
And Hall? Well, he is pretty happy to be an Oiler.
"Just to join such a great franchise. Hopefully I can make that team next year," he said. "That's my first step. We can really re-create some of the magic they had there. I think when you have a young team, that's something I'm really looking forward to joining."
And just what can fans expect to see from Hall?
"Well, like I said, I have to still make the team. Nothing's for sure. There are a lot of number 1’s that have gone back to junior. But I hope to be a dynamic offensive player, I like to play in the corners and knock it up, obviously get points because that's my role," he said.
HONOURING DOC SEAMAN
Darryl Sutter is one who believes the election of longtime Flames owner Doc Seaman to the Hall of Fame in the builder category is well-deserved.
Seaman, who passed away last year, was instrumental in bring the Flames to Calgary and spent plenty of time growing the game at the grassroots level.
"It's awesome, probably overdue. He doesn't get much recognition for bringing the Flames to Calgary, along with Harley (Hotchkiss). He was a big part of the Olympics coming to Calgary and a big part of the grassroots program in Canada, still, which is something the Flames Foundation for Life does." said Sutter.
"He covered a lot of ground in that builders category. A lot of guys who go in under the builders category are rocognized for their NHl contributions. Doc covered the whole world. He covered the NHL part of it, the minor hockey programs in Calgary, Saskatcewan and throughout Alberta. It is pretty incredible. It's great to see him honoured."
NIEUWENDYK NOT JILTED
Bumped into former Flames captain and current Dallas GM here at the draft. Nieuwendyk was eligible for election to the Hockey Hall of Fame this year, along with another former Flame, Doug Gilmour.
Niether made it in.
This was Nieuwendyk's first year on the ballot and considering his past -- three Stanley Cups, a Calder Trophy and two 50-goal seasons upon entering the NHL, it will likely only be another year before he is inducted.
Nieuwendyk did say that he wasn't upset about not going into the Hall this year. Classy guy, this Joe.
LOS ANGELES SECURITY
Ooops. Flames TV did an interview with head scout Tod Button the other day in the sunshine outside the hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Problem was the courtyard, called California Plaza, is apparently provate property and they don't allow filming without permission.
Flames public relations staff were able to help stall the security guards -- five in all showed up -- so we could finish the interview.
See what we go through to get the news to you?
THIS AND THAT: Strangest Day 1 sighting was four gusy in orange suits and orange top hats. Were they lost or something?....During a break at the draft, the big screen at center ice featured the top 10 goals of the season and Flames D Mark Giordano's dangle in Phoenix was ranked No. 2 overall...The Flames had traded their first round pick to Phoenix in the Olli Jokinen deal two years ago. With that pick, 13th overall, the Coyotes took defenceman Brandon Gormley from the Moncton Wildcats. He is a defencemen projected to be an offensive threat. He had 43 points in 58 games last season with the Wildcats...Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman received a very warm welcome from the crowd in Los Angeles prior to picking Brett Connolly with the sixth overall pick...Of course, commish Gary Bettman heard the usual boos from the crowd....Had to feel sorry for Cam Fowler when he was picked by Anaheim, the Kings big rival. Fans at the Staples Center booed the Ducks, and their choice, as he put on the jersey. They will likely be booing him throughout his career as he will be an impact player for the Ducks...Anaheim had the 28th overall pick, too. The booing stopped when the Ducks picked Long Beach native, Emerson Etem, a right winger.