This was no regular conversation between friends. This was serious business.
When Calgary Flames
General Manager Darryl Sutter
and Los Angeles Kings
GM Dean Lombardi were chatting in front of the stage roughly 30 minutes prior to the NHL Entry Draft, you just knew something was going on. When Anaheim GM Brian Burke
got in the mix, it became even more intriguing.
The Flames, Kings and Ducks consummated a pseudo three-way trade before the draft began Friday at Scotiabank Place, one that eventually included the Buffalo Sabres
and Phoenix Coyotes
as a fourth and fifth teams involved in the pick swapping.
The only NHL player changing teams was forward Mike Cammalleri
, who went from L.A. to Calgary. The Kings got the Flames' first-round pick, No. 17, as well as a second-round pick in 2009 while also giving up their second-round pick this year, No. 48.
The Kings then dealt the 17th pick and No. 28 to the Ducks for the No. 12 overall selection.
But wait, there's more.
The Kings dropped one spot to No. 13 in a deal with Buffalo that also saw them pick up the Sabres' third-round pick in 2009. And to make matters even more confusing, the Ducks later traded No. 28 to Phoenix in exchange for Nos. 35 and 39.
Whew. Got all that?
"I was surprised how much movement there was," Sutter said. "I think it's because of the balance of the draft. After the first couple of guys there are a lot of different things and teams are willing to move down and teams are willing to move up. I can't remember when we moved around that much."
The particulars include the Sabres getting the defenseman they wanted in 6-foot-7 Tyler Myers
from the Kelowna Rockets with the No. 12 pick. The Kings grabbed defenseman Colten Teubert
at No. 13, while the Ducks nabbed Minnesota high school product Jake Gardiner
at No. 17. The Coyotes used the 28th pick to take Viktor Tikhonov
, the grandson of the Russian hockey legend.
"When we did the deal we had to get up in a certain area where the deal would make sense," said Lombardi. "We weren't just going to trade Michael Cammalleri
for an area where we weren't sure we were going to get the guy we wanted. We set the target from the 11th pick to the 13th pick and that's where we had to be to ensure ourselves that we would get the player we wanted and, of course, it all came together at the last minute. In reality I was dealing with three or four different teams at the time."
Sutter, though, wanted to make sure he found his way back into the first round, so he dealt veteran forward Alex Tanguay
to Montreal for the No. 25 choice.
The Flames also picked up the Canadiens' second-round pick next year while sending Montreal their fifth-round pick (No. 138) this year. Sutter then used the No. 25 pick on Greg Nemisz
from the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. He had 67 points in 68 games this past season.
"We had to have both deals in place before I did anything," Sutter said of the trades involving Cammalleri and Tanguay. "I wanted a first-round pick this year because of the depth of the draft. We felt if we weren't going to get live ammo (for Tanguay), we wanted a first-round pick."
Montreal GM Bob Gainey was thrilled to pick up Tanguay because the Habs were finally trading from a position of strength.
"We have been in the reverse situation for quite a while where we have given up players like Cristobal Huet
at the trade deadline this year (for draft picks)," Gainey told NHL.com. "It's all sort of balanced on the fact that we have done well here at previous drafts and that has given us enough players to put us in position where we can give up a draft pick and not create a big hole in our development program."
Gainey sees Tanguay as the perfect fit for his club. He's a 6-foot-1, 191-pound winger and former first-round pick by the Colorado Avalanche
in 1998. He won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001 and had 21 points in 23 games during those playoffs. He had 58 points on 18 goals and 40 assists with a plus-11 rating in 78 games last season for Calgary.
"Alex is a gifted offensive player," said Gainey. "He suits a position of need we have as a winger and a top player. We are a team that likes to play on offense and play on the attack with skill. He fits in with our group of players, and he's a local guy from the province of Quebec. At 28 you can still see longevity in him. It's a nice fit."
Sutter views Cammalleri as the answer to losing Tanguay.
"All along we knew that No. 17 would probably work for Cammalleri so that's what we went back to," said Sutter. "He gives us the offense we lose with Alex. He's a competitive skater and goal scorer. He can play a couple of positions and basically replaces Alex's offense."
Cammalleri, a native of Richmond Hill, Ontario, told the Flames' Web site that he is thrilled to be back in Canada. He also likes the idea that he could be playing center on captain Jarome Iginla
's line next season. Coach Mike Keenan also has the option to put him on the wing.
"It's a great option to have," said Cammalleri, who has one year left on his contract. "He's one of the elite players in the League. It will be nice to pull on the same jersey as him (Iginla) instead of having to play against him."
Myers was the player the Sabres wanted or they wouldn't have given up the extra pick to L.A. to move just one spot to No. 12. E.J. McGuire, the NHL Director of Central Scouting, said Myers' height does not affect his ability to defend a smaller, quicker player.
"His height differentiates him from the rest of the draft-eligible defensemen," McGuire said. "He towers above all the other players. He is not often burned by the small, quick players, and because of the emphasis in today's NHL on a lack of restraining, I think Tyler has adjusted well to that and is more ready to play in the new NHL than a lot of the other smaller players."
The Ducks love their pick in Gardiner, who will be a freshman at the University of Wisconsin this fall.
"Jake is one of the best skaters in the draft, if not the best," said Ducks Director of Amateur Scouting Alain Chainey. "He is good on the power play and brings an offensive dynamic that you don't often find in a defenseman."
Contact Dan Rosen at email@example.com.