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Live from the draft floor in Montreal

by Phil Coffey

Pens finish with a bang
06.26.2009 -- 11:01 PM

The Penguins got a big rise out of the crowd with the last selection of the first round, taking Simon Despres, a defenseman from St. John of the QMJHL who had been ranked eighth by Central Scouting. The selection was a big hit with the fans and Despres' big cheering section.

Lightning trade for Ashton
06.26.2009 -- 10:56 PM

Tampa Bay made a deal with the Red Wings for the 29th pick and selected Carter Ashton, the son of former NHL player Brent Ashton.

Ashton rebounded from an injury-shortened season in 2007-08 to score 30 goals for Lethbridge in the Western League.

Blackhawks take Olsen
06.26.2009 -- 10:50 PM

The Blackhawks added another defensemen to the fold at No. 28 in Dylan Olsen from the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Olsen led Camrose defensemen in scoring with 10 goals (10-19-29) in 53 games and was selected to the CJHL Prospects game. He has committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for 2009.

'Canes heading to Paradis
06.26.2009 -- 10:46 PM

Carolina has selected Philippe Paradis of Shawinigan of the Quebec League at No. 27. A center, he scored 19 goals and 31 assists in 66 games.

Jersey Boys in Anaheim
06.26.2009 -- 10:38 PM

The Ducks struck gold with Jersey native Bobby Ryan, a Calder Trophy finalist last season. Now they are hoping for more with Kyle Palmieri, a Montvale, N.J. resident who played wing with the United States Development Program.

Bruins take Quebec League star
06.26.2009 -- 10:30 PM
The Boston Bruins are not popular in Montreal virtually all the time thanks to their rivalry with the Canadiens, but taking a Quebec League kid, in this case Jordan Caron of Rimouski, didn't make them any more friends.

Caron scored 36 goals and 31 assists in 56 games and may has set the unofficial record for longest trip to the draft podium because of the large number of family and friends in attendance.

Another pick, another Swede
06.26.2009 -- 10:24 PM

No doubt Sweden's junior program is back based on the results of the first round so far. Marcus Johansson became the sixth Swede selected when he went at No.  24 to the Washington Capitals.

Flames nab Erixon

06.26.2009 -- 10:20 PM

Using the 23rd pick acquired from New Jersey, the Flames added to the trend of Swedish players in the first round, taking Tim Erixon, the son of former NHLer Jan Erixon. He's a tall, lanky defenseman, standing 6-2, 190 pounds and if he's anything like his father, he knows how to play defense. Technically, Erixon is an American by birth, but has come up in the Swedish system.

Luongo goes to the podium
06.26.2009 -- 10:17 PM

If I'm ever selected in the Draft as a very over-aged player, I'd like to have Roberto Luongo announce my name as Jordan Schroeder experienced when he was selected by the Canucks at No. 22.

Schroeder, a center, played for the University of Minnesota last season scoring 13 goals and 27 assists in 32 games.

Blue Jackets want Moore
06.26.2009 -- 10:04 PM

OK, bad pun, but the Blue Jackets got Moore, as in John Moore, a 6-2 defenseman with Chicago of the United States Hockey League. In 57 games there, Moore had 14 goals and 25 assists.

“I watched John Moore as an underage player and I knew he was a must see player for this year; he hasn’t disappointed me one bit," Central Scouting's Jack Barzee said. "His first two strides are like Paul Coffey and he has been labeled as a world-class skater. He is poised with the puck, he gets his shots through to the net and he has gotten a lot stronger this season. He resembles (Calgary Flames) defenseman Jordan Leopold and similar to Leopold at the same age he needs to get a little bit better at playing more aggressive and more physical, but John is going to be a one-two defenseman in the NHL.”

Devils trade up
06.26.2009 -- 9:56 PM

The New Jersey Devils acquired Calgary's pick, No. 20, for the 23rd pick and another selection and took Sweden's Jacob Josefson, the third-ranked European prospect.

Earning his spot on Djurgården’s senior elite team, Josefson played against men at just 17, totaling 16 points (5-11-16) in 50 games this season. In 2007-08, he played for Djurgården’s junior team, recording 31 points (14-17-31) in 34 games.

Rangers select Kreider
06.26.2009 -- 9:48 PM

The New York Rangers dipped into the American high school ranks at No. 19, selecting center Chris Kreider, the top-ranked high school player. Kreider had 56 points (33-23-56) in just 26 games with Andover in 2008-09. The Boxford, Massachusetts native is still in 11th grade at Phillips Academy and he plans to attend Boston College in the fall of 2010.

Leblanc selection a hit
06.26.2009 -- 9:43 PM

The crowd was chanting and buzzing with excitement as the Canadiens stepped to the podium with the 18th selection and the cheers were deafening when Louis Leblanc's name was called. The big forward scored 28 goals and 31 assists in the USHL last season and is headed to Harvard in the fall.

Blues grab Sweden's Rundblad
06.26.2009 -- 9:37 PM

St. Louis added to its stable of prospects with defenseman David Rundblad from Skelleftea in Sweden. Standing 6-2, 189, he picked up 10 assists in 45 games this season.

Wild stay home in 1st round
06.26.2009 -- 9:28 PM

There is no shortage of fine hockey players in Minnesota as the Wild proved at No. 16, taking Eden Prairie's Nick Leddy, a defenseman who scored 8 goals and 29 assists in 25 games last season.

Ducks take center Peter Holland
06.26.2009 -- 9:21 PM

After swinging a mega-deal with the Flyers to start off the night, the Anaheim Ducks added to their prospect pool with Guelph Storm center Peter Holland at No. 15. Holland scored an impressive 28 goals and 39 assists in 68 games last season.

Panthers take Kulikov
06.26.2009 -- 9:15 PM

Dmitry Kulikov is a highly regarded defensive prospect from Drummondville of the Quebec League. The Russian-born prospect scored 12 goals and 50 assists in 57 games last season and has terrific offensive instincts.

Sabres select Kassian
06.26.2009 -- 8:51 PM

The Sabres hope for a lucky 13th pick with right wing Zach Kassian from the Ontario League's Peterborough Petes. The 6-2, 210 pound winger netted 24 goals and 39 assists last season.

Oilers take Paajarvi-Svensson
06.26.2009 -- 8:37 PM

Ten picks in now and the Oilers just nabbed the third Swedish player -- and the first left wing -- of the round, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, a solid 6-1, 200 pounder who scored 7 goals and 10 assists in 50 games last season.

Senators select Cowen
06.26.2009 -- 8:33 PM

The Senators, not subjected to as hostile a welcome as the Leafs, went the defensive route for Jared Cowen, an imposing 6-5, 220 pounder from Spokane of the Western League. He scored 7 goals and 14 assists last season.

Glennie to Dallas
06.26.2009 -- 8:23 PM

Scott Glennie of the Brandon Wheat Kings has gone to the Dallas Stars at No. 8.

Kadri to the Maple Leafs
06.26.2009 -- 8:12 PM

Brian Burke just fought through the boos to select Nazem Kadri of the London Knights at No. 7.

There must be some kind of rivalry between Toronto and Montreal, eh?

The announcement that the Leafs were on the clock with the seventh pick brought catcalls and chants of "67" as in 1967, the last year the Leafs won the Cup.

Just me, but I think Burke can take 'em.

Phoenix grabs Swedish defenseman
06.26.2009 -- 8:07 PM

Coyotes take defenseman Oliver Ekman Larsson from Leksand of Sweden with the sixth pick. He had 3 goals and 14 assists last season.

Another deal

The Islanders have acquired the 16th and 77th selections this year for the 26th, 37th, 62nd and 92nd picks.

Brayden Schenn to Los Angeles
06.26.2009 -- 7:59 PM

Another brother combination is alive and well in the NHL as Brayden Schenn has just been selected by the Los Angeles Kings, joining brother Luke, a defenseman with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Brayden is a forward with a kid's face and a man's game and from the way he shook hands with the Kings' personnel on stage, a vise-like grip. He played with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL last season.

Thrashers take Kane
06.26.2009 -- 7:49 PM

Evander Kane is going to Atlanta with the fourth pick and with the family sitting right behind me, I feel like part of the celebration.

From everything you hear about Kane, this is an excellent pick for the Thrashers. He scored 48 goals and 48 assists for the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League last season.

Colorado on the clock ... Duchene
06.26.2009 -- 7:39 PM

Not surprisingly, the Colorado Avalanche have taken Brampton Battalion center Matt Duchene with the third pick of the first round. Solid move.

Pronger to the Flyers
06.26.2009 -- 7:37 PM

The Ducks have swapped Chris Pronger to the Flyers for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa and a couple first round picks, No. 21 tonight and one next season.


06.26.2009 -- 7:30 PM ET

Tavares: "100 percent no idea (on being picked first) Garth has the best poker face I've ever seen."

Snow: "John is a special player and an even better person. He's a dynamic player and we're glad to have him."

Got their man
06.26.2009 7:25 PM ET

Ask and you shall receive.

Islanders GM Garth Snow couldn't even get the word "Tavares" out of his mouth before bedlam ensued at the Nassau Coliseum on Friday night, as fans cheered wildly for the Ontario Hockey League's all-time leading scorer.

Confetti shot out of the scoreboard as fans continued to create noise not heard in this building since Shawn Bates scored on a penalty shot against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The noise continued as Tavares put on his Islanders sweater for the very first time. Chants of "John Tavares!" and "Let's Go Islanders!" were loud and proud.
 -- Brian Compton

Tampa's turn … Victor Hedman
06.26.2009 -- 07:24 PM

The Lightning just selected Victor Hedman, a 6-foot-6 stud for their defense. He is an impressive player to be sure and could step right into the NHL come October.

With the first selection …
06.26.2009 -- 7:19 PM

Garth Snow at the podium … with the first pick

John Tavares! The rumors were just that!

Tavares is wearing the Islanders' retro blue jersey. Nice look.

From the Isles: Tavares, a native of Oakville, ON, played in 247 career Ontario Hockey League games over four seasons, compiling 215 goals and 218 assists for 433 points. His 215 tallies surpassed Peter Lee’s former OHL record of 214 goals, which Lee held for 33 years. In 2007, Tavares was named the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year, after breaking the OHL record for goals in a season with 72, a milestone previously held by Wayne Gretzky. Tavares played in 38 career OHL playoff games, recording 20 goals and 36 assists for a total of 56 points.

"Our goal was to find the best player in this draft that will become an integral piece to us winning a Stanley Cup," Snow said. "John has been a game-breaking type of player at every level he has played and will add a scoring touch to our lineup."

Last season, the 19-year-old center, led the OHL in goals (58) and points (104). Tavares recorded 50 points (32 goals and 18 assists) in 24 games after he was traded to the London Knights about halfway through the 2008-09 season and tied for the league lead in power-play goals with 14. Tavares also finished ninth in OHL playoff scoring with 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points.

Tavares won back-to-back gold medals with Team Canada at the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Championships. He was named the 2009 tournament MVP and World Junior Top Forward. Tavares tallied eight goals and seven assists for 15 points at the 2009 Tournament to complete his all-time tournament scoring marks at 12 goals and eight assists for 20 points.  His career World Junior goal total of 12, ties him with fellow Canadians Eric Lindros and Jeff Carter for most goals in a career at the World Junior Championships.

Thunderous ovation
06/26/2009 -- 6:57 PM ET

E.J. Maguire of Central Scouting is calling the roles now and to the surprise of no one, the Canadiens got a thundering ovation. So too the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Also not surprising, the Bruins, Maple Leafs and Senators were not greeted warmly.

To say the least.

Duchene to Islanders?
06.26.2009 -- 6:35 p.m. ET

Newsday is reporting that the Islanders will turn the Draft on its ear and select Matt Duchene with the top pick.

Newsday's sources said Victor Hedman will go to Tampa Bay and John Tavares will go third overall to Colorado.

In a word, wow!

Extolling Tavares
06.26.2009 -- 6:15 p.m. ET

Fan across the way in an Islanders jersey, complete with paper numbers on the back, exhorting GM Garth Snow to take John Tavares. No reply from Snow.

The gathering families are seated right behind the position and you can see a lot of nervous faces among the moms, dads and players.  Won't be long now folks.

Various reports from around the media presented as a public service:

Scott Niedermayer will return to play next season courtesy of TSN.

Mike Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the Isles will take Matt Duchene with the top pick. That would indeed set off quite an uproar.

Also according to numerous reports, the rumored deal of Phil Kessel from Boston to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle isn't happening.

Banners galore
06.26.2009 -- 6 p.m. ET

They are showing the Team Canada-Team USA World Junior game on the Jumbotron and let me once again profess a great love for high definition TV, but while looking up, it dawned on me that we haven't discussed the rafters here at Bell Centre.

Why the rafters? Well there are almost more Stanley Cup banners than you can count and if that's not impressive enough -- and believe me, it is -- you also can take in all the retired numbers. Man is that impressive!

Howie Morenz's No. 7 (No, I did not see him play), Rocket Richard's No. 9, Doug Harvey's No. 2, Dickie Moore and Yvon Cournoyer's No. 12, the list just goes on. Talk bout hockey history! Quite a site.

Not much on the rumor front of late, although Phoenix's Don Maloney and Calgary's Darryl Sutter were off to the side a few minutes ago looking like there was more to talk about than vacation plans.

Quite the building here in Montreal
06.26.2009 -- 5:41 p.m. ET

Back in the day, there was no better place to watch a hockey game than the Montreal Forum. Just a stately, fabulous cathedral for hockey.

And Bell Centre is no slouch either. Lots of folks already filing in and you can tell the sight lines are excellent. And for those of us suffering from post-age 50 eyesight, the high definition screens at the center ice scoreboard are plain awesome. I need one of these babies at home.

Our Brian Compton is at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, covering the Islanders' draft party and said over 2,000 fans already are in attendance.

In the midst of the action
06.26.2009 -- 5:20 p.m. ET

Just moved into some new digs here, off the media riser to a spot on the draft floor just across the Maple Leafs' table, so we're right in the middle of the action.

The team tables are filling up. Brian Burke already has shed his jacket, lots of talking going on, by remember my warning about what they're talking about.

Seeing Ron Hextall and Don Maloney now among the suit set makes me feel very old since I covered them during their playing days.

Ottawa's Bryan Murray just walked in and he has not been jumped by a dozen rival GMs talking Dany Heatley, so decorum still reigns.

A programming note
06.26.2009 --  5:15 p.m. ET

We have a ton of material on for all you draftniks and will have pick-by-pick coverage, a live audio stream and more stories on the prospects than you can shake a composite stick at, so check it out.

A word of warning

06.26.2009 -- 5:01 p.m. ET

Over the past couple days, hockey fans have been inundated with trade rumors surrounding the likes of Dany Heatley, Jay Bouwmeester, J.S. Giguere and plenty of others.

Don't believe everything you read! All of these rumors tend to become so much hogwash, but there is no question they are fun, so take them for what they're worth.

Heck, I'll tell you which GMs are huddling prior to the Draft, and while that sounds kinda intriguing, chances are the conversations will be about summer vacations and the like rather than an impending blockbuster.

Don't say I didn't warn you!

On the scene, let the picking begin
06.26.2009 -- 4:50 p.m. ET

Hello hockey fans across Canada, the United States and Newfoundland. Welcome to Montreal where in a couple hours the 2009 Entry Draft will get under way.

We're coming to you from beautiful Montreal, at the Bell Centre, the center of the hockey universe Friday and Saturday where a new class of players will soon be joining the ranks of NHL players.

We are poised on the media risers on the draft floor and will have a pretty good view on what's happening around the team tables as things heat up.

At the moment, Bell Centre is pretty quiet. Final preparations are being made on the floor and team personnel are trickling in.

More later.

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