If winning the Stanley Cup, as the Kings did on June 11, is the culmination, the ultimate goal, the crowning moment in a hockey player’s professional career, then what is the first step, the starting block, the springboard?
Draft Day would be the logical choice, and this Friday, hundreds of the world’s top hockey prospects will gather in Pittsburgh for the annual NHL Draft, which signifies the dawning of a new day for the next generation of Stanley Cup Champion hopefuls.
All of our current Cup champs started out as little tikes in the professional hockey world, too. You recently witnessed the pinnacle of their careers, now read on to find out what it was like for them their first day on the big kids’ playground.
The Shot: What do you remember most about Draft Day?
The Pass: Which of your teammates would make the best GM?
Trevor Lewis (Drafted by the LA Kings; 17th Overall; 2006)
Shot: Just being pretty nervous, and it was kind of a long process. I was kind of zoning out when they called my name and I was a little shocked, but it was probably one of the best days of my life and I got to share it with my parents.
Pass: Rob Scuderi
Jonathan Quick (LA Kings; 72nd; 2005)
Shot: I was at home with family.
Pass: Mitchy would be pretty good – he’s an older guy and he’s been around the League for a while and he knows a lot about the League.
Brad Richardson (Colorado; 163rd; 2003)
Shot: The excitement of where you’re going to go and who you’re going to get picked by. I got drafted by Colorado, one of my favorite teams growing up, so getting to go to camp with Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy and Peter Forsberg, it was a lot of fun.
Pass: Mike Richards
Jonathan Bernier (LA Kings; 11th; 2006)
Shot: It was a pretty special moment. When you hear your name, it’s so quick. The only thing I remember is going on the stage, I don’t even remember going down the stairs. Obviously you’re excited and nervous, so being on the stage and taking that photo was pretty cool.
Pass: Trevor Lewis (Lewis said he’d give Bernier $20 to pick him.)
Kyle Clifford (LA Kings; 35th; 2009)
Shot: Going down, getting my jersey, meeting the scouts, Dean Lombardi, and the rest of the crew.
Pass: Davis Drewiske
Colin Fraser (Philadelphia; 69th; 2003)
Shot: The anticipation of it, I think, it’s obviously exciting. You grow up and you can’t wait for that day and it was finally there. It seems like it took forever, but it really wasn’t that long.
Pass: Willie Mitchell – he’s talks really good and he likes to think he’s smart, so I’d like to see him prove it!
Jeff Carter (Philadelphia; 11th; 2003)
Shot: Getting drafted, hearing my name called, and going up and getting that jersey.
Pass: Matt Greene
Kevin Westgarth (Never drafted; signed by the LA Kings as a UFA in 2007)
Shot: Nothing! I didn’t get drafted…watching it on TV!
Pass: Kyle Clifford – he knows hockey!
Dwight King (LA Kings; 109th; 2007)
Shot: I was actually golfing, so it was a good day!
Pass: I’ll go with Mike Richards – just hockey sense!
Jordan Nolan (LA Kings; 186th; 2009)
Shot: I talked to Toronto earlier, and I thought I was going to go to them, and once the later rounds came around I thought ‘it’s not a big deal to not get drafted, just work hard for the summer and hopefully get a contract somewhere,’ and I ended up getting drafted that day, so it was good.
Pass: Mike Richards
Dustin Penner (Never drafted; acquired from Edmonton in 2011 via trade)
Shot: Sitting and watching it on TV – because I never got drafted! I went from junior college hockey to the University of Maine, which was Division I, and I got signed out of Maine.
Pass: Mike Richards or Dustin Brown
Follow Deborah Lew on Twitter at @by_DeborahLew
Past Editions of Off the Post
The Stanley Cup Final:
St. Patrick’s Day:
Taste of the South Bay:
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