-- On Oct. 14, 1967, the first NHL game was played in California when the Los Angeles Kings
played the Philadelphia Flyers
. Now, 43 years later, the first Entry Draft will be held in Los Angeles, when the 2010 selection extravaganza takes place at Staples Center on Friday and Saturday.
In commemoration of the event, here are 43 things you should know heading into the draft. Friday's first round can be seen starting at 7 p.m. ET on Versus in the U.S. and TSN in Canada. Rounds 2-7 on Saturday can be seen starting at 1 p.m. ET on the NHL Network.
With Plymouth's Tyler Seguin
or Windsor's Taylor Hall expected to be the No. 1 pick, it would mark the fourth-straight year a player from the Ontario Hockey League was chosen first at the draft, following John Tavares
(2009), Steven Stamkos
(2008) and Patrick Kane
The Kings played their first game at the Long Beach Arena; NHL Central Scouting's top-rated U.S.-born player, Emerson Etem
of the Medicine Hat Tigers, was born in Long Beach.
Windsor Spitfires defenseman Cam Fowler
was born in Windsor, Ont., but moved to Michigan when he was 2, and holds dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship.
Five of the top six defensemen with the U.S. National Team Development Program are ranked by NHL Central Scouting among the top 56 skaters for the draft -- Derek Forbort
(No. 6), Jonathan Merrill (No. 20), Stephen Johns
(No. 35), Jarred Tinordi
(No. 38) and Justin Faulk
Cretin-Derham High School defenseman Mark Alt
's father, John, played 13 years at left tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs and is in the club's Hall of Fame.
Growing up in Murray River, PEI, Moncton Wildcats defenseman Brandon Gormley
’s babysitter was Paige Richards, sister of Dallas Stars
center Brad Richards
Growing up in Boca Raton, Fla., Erie Otters forward Andrew Yogan
was a national karate champion.
When Red Deer Rebels defenseman Alexander Petrovic
was asked by the team's Web site what he would be doing if he wasn't playing hockey, his answer was: Welding.
The draft isn't the biggest event of the summer for Kingston Frontenacs defenseman Eric Gudbranson. He has Aug. 18 circled on his calendar, as that's the day his younger brother, Dennis, celebrates five years free of cancer. Dennis Gudbranson twice was diagnosed with leukemia before he turned 7. Now 12 years old, Dennis is an avid hockey player.
The WHL's Portland Winterhawks could see three players picked in the first round -- their top line of Ryan Johansen
, Nino Niederreiter
and Brad Ross, along with defenseman Troy Rutkowski
. The last time one team had three players picked in the first round was 2007, when the U.S. National Team saw James van Riemsdyk
(No. 2, Philadelphia), Kevin Shattenkirk
(No. 14, Colorado) and Ian Cole
(No. 18, St. Louis) taken among the first 30. The last time a CHL team had three players picked in the first round was 2004, when three members of the WHL's Calgary Hitmen were taken -- Andrew Ladd
(No. 4, Carolina), Jeff Schultz
(No. 27, Washington), and Andy Rogers
(No. 30, Tampa Bay).
Niederreiter, No. 12 in Central Scouting's final rankings, could become the highest Swiss-born player ever drafted. In 1997, Edmonton selected Michel Riesen
with the No. 14 pick. Riesen played 12 games with the Oilers during the 2000-01 season, then returned to Switzerland.
Prior to this past season, the last time the Kings made the Stanley Cup Playoffs was 2002. At the 2002 Draft, they had the 18th pick. This year, the Kings have the 19th pick.
What do Sergei Kostitsyn
, Anton Stralman
, Kyle Cumiskey
and Patric Hornqvist
have in common? All were seventh-round picks at the 2005 Entry Draft; five years later, they all made impacts on their NHL teams this past season. Moral of the story -- not all NHL players are drafted in the first round, so watching both days of the draft is key.
14. Emerson Etem
and Niagara's Freddie Hamilton
both come from a family of rowers. Etem's mother rowed on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, his father rowed at the Naval Academy and his brother and sister are involved with USA Rowing. Hamilton's father rowed his way to a bronze medal for Canada at the 1984 Olympics.
Portland center Ryan Johansen
was just 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds when the Winterhawks selected him at age 15 in the WHL Bantam draft. Three years later, he measures in at 6-2 and 192 pounds.
Peterborough Petes forward Austin Watson
will have one of the loudest cheering sections at Staples Center. He's the oldest of nine kids, and all will be in Los Angeles, along with his parents and a soon-to-be-born 10th Watson sibling.
Warroad (Minn.) High center Brock Nelson
comes from Olympic hockey royalty. His uncle, Dave Christian
, played on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that won gold in Lake Placid, and his grandfather, Billy Christian, and great uncle, Roger Christian, won gold medals playing for the 1960 U.S. Olympic team at Squaw Valley. They also founded the Christian Brothers hockey equipment company.
If hockey doesn't work for Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Dylan McIlrath
, he always can go back to volleyball. Before going into hockey full-time, he had been offered college scholarships to play the sport.
Moose Jaw center Quinton Howden
is considered one of the draft's elite skaters even though one leg is shorter than the other, due to a childhood bicycle accident that saw his right femur broken so badly he had to spend two months in a chest-to-toe cast and had to learn how to walk again at age 6.
While Jaden Schwartz
celebrates being selected at the draft, his thoughts are with his older sister Mandi, who is battling leukemia and in need of a stem-cell transplant. For information on how to become a stem cell donor or for more information on Mandi Schwartz, please visit http://www.becomemyhero.org/mandi_schwartz/mandi_card.html
Kitchener Rangers center Jeff Skinner
won a bronze medal at the 2004 Skate Canada Junior Nationals, an event for Canada's top young figure skaters.
It's not just Canadian kids who come from small towns. U.S. National Team defenseman Stephen Johns
grew up in Wampum, Pa., a town about 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh that doesn't even have a stop light and has a population of about 600.
USNTDP left wing Jason Zucker
will become the first player trained in Nevada to be drafted. Ranked No. 51 by Central Scouting, Zucker was born in Newport Beach, Calif., but grew up in Las Vegas. Zucker also was the youngest player on the U.S. team that won gold at the 2010 World Junior Championship.
Prince George Cougars right wing Brett Connolly
was Central Scouting's No. 3-rated North American player despite playing just 16 games. NHL Central Scouting Director E.J. McGuire compared Connolly to Peter Forsberg
, for multiple reasons: "Brett Connolly
might best be compared, in so many ways -- both high-end skill, ability to dominate a game, with Peter Forsberg
. On the unfortunate side, Peter Forsberg
's NHL career was hampered throughout by injuries. Hopefully for Brett the injuries are part of his junior career and not his future, which is bright."
20. While Jaden Schwartz celebrates being selected at the draft, his thoughts are with his older sister Mandi, who is battling leukemia and in need of a stem-cell transplant. For information on how to become a stem cell donor or for more information on Mandi Schwartz, please visit: http://www.becomemyhero.org/mandi_schwartz/mandi_card.html, www.onematch.com or www.becomemandishero.net.
German forward Tom Kuehnhackl
's father, Erich, was named German hockey player of the century in 2000. In 774 German league games, he had 724 goals and 1,431 points, played for West Germany at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics and was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1997.
The I-10 Freeway in Los Angeles saw as much rubber as Seattle Thunderbirds goalie Calvin Pickard
this season. He faced at least 35 shots in 31 of his 62 games, at least 40 on 20 occasions and at least 50 four times. In those four games, however he went 3-0-1, including a 59-save shutout in October.
With 11 picks each, the Chicago Blackhawks
and Carolina Hurricanes
enter the draft with the most selections. The Florida Panthers
and New York Islanders
have 10 each. The Dallas Stars
have the fewest picks, with just four.
This is the first time the Edmonton Oilers
have had the No. 1 pick. The highest the Oilers ever picked before this year was No. 4 in 1994, when they selected Jason Bonsignore
. That pick didn't work, but they did a little better with their next selection, two spots later, when they chose Ryan Smyth
When the Minnesota Wild
make the 39th selection this weekend, that player will become the 9,500th draft pick in NHL history. No. 9,000 was Nick Bonino
, a 2007 sixth-round pick (No. 173) by the San Jose Sharks
. The 210 picks at the 2010 Entry Draft will bring the all-time total to 9,671. At this rate, we'll reach the 10,000-pick mark during the 2012 Draft.
The highest drafted California-born and -trained player is Long Beach native Jonathan Blum, who the Nashville Predators
picked No. 23 in 2007. Anaheim Ducks
forward Bobby Ryan
, the second pick of the 2005 draft, was born in Cherry Hill, N.J., but played a significant portion of his youth hockey in California.
One of the Kings' better drafts was 1984, when they picked left wing Luc Robitaille
in the ninth round. That selection came five rounds and 102 slots after they took a high school forward from Billerica, Mass., who never signed a contract, but did OK in another line of work -- long-time Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine.
The Kings have made seven first-round picks since 2005, and five of them already have made an impact in the NHL, including Norris Trophy finalist Drew Doughty
, the second pick of the 2008 Draft. The other two -- defensemen Thomas Hickey
(2007) and Colten Teubert
(2008) -- will be given chances to make the team this season.
Draft success wasn't an early forte of the Kings. Their first-ever pick, Rick Pagnutti -- the first pick of the 1967 Draft -- never played in the NHL. Their second pick, Jim McInally -- the seventh pick of the 1968 Draft -- also never played in the NHL. It wasn't until their third year, when they took Dale Hoganson
in the second round of the 1969 Draft, that they landed an NHL player.
The Kings picked in the first round just once between 1969 and 1978 -- 1975, when they picked Timothy Young
at No. 16, but he never played for them. The Kings didn't have their own first-round pick in the lineup until they took defenseman Jay Wells
in 1979 and he debuted the following season.
This year's draft could mark the first time two California-born players are picked in the first round. Long Beach native Emerson Etem
is No. 8 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, and Beau Bennett
of the BCHL's Penticton Vees, No. 32 on Central Scouting's list, hails from Gardena.
Bennett went from the L.A. Junior Kings to the BCHL this season and led the league in scoring with 120 points. It was the highest point total in the league since Toronto Maple Leafs
center Tyler Bozak
had 128 points in 2007.
This is the third time the Florida Panthers
have had the third pick in the draft. The two previous times they selected defenseman Jay Bouwmeester
in 2002 and forward Nathan Horton
This year marks the fourth time in five drafts the Phoenix Coyotes
have had multiple first-round picks. The only player from that group to make an impact, however, is Peter Mueller
, the eighth pick of the 2006 Draft. He had 22 goals as a rookie for the Coyotes in 2007-08, and 20 points in 15 games following a trade to Colorado last season.
Fans will be able to see some of the players picked over the weekend on display at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo. Of the 44 players picked for the U.S. summer junior evaluation camp, 27 are 2010 draft-eligible. Of the 45 players invited to Canada's summer junior evaluation camp, 18 are 2010 draft-eligible.
Thirty years ago, the 2,000th draft pick in NHL history was made when the Chicago Blackhawks
selected Kevin Ginnell
in the fifth round (No. 99) of the 1980 draft. After four seasons in the Western Hockey League, he never played professionally.
The 5,000th draft pick in NHL history was made in 1992, when the New York Islanders
selected defenseman Steve O'Rourke
in the seventh round (No. 159). He bounced around the minor leagues and Europe and never made the NHL. But the player taken with pick No. 4,999 certainly has done well for himself -- Ian Laperriere
, who just finished his 17th NHL season, playing all 82 regular-season games for the Philadelphia Flyers
at age 36.
Ten years ago marked the 7,000th draft pick in NHL history, when the Vancouver Canucks
picked center Thatcher Bell
in the third round (No. 71) of the 2000 Draft. Bell remains active in Quebec minor-pro hockey, but the highest level he's reached was 51 games with the ECHL's Phoenix Roadrunners in 2007-08.
Only 52 weeks until the 2011 Entry Draft hits the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org