You might have recently thought “Hey, that Logan Couture guy is pretty good. The Sharks are lucky to have him.” I know I’ve thought this on many occasions over the last few weeks.
Then for some reason, you get this bizarre urge to find out Couture’s draft year. You eventually determine he was the ninth overall selection during the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in Columbus. In an effort to look smart (read: not stupid), you nod your head in approval thinking ninth overall sounds about right.
But hold on for one second!
You recall the San Jose Sharks being a very good team during the 2007 NHL season. Your brain reaches a logical conclusion that there’s no way the Sharks could have had a draft pick that high that year.
Suddenly you are very confused. A team who finished with the fifth most points in the league during the 2007 season ended up drafting a player ninth overall later that summer.
Wait. Come again. What just happened?
It all started on draft day, June 22, when the San Jose Sharks traded forward Mark Bell and goalie Vesa Toskala to the Toronto Maple Leafs (sorry for the reminder Leafs fans) in exchange for Toronto’s first and second round picks (Lars Eller, 13th overall and Aaron Palushaj, 44th overall, respectively) in the 2007 draft, and a fourth round draft pick in 2009 (Craig Smith).
Hey – Maybe this is still one of those “wait and see” kinds of trades. Nevermind. Neither player has suited up for the Leafs in some time. Maybe John Ferguson, Jr. was desperate to acquire a starting goalie to make up for trading Tuukka Rask to Boston a year earlier for Andrew Raycroft. And he was adding a power forward in Bell at the same time too. Sounds reasonable enough, right? Nevermind that too. Maybe JFJ lost faith in the draft system after taking Jiri Tlusty 13th overall in the 2006 draft when Claude Giroux ended up going 22nd overall. Anyways…
Following the deal with the Leafs, the Sharks promptly traded those first and second round picks (Eller and Palushaj) to the St. Louis Blues for their ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft. Of course, that pick ended up being Logan Couture from the Ottawa 67’s.
For those keeping track, the Sharks managed to rid themselves of Mark Bell and Vesa Toskala for Logan Couture, a serious 2010-2011 Calder trophy candidate, and all it cost them was a fourth round pick in the 2009 draft.
Did you hear that noise just now? I think that was the sound of several thousand Leafs fans smashing their face into their keyboards.
There are some teams that flat out rob others during draft weekends. While most of the hockey world was busy watching the Chicago Blackhawks pick Patrick Kane first overall, the Sharks quietly stole one of the best talents available in the 2007 draft for close to nothing… unless you consider Craig Smith something of a big deal.
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Some interesting notes from the 2007 draft:
- 2007 was the first time two American-born players were selected first and second overall in NHL draft history (Kane picked by Chicago and James van Riemsdyk picked by Philadelphia).
- The Colorado Avalanche selected 2010′s impressive rookie Kevin Shattenkirk 14th overall.
- Whether the accompanying pressure is fair or not, Lars Eller ended up being a key piece of the Jaroslav Halak trade to the Blues last summer.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs did not make a first or second round selection in this draft (sounds familiar… where have I heard this story before?). In fact, their first selection of that weekend came when they took Dale Mitchell 74th overall in the third round. Yeah…
- Montreal selected P.K. Subban 43rd overall, one pick ahead of Palushaj.
- With the 97th overall pick, the Edmonton Oilers drafted a Swedish-born forward who would later become a YouTube shootout sensation and one of the top players in the American Hockey League in the 2010-2011 season. That player, Linus Omark, makes his NHL debut on Friday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.