That's it for the first round. Anaheim selects Rickard Rakell
, a winger with the Plymouth Whalers. Rakell, by the way, is the sixth Swede selected Friday night.
We're at the end of the road here with pick No. 30 looming. It has been quite the roller-coaster ride during the past four hours, that's for sure. I'm going to have to run as soon as this pick is made, so let me thank all of you for joining me for the last live blog of the season. It has been my pleasure to bring you all the sights and sounds from the playoffs and the draft. Thanks for joining me.
Vancouver just made its selection, taking Peterborough forward Nicklas Jensen
, a Danish forward to join Jannik Hansen
. It was made to a round of boos by Wild fans, who clearly don't like the Canucks. In fact, the booing started as the Canucks got up to approach the podium. The fans also cheered loudly when the Canucks management congratulated the Boston Bruins
on winning the Cup, which was a pretty classy thing to do.
The Wild just made its second pick of the first round, taking St. John Sea Dog Zack Phillips
with the pick. The center is the third member of the Memorial Cup champion Sea Dogs to be selected in the first round. Nine members of the team are ranked by Central Scouting.
It appears Chicago is going to be the busiest team at the draft Friday night. There are rampant reports that Brian Campbell
has waived his no-trade clause to go to the Florida Panthers
. It is believed that Chicago will get Steve Reinprecht
and Rostislav Olesz
in return. But, this deal is all about moving salary for the Hawks. Florida, run by former Hawk GM Dale Tallon
, is one of the few teams that can absorb Campbell's cap hit right now.
Was working on the Setoguchi trade story for a bit and missed the Chicago pick. It was Phillip Danault
, a point-per-game player with Victoriaville who is good on both sides of the Puck. He is considered more of a project than those selected around him, but Chicago has time to develop him. Tampa Bay also made a pick just now, at 27, and selected London's Vladislav Namestnikov
. Minnesota is back on the clock, with the pick obtained from the trade with San Jose earlier tonight, and this building is alive again.
Toronto picks for the second time in Past four picks, Burke takes Stuart Percy
, a defenseman from Mississauga. Judging by the gloating from one Mr. Mike Morreale it appears that my comrade nailed this pick in his final mock draft. Congrats to him and Stuart Percy,
who is a skilled puck-moving D that made a number of noticeable strides this season and is an accurate right-handed shot from the point.
With its third selection in the first round, Ottawa again strays from the conservative. This time, they select Matt Puempel
, who suffered a season-ending hip injury while playing junior hockey this season. Yet, he still set career high for goals. If he can come back fully healthy, Puempel could be a real gem.
Pittsburgh, loaded with offensive talent up front when healthy, go defense at No. 23. The pick is Albertan Joe Morrow, who played with Portland of the WHL last season. NHL.com draft expert Mike Morreale, sitting to my right, loved this pick, saying Morrow is one of the most underrated players in the draft. Will say this about the young man, his family travels well. He has a huge rooting contingent here at the Xcel Energy Center.
Fourth trade in less than an hour was just announced. This time it is all picks as Detroit trades out of the first round by handing Ottawa the No. 24 pick and getting a pair of second-round picks back in exchange. Detroit has never been afraid to move top-end picks for more quanity later in draft as Ken Holland trusts his scouting staff implicitly. The No. 24 pick will be Ottawa's third in the first round. Forward Mika Zibanejad
was the team's first selection and Stefan Noesen
was the second pick.
Mystery solved. It seems Brian Burke
wanted to make sure that Toronto got Tyler Biggs
, a bruising power forward that captained the NTDP Program. Clearly, Burke did not believe that Biggs would last another 8 picks. To say he will play with truculence is an understatement as Biggs is the prototypical Burke player.
Another trade. Anaheim, on the clock, just moved the pick to Toronto for the No. 30 and No. 39 picks. There must be somebody that Brian Burke
really likes to make this deal. He was sitting on No. 30, which he obtained from Boston in the Tomas Kaberle
deal at the dealine. We'll find out who has piqued his interest in a moment.
Things are getting a little crazy here. While talking to Doug Wilson, Phoenix selected defenseman Connor Murphy
from the United States National Developmental Program team and Ottawa selected Stefan Noesen
, a forward from Plymouth. In between those selections was the announcement, by Commissioner Gary Bettman, that Chicago had traded Troy Brouwer
to Washington for the No. 26 pick in tonight's draft. Brouwer gives Washington some more experienced depth and moving him allows Chicago a bit of financial freedom.
San Jose GM Doug Wilson just spoke briefly about the deal and said that it was a deal the organization felt it had to make because of the veteran forward on the club and fact that team was in "it's wheelhouse" as far as age of star players. Believed it was his duty to get an all-round D like Burns. Also said, he had no plans to trade Setoguchi and Thursday's signing was an unrelated event. Said the deal came along quicly and he accepts yopu have to give good players to get good players. Will have more in a bit. Say this, though, Doug Wilson is one of the most aggressive traders in NHL.
The run on defenseman and Swedish players continues as Edmonton uses its second pick of the first round to take Oscar Klefbom
, who just happens to be the defensive partner of Jonas Brodin
back in Sweden. Brodin was selected No. 10 by the hometown Minnesota Wild
. Klefbom is the seventh defenseman taking in the first 19 picks Friday night. He was also the fifth Swede so far.
Now, it is officially a draft as the first blockbuster of the night is dropped on the crowd by Gary Bettman. To make it even better, it involves the hometown Wild. Minnesota obtained top forward Devin Setoguchi
, prospect Charlie Coyle
and a first-round pick this year for defenseman Brent Burns
and a second-round pick in 2012. Setoguchi just signed a new deal yesterday, but was considered the price of doing business in attempt to land the top-four defenseman the organization so desperately craved. We'll be talking about this pick for a while.
Montreal, who may have been discussing a potential trade, just made its selection, taking Nathan Beaulieu
from the St. John Sea dogs. Bealieu is the second member of the Memorial Cup champions to be taken in the first 17 picks. His selection, though, could be overshadowed by a potential trade gaining some traction. It seems the Blackhawks may have traded Troy Brouwer
to the Caps for Washington's first-round pick later in the round. The transaction is not official yet, however.
Now, we are on the back half of the first round and Buffalo got things rooling with the selection of forward Joel Armia
from Assat in Finland. This a player with good hands and good size, but to be a home run, so to speak, in the NHL, he will have to show more willingness to go to the dirty areas of the ice and become a true power forward.
This is quite the departure for the Sabres, who had selected North American players with each of their previous 35 picks. The last European selected by the club was Jhonas Enroth
, now their backup goalie. He was taken in the second round five years ago.
The night started with an emotional tribute to Scouting Director EJ McGuire and now it is Derek Boogaard
's turn to be remembered. The New York Rangers
, selecting at 15, honored Boogaard, a former Wild player, during their pre-pick speech and then allowed Boogaard's older brother, Aaron, to make the pick. But, before Aaron could announce the pick, he was drowned out by a standing ovation from teh crowd, team officails on the draft floor and media in the risers. There were very few dry eyes in The Xcel Energy Center in what proved to be a touching tribute. Then, it was done to business and Aaron Boogaard
announced the Rangers had selected J.T. Miller
, a center from the US National team. He is the highest drafted Pittsburgh native, stripping that honor from RJ Umberger
Hey, it's Zdeno Chara
! Actually, it's not; it's just Northeastern's Jamie Oleksiak
, who is a 6-foot-7 tower of power from Northeastern University. Oleksiak is nowehere near as good as Chara, who had an amazing postseason and was a finalist for the Norris Trophy. Surely, GM Joe Nieuwendyk
would love it if Oleksiak could follow Chara's developmental path.
Jay Feaster just took the stage and announced Sven Bartschi as the Flames selection. Bartschi is a well-rounded left wing that is good at both ends of the ice and will help what is a weak spot in the Flames organizational depth. It also ends a run on defenseman. Dallas is next on the clolck and that announcement was greeted with a chorus of boos by Wild fans still unhappy about the stars relocating from Minnesota.
The Carolina Hurricanes
picked at No. 12 and took Ryan Murphy
, the most offensively talented defenseman in the draft by almost all accounts. He is the fourth-straight D to be selected, making this the first positional run of the draft.
Colorado makes its second selection of the night, taking defenseman Duncan Siemens
. This pick was from St. Louis as part of the blockbuster deal that also neeted the Avs Erik Johnson
at last year's deadline. Siemens joins Gabriel Landeskog
as Avs added to the roster Friday night -- not a bad start at all to the draft for Colorado.
Sweden's Jonas Brodin
is introduced as the newest citizen to the State of Hockey by Wild management. Crowd is ectatic with the pick and break into applause as Brodin pulls on green Wild sweater. Brodin has a good deal of offensive upside that will be welcomed into the Wild fold. Now, we are one-third of the way through the first round.
The home team is now on the clock and the late-arriving fans start chanting, "Let's go Wild" over and over. It will be interesting to see where the Wild go with so many options on the board and it will be interesting to see how knowledgable Minny fans react.
Boston didn't wait long to make its pick, which is part of the bounty from the Leafs in the Phil Kessel
trade. The Bruins select defenseman Doug Hamilton from Niagara. He is a tall -- not Zdeno Chara
tall -- defenseman that has some offensive upside. By the way, this is the highest the Stanley Cup champion has picked since the Islanders took Pat Lafontaine
back in the glory days of the franchise.
The wait was worth it for Flyer fans as the team picks promising forward Sean Couturier
of Drummondville at No. 8. There's a lot to like about this player, although most agree he needs to get stronger. With the recently added Brayden Schenn
, the Flyers have a pretty good 1-2 punch in their system.
Flyers are taking some time with this pick. maybe because they are out of practice. Philadelphia hasn't had a first-round pick since 2008 when it took Luca Sbisa
. Philadelphia received this pick on Thursday as part of the bounty from the Jeff Carter
The new Winnipeg franchise sure knows how to make an impact. First, the club just slipped the teams name -- it is the Jets, by the way -- casually into the introduction of making the pick. Then, the organization went off the draft board in taking barries's Mark Scheifele
with the No. 7 pick. Scheifele has some big shoes to fill. Jeff Skinner
was the No. 7 pick last year, going to Carolina, and all he did was turn in a rookie of the year season. Also, the last first-round pick by a team in Winnipeg was Shane Doan
, who is now captain of the Phoenix Coyotes
. We'll find out pretty soon if he is up to the task.
Winnipeg fever is taking over Minnesota here. The franchise is on the clock to make its first pick and a collection of very vocal fans are letting everyone know it. They may be doubly excited because it is believed that winnipeg management will announce its name before making the selection. There is a huge believe that the team will be the Jets, but that remains to be seen.
Well, here is the first surprise of the draft. Ottawa Senators
didn't take long and then announced they were taking Mika Zibanejad
, ther Swedish Center. A number of scouts belive Zibanijed is NHL ready as a classical two-way center out of the Swedish system. In fact, there have been some comparisons of him to Jeff Skinner
. He was a fast-riser late in the season and Ottawa decided to take the plunge.
Isles, who moved down a spot in draft when Devils won the lottery, took Ryan Strome
at No. 5. He is just another young forward in the Islanders stable. Strome, who had more than 100 points nin the OHL this season, is a versatile forward that could be a top-two center. Another young forward in the Isles system -- Kyle Okposo
-- was part of the welcoming committee.
Things have just broken right for the Devils tonight. The player, by all accounts, that they wanted most -- Adam Larsson
-- just fell into their laps at No. 4. Early in the season, there was a thought that Larsson, a big Swedish defenseman -- could go No. 1. He is still the No. 1-rated European in the draft. Zach Parise
, a native Minnesotan, was at the Devils draft table, but he did not go up to the stage to make the selection.
St. John Sea Dog Jonathan Huberdeau
goes at No. 3, likely meaning that Devils will take Adam Larsson
at No. 4. Huberdeau is an elite offensive talent who really shined in the Memorial Cup, earning MVP honors. He looks good sporting the nnew red jersey the Panthers will sport next saeason.
We have the No. 2 pick. Colorado takes winger Gabriel Landeskog
, a big rugged winger from Kitchener that will complement the team's two big centers. There is a chance that he could even play in NHL as early as next year.
And, here is the first pick. Edmonton holds onto it and takes Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
, the consensus No. 1 pick. It also appears the Oilers may have added a veteran by re-acquiring Ryan Smyth
from Los Angeles, sending a pick and Gilbert Brule
to the Kings. Taylor Hall
, the No. 1 pick from last year's draft, was on hand to greet Ryan after he was selected. That is quite the 1-2 punch for the rebuilding Oilers.
We are almost ready to start here, but before we do, I want to take a moment to pay tribute to the man that has taught me almost everything I know about the draft and evaluating young players -- EJ MaGuire. EJ is one of the greatest men I have met in my 17 years in this business and his patience and generosity were legendary. As you know, EJ passed in April and he is deeply missed here. The NHL is doing a great job of remembering EJ on what was annually his weekend. EJ initials are on the dias and EJ buttons were passed out to all the teams to wear. There was also a video montage celebrating his life as a scout, a coach and a family man. EJ you and your passion for the game will be missed.
It appears Brian Campbell
is the first roster player to be put into the rumor mill Friday night. There were reports surfacing in the past 20 minutes that Brian Campbell
had been dealt to Columbus. Several sources, however, have said that Columbus GM Scott Howson denied the deal. It is believed, however, that Campbell remains in play if Chicago can find a suitable partner. Campbell, an elite puck-moving defenseman, has a limited no-trade clause.
Sorry, took a quick dinner break. Still tons of stuff going on on draft floor, though. The big scuttlebutt -- what a great word -- is that Florida is entertaining a number of trade offers with both David Booth
and Stephen Weiss
both available. After what the Flyers did Thursday, it is hard to discount the validity of those rumors. It appears virtually anybody could be in play today.
Tampa Bay's Steve Yzerman
also met briefly with the media to discuss a number of topics, including the signing of Eric Brewer
earlier in the day. With that signing under his belt, Yzerman is now turning his attention to his other unrestricted free-agents-to-be. He says he hopes to sign both his free-agent goalies, Dwayne Roloson
and Mike Smith
. He is not as confident that he will get a deal done with Sean Bergenheim
before free agency arrives on July 1.
Just one hour until the draft extravaganza starts now. Toronto's Dave Nonis spoke a couple of minutes ago and said that his team is still in the hunt for a No. 1 center, which is the team's main priority now. He also loved the addition of J-M Liles, who was obtained in a Friday trade wigth Colorado. Nonis says Toronto staff believes he will be a 20-plus minute guy and a PP quarterback. Essentially, they believe that Liles will be a straight replacement for Tomas Kaberle
. Ironically, Toronto used the second-round pick obtained from Boston to land Liles. Nonis also said he expects a lot of trades, especially when it comes to draft picks.
Boston GM Peter Chiarelli just met with the media on the draft floor. He said that he has qualified playoff hero Brad Marchand
, who does not yet have arbitration rights. He also said that he has talked to around half the League's GMs, but that trade offers are slim for him as he has made it none he doesn't plan to trade anyone of his roster.
Even though the first pick is a bit less than 2 hours away, things are already picking up here at the Xcel Energy Center. All the teams have arrived and are preparing for the draft. A lot of GMs have already done scrums with media and some interesting tidbits have come out in those discussions.
Welcome to the 2011 Entry Draft, coming at you live from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. We'll be with you for the next 4-1/2 hours, bringing you all the sites and sounds from here as the future for 30 teams takes its next step. The Edmonton Oilers
have the first pick when the draft starts at 6 p.m.