After a weekend where the NHL’s newest players were drafted in Pittsburgh, you can expect a lot from the 2012 Draft class. Edmonton didn’t trade away their first pick, and the Oilers did select Nail Yakupov as the first overall pick. To think about it, a line with him, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-H0pkins might just become one of the most imposing lines to be reckoned within the next 5 years. The Columbus Blue Jackets selected top defenseman, Ryan Murray, second overall. Murray will be a good top-4 D-man alongside fellow young gun John Moore and veterans Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski. The Canadiens selected prolific goal-scorer Alex Galchenyuk third overall. It was something the Habs really needed. But the biggest trade of the night occurred during the 8th pick. The Carolina Hurricanes traded the pick, Brandon Sutter, and Brian Dumoulin to the Draft host team Pittsburgh Penguins, in exchange for Jordan Staal, who previously rejected a 10-year contract extension the day prior that would’ve made him a Penguin for the rest of his NHL playing career. Instead, he now plays with his brothers Eric and Jared in Carolina.
The Washington Capitals have their pieces set. By getting the 11th pick in the draft as a result of trading Semyon Varlamov to Colorado, the Caps selected Filip Forsberg. It’s a nice selection, just in case Alex Semin leaves Washington. And since they announced that they wouldn’t re-sign veteran forward Mike Knuble, they drafted rugged forward Tom Wilson 16th. As for my team, Chicago selected what some people call the best steal of the Draft: Teuvo Teravainen. Let’s just say the next Teemu Selanne has arrived. By the end of the night, fires from two of the most heated rivalries were fueled. With Tim Thomas waiving his no-trade clause, the Boston Bruins selected Malcolm Subban, the younger brother of Montréal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. Now hockey’s greatest rivalry is a part of the Subban household. As for the New Jerey Devils, we thought they were gonna forfeit the pick as consequence for Ilya Kovalchuk’s long-term contract. They didn’t. Instead, they selected Stefan Matteau from the U.S. National Talent Development Program. Name sound familiar? Should be: He’s the son of Stephane Matteau, the former Ranger who was immortalized by scoring the winning goal in Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Final in double overtime. Yes, Howie Rose, we still remember that call.
Day 2 of the Draft lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes. The only major deal made that day was also made by the Penguins. They traded defenseman Zbynek Michalek to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for prospects and the Coyotes’ third-round pick. But here are some highlights from Day 2: Lukas Sutter was drafted in the second round by the Winnipeg Jets, Brock McGinn, younger brother of Sane Jose Sharks forward Jamie McGinn, was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes, the Bruins traded Benoit Pouliot to Tampa Bay, and “The Monster” Jonas Gustavsson was sent west to Winnipeg to back-up Ondrej Pavelec (or become the no. 1 should Pavelec play in the KHL next year).
With the moves Pittsburgh made this weekend, they’re ready for the start of Free Agency in 8 days. So too are the other 29 NHL teams. Will Bobby Ryan play for the team he grew up on, the Philadelphia Flyers? Who will trade for Rick Nash? And Where will big Free Agent names like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter end up? The frenzy begins July 1st. Happy Canada day, y’all!