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Just because of how hyped up the event has been over the past month, Sunday's NHL Draft was somewhat underwhelming in terms of "player transaction" volume. By days end the majority of the players who moved were third liners like Tyler Kennedy, Dave Bolland and Cal Clutterbuck; and there was only one real shocker (Cory Schneider traded for the 9th overall pick). Still it was a fascinating day and a singularly challenging event to cover.

 

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Going into Sunday's event I was certain that the league's 10:30 estimated end time was hilariously optimistic. But it turned out to be on the money or even a little bit conservative. The draft proceeded in rapid fire fashion with only three minutes on the board between picks, even in the made for TV first round.

 

At one point in the day I went to grab a bottle of water and a smoke, and by the time I came back (which couldn't have been more than ten minutes), I'd missed the entire fifth round. Let's just say that by the ninth pick in the draft I felt like I'd fallen behind, and I was sprinting to catch up.

 

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This was the second draft I've covered live and the "all in one day" thing was murder. During a two day event you have time to really, properly react and gather quotes at the end of the first round, and then file them nicely into a day one recap. You can set up the second round over night, have it up in the morning, and then at least that's out of way when you go into the six round event that makes up day two.

 

On Sunday there was no natural break to gas up. I arrived at the draft floor at 12:15 in the afternoon and I left it twelve hours later without so much as a break lasting beyond fifteen minutes. Just a grueling day...

 

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But also a satisfying one. I was really proud of the coverage I contributed over at CanucksArmy.com and TSN.com. Here's my reaction piece on the messy resolution to Vancouver's year long goaltending drama, and my overall recap of Vancouver's draft night.

 

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So let's start with Vancouver's goaltending trade. Schneider for the ninth overall pick in the draft which the Canucks used to select London Knights centreman Bo Horvat. The reaction surrounding this trade in Vancouver and around the league strikes me as a bit misguided. The trade itself isn't bad, but the optics certainly are.

 

Consider the value of goaltenders on the trade market over the past five years. The sort of tangible assets goaltenders have netted for clubs of late are Lars Eller, Matt Frattin, Cory Conacher. Semyon Varlamov superficially netted a better trade return than Schneider did, but there's necessary context there (McPhee was dealing with Greg Sherman, the 2012 draft was seen as well below average while the 2013 draft was seen as loaded). The Canucks got a top-10 pick in a very deep draft for Cory Schneider, and they still employ a world class goaltender in Roberto Luongo (presuming they can iron out their issues with him). The Canucks secretly did well for themselves, they just looked lost doing it.

 

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Ultimately where I think the Canucks deserve a good deal of criticism is when it comes to their patent indecision in choosing between Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo over the past two years. Could Cory Schneider have netted the team a better return at the draft a year ago when he was headed into restricted free-agency and the goaltending market was barren? Probably.

 

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One final point here is that Bo Horvat will be a long shot to contribute in the NHL before the Sedins turn 34. The internal logic of keeping Luongo dictates that you sort of have to get a "win now" asset to try and contend in the three years before Luongo turns 38...

 

That said, elite talent wins championships and the Canucks are short on elite talent. It's why the team simply can't score enough in the postseason. The best way to get elite talent is early in the NHL draft (and preferably a deep NHL draft) so I actually don't mind the Canucks taking this sort of shot...

 

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Let's talk about the rest of the league now.

 

How about we combine the Tyler Kennedy trade with the Douglas Murray trade just for fun? Essentially the Penguins have exchanged the Sharks Tyler Kennedy and a second round pick, for Douglas Murray over the past four months. Doug Wilson is a wizard.

 

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That Nino Niedereitter trade has to be frustrating for Islanders fans and management, but ultimately Niedereitter needed to be moved and at least Clutterbuck is a legitimate top-nine forward. Also that mustache is going to play well when the club moves to Brooklyn in a couple of seasons...

 

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I think Andrej Sekeras is a significantly better defenceman than Jamie McBain, so I like that deal quite a bit for Carolina.

 

McBain has generally been a third-pairing guy who plays against tertiary competition. Even then he hasn't been particularly impressive. McBain is seen as having potential still so this could be a worthwhile gamble for Buffalo, I guess. But it's a gamble I don't particuarly like even though Sekeras had a nightmare season this past year.

 

Sekeras has, over the past three seasons, played second-pairing minutes while facing off against top-tier competition. Until this year he regularly came out ahead against tough assignments. The problem is that Buffalo required Sekeras to be a top-pairing guy a season ago and he was overmatched. But he's fleet enough of foot to move the puck, and steady enough defensively to log serious minutes. If he's your fourth defenceman, you're doing pretty good.

 

Which is to say that if McBain pans out he might morph into a player as steady as Sekeras is at even-strength.

 

 

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Finally the second biggest trade of the day was definitely Toronto's deal for Dave Bolland, one of the most mystifying players in hockey. Bolland is just a different player in the playoffs, and while some look at that and say "he's a playoff warrior!" I look at it and say "that's a guy who underachieves for most of the year."

 

Bolland was surpassed in Chicago by Marcus Kruger, which made him and his still affordable contract expendable. He was dealt to Toronto for a pretty meagre return (three mid-round picks isn't very sexy) but I think that's a pretty fair reflection of his value...

 

Anyway, Bolland is an upgrade on Tyler Bozak at least (albeit in a different role). If the Leafs can add another centre this summer so that Bolland plays behind Grabovski (and ahead of McClemment) they'll be looking prettay, prettay good down the middle. How about a Bolland, Kulemin, Clarkson third-line, Leafs fans?

 

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Barkov at second overall was something of a curve ball. After the draft, Canucks Assistant GM Laurence Gilman admitted that his team was nervous about whether or not Bo Horvat would still be on the board with the 9th overall pick because "the board was looking a little bit different than we'd planned." Pretty sure it was Dale Tallon who shook it up...

 

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Barkov was a surprise at number two, but he probably shouldn't have been. Barkov has NHL size (6,2 and 205 pounds), he's still 17 (he'll turn 18 in September), and just finished a season in which he was clearly the best player on his team in a very difficult mens professional league in Finland. On Barkov's team were gusy like Ville Niemenen and Jannik Hansen (during the lockout) and Barkov was still the guy who stirred the drink...

 

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Jonathan Drouin using those silky hands of his to set up Steven Stamkos one timers. This is something that is going to happen for the next decade.

 

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I love Nashville as a landing place for Seth Jones. Now he steps right into David Poile and Barry Trotz's "elite NHL defenceman" assembly line as a successor of sorts to Ryan Suter. Good fit for both the player and the team, in my view.

 

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I quite liked what the Oilers did on draft day, trading down multiple times to add picks and making some pretty intriguing gambles. Darnell Nurse was essentially a must have for the Oil and in Nurse, Klefbom, Schultz (in addition to Smid and Petry) you're beginning to see the exo-skeleton of what could one day be a competitive NHL blue-line.

 

Olivier-Roy is a bit of an intriguing redraft player in that, he got way more ice-time in his 18 year old season and his production exploded. 

 

Also really like the run on Russians in the mid-round with Slepyshev and Yakimov picks. Teams are so frightened of drafting Russian players at this point that some of them just don't do it, so if you're willing to take a risk (and it helps, I suppose, if you've got guys like Yakupov and Zharkov to help act as a lure) there's talent to mine in mid-rounds. That's a smart angle to play.

 

Finally Jackson Houck looks like a player to me, and in total the Oilers selected 10 prospects including some intriguing upside picks late. That's a nice haul and I like the strategy of simply maximizing your at bats in a deep draft...

 

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My favorite late pick of the draft, by the way, Alan Quine to the Islanders in the sixth round. 

 

He looks like a player to me, and a guy who will be a defensively reliable bottom-six centreman...

 

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For some thoughts from DobberProspects' Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood), check out his ramblings today as well.

 

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Finally, Happy Canada Day everybody! To Dobber's Canadian readers: grab a Caesar and enjoy the fireworks. To Dobber's international readers: still grab a Caesar and enjoy this video:


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Comments (7)add comment

Rollie1967 said:

Rollie1967
... A top goalie in his prime signed to a fair contract should net more than the #9 pick. Cant believe that Philly with the 11th pick wouldnt have sweetened the deal and finally solve their goaltender issues for the next decade. Kind of feel sorry for Schneider though....atleast one more year of platooning, he mustve been banging his head on that one.
Gillis may not be looking good right now, but its looking like his hands are being tied by the meddling owners. When he does eventually get fired, hopefully we hear if it was truly him making the calls or if he was getting pressure from the owner.
July 01, 2013
Votes: +0

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... Two small things:

It's Sekera, not Sekeras. Lubomir Sekeras was in the NHL the last time in 03/04. Andrej Sekera is there now.

And the Oilers didn't redraft Marc-Olivier Roy. They already have the goalie Olivier Roy, drafted a couple of years ago. Marc-Olivier Roy is a center and this was the first time he was draft-eligible.
July 01, 2013
Votes: +0

woodrow said:

woodrow
... What a great video and how appropriate. Thanks. Oh, and the ramblings were awesome as well. smilies/wink.gif
July 01, 2013
Votes: +0

doulos said:

doulos
... No, the Oilers never made that offer to the Canucks. The Canucks were ASKING for a better package but the Oilers said 'No way' and walked away. The NJ pick was likely the best they could get.

However ....

It was Gillis who signed Luongo, and Gillis who dicked around for so long that the 'best' value they could get for Schneider was a 9th overall pick. Horvat might work out into a player, but the jury is out on that.

I can't see how the Canucks 'secretly did well for themselves' in any way at all. It's been a debacle from the monster deal, to the Luongo captaincy, to the two-headed goalie monster, to not even bothering to talk to Luongo before sending Schneider packing, when it sounded like the relationship had soured between Luongo and the team after handling the whole thing so poorly for so long.

This was a disaster from start to finish and the only good thing is that it's over. If the Canucks were smart they would send Gillis packing and try to fix the relationship with Luongo by admitting that they really screwed up.
July 01, 2013
Votes: +2

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
Schneider Trade The reason Gillis needs to be slammed for that trade is not necessarily the trade itself, but what they turned down. By all accounts the Oilers offered a much better package to the Canucks and they turned it down. I understand the notion of not wanting to trade in your division, but at some point the return has to outweigh that. What was that package? No idea, but if I had to speculate I could easily see it being the 7 and Paajarvi. Stupid of Gillis to turn that down, so in that sense yes t was a brutal trade.
July 01, 2013
Votes: +0

DuklaNation said:

DuklaNation
... Every draft now, I am more and more frustrated with NHL GMs who refuse to make deals to address weaknesses and trade away strengths. Aside from Schneider deal, there was just minor transactions. Very little movement in 1st round order as well.
July 01, 2013
Votes: +0

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... How is it that the Jets get Frolik for a 3rd and a 5th, the Leafs get Bolland for a 2nd and two 4ths but the Isles have to trade their third-best prospect to get Clutterbuck? Trade requests and pouting aside, Nino is still a recent top-five pick who scored 30 goals in the AHL last season. This trade will make the Isles better for next season but will help Minnesota more for about the next ten seasons afterward. In other words, Snow just pulled a total Milbury. Couple that with taking two USHL goalies with their first four picks and this was easily the most dismal Islanders' draft day since Mad Mike was running things.
July 01, 2013
Votes: +1
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