The Wild picked up seven prospects on Day 2 of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in rounds 2 through 7. The Lighthouse was on location at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and made a few observations:
Trades! Trades!! TRADES!!!
Coming into the weekend, trade talk seemed to dwarf prospect talk—especially if your team was picking in the bottom half of the first round like the Wild. If you’re a fan of bartering, you’re probably disappointed on the weekend.
The Wild made a single move on Day 2, dropping back a single spot—from 79 to 80. The Lighthouse was getting ready to snap some photos for the Wild.com gallery when Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman approached the Wild table and GM Chuck Fletcher. Minnesota inched back a single spot for Tampa’s seventh-round pick in 2015.
No Trade Clause
In order to make a trade you need a dance partner. The Wild made it well known that it was in the market to acquire a second-round pick this year. After the Draft, Fletcher said the club had its sights set on four projected second-rounders. The Wild found a partner, but the prospects were swooped up with four-straight picks and the deal was off.
Fletcher said after that the trade would’ve involved the club’s second-round selection next year so instead of “kicking the can down the road” the team retained its pick next season. Sometimes the best trade is the one you don’t make #analysis.
What’s In A Name
If we graded prospects purely on names—and not things like talent, speed, size and grit—the Wild could argue it had the best Draft class of the year. Alex Tuch, Tanner Faith, Chase Lang and Reid Duke are all Grade-A hockey names. We really like the K-literation of Kaapo Kahkonen. Louis Belpedio rolls off the tongue and sounds like a 15th century Italian explorer. We don’t know a whole lot about Pontus Sjalin, outside that Pontus is a solid first name. If the Lighthouse were running a draft team, we’d have grabbed Hayden Hawkey before the Habs.
I’m Not Sjalin A Thing
The Wild had three sixth round picks and used the first on a virtually unknown defenseman, Sjalin. Wild European scout, Ricard Persson, is from the same hometown as the blueliner, Östersunds, Sweden. Sjalin plays in the third division, so he’s not well known. However, the Wild knew another team had the prospect on their board, so it selected him 160th overall. Flahr said he’s an intelligent player and a smooth skater.
One of our favorite things about Day 2 of the Draft is the rapid succession of selections by teams. No “thanks for having us Philly” or “congrats on the Cup win L.A.” The pomp and circumstance of the first round is thrown out the window for brevity.
Philly fans must’ve liked the rapid fire too, because the first sign of stalling, the crowd began to boo—it was 10:28 a.m. Nashville was on the clock and emcee Jim Gregory, who runs a tight ship, called out the Preds for taking its sweet time. Midway through the booing, Gregory announced there was a trade in progress, as the Predators sent its pick to San Jose. Aside from the boos, there was only one delay in a speedy Day 2, when Chicago’s draft table microphone went out. Yep, you guessed it, the Philly faithful booed.
When Bruce Springsteen comes to town, it must be awfully confusing for people who are not fans of the Boss’s music. It’s probably a low number, though, because Springsteen has a 53 banner, the number of Philadelphia sellouts, hanging from the rafters. Up next at 48: The Piano Man, Billy Joel.
A touching gesture from the Calgary Flames today. Tom Webster, a longtime scout who is retiring this year, named the club’s final pick. While the draft floor gave him a standing ovation, Webster was misty-eyed as he announced the pick.
Drama After the Draft
People throughout the United States have acquired World Cup fever. It has spilled into the hockey world as well. After the Draft, Brazil and Chile went into penalty kicks in their elimination matchup. Two camps, one emanating from below the bleachers and NHL organizations watching in team suites above the arena level, were watching the game. Making things more compelling: the organizations watching from the suite level viewing the game on a slight delay, so there was a three-second echo of “ooohs” or cheers. The media level got into the act, watching on laptops, but our delay was about a minute behind, so the “ooohs” were decidedly muted and less dramatic.