If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been posting bios of the top 30 prospects heading into this year’s NHL draft so you have some idea who’s who when names are being called (all of them will be up by Friday). theScore has also put together this fantastic Draft Tracker, which is also available on theScore’s crazy-awesome app, which if you don’t have by now, it’s time.
BUT ENOUGH with the shill work – I’m here to talk about those names. Those exceptional, awesome, likely foreign names.
While going through the player profiles I was consistently stopped in my tracks by their beauty. I was unaware that non-North American families were forced to name their kids by grabbing a handful of scrabble letters and assembling them into something borderline pronounceable. (By the way, this isn’t to make fun of anyone, it’s more to look on in slack-jawed awe at their seeming randomness.)
So let’s get to it! The top 30 prospects (so sadly, no Martin Frk) from 30 to 1, a mock draft that shows where players would end up if picks were made solely on the awesomeness of their names.
Just missed the cut: Ryan Murray: Sorry dude, but that’s the most generic, kid-from-Canada name of all. Every single one of us played with a one of you.
30. Los Angeles - Thomas Wilson: Wilson narrowly edged out Murray because his name sounds like he could have been one of the Founding Fathers.
29 New Jersey - Scott Laughton: Solid last name, but still pretty “realtor from Kelowna, BC-ish.”
28. NY Rangers- Henrik Samuelsson: Our first euro! I assume this is the Ryan Murray of Sweden. Apologies for the poor ranking, but we’ve seen both of those names used in too many NHL combinations. (UPDATE: Yeah, not a Euro at all. American, born in Pittsburgh. No wonder he fit the back end of the draft so well.)
27. Phoenix- Derrick Pouliot: An interesting combination of Anglo-Franco stuff going on here. Shouldn’t it be, like, Derrick-Francois Pouliot or something? Derrick-Luc? Derrick-Pierre?
26. Vancouver- Mark Janikowski: Okay, okay, we’re getting more interesting, but we’re not there yet. Guy should be a good special teams player, assuming he’s a kicker like his Dad (and I am).
25. St. Louis- Morgan Rielly: Lost points for having the same spelling of Rielly as Rick, but the unisex name at least made things interesting. Possible lax-bro name?
24. Boston - Matt Finn: Oh please, please let the Sharks draft him.
23. Florida - Brandon Gaunce: It’s like a combo of jaundice and gaunt, which would be a crappy situation.
22. Pittsburgh - Andrei Vasilievski: “ski’s” are almost always worth showing some love to, and this name melds with it beautifully.
21. Buffalo (from Nashville) - Ludvig Bystrom: Maybe I should’ve ranked him higher (he’s a Ludvig, after all, and the Bystrom is alright), but this draft is just too deep.
20. Philadelphia - Filip Forsberg: Yes, I know the Forsberg thing is cool – so is the alliteration – but it’s just not “out there” enough.
19. Tampa Bay (from Detroit) - Oscar Dansk: When he gets drafted, I bet he Dansks the night away (sorry). All “Oscars” get bonus points.
18. Chicago - Stefan Matteau: Matteau is this high for one reason and one reason only – his Dad, the former NHLer, gave him his name. …Except he randomly dropped the “e” on Stefan. Not sure why (to separate their mail?), but that interests me.
17. San Jose - Jakob Trouba: Ah, the Troubadour. Great nickname.
16. Washington - Radek Faksa: I was once told that crisp sounds travel better in cold air (hence names like Tuktoyaktuk), and soft ones better in warm ones (hence the names of towns in Hawaii, like Oahu), so I hope Faksa goes somewhere cold.
15. Ottawa - Teuvo Teravainen: Bonus points for reminding me of the old NY Rangers defenseman my Dad walked in the ’83 playoffs, Reijo Ruotsalainen, and giving me an excuse to run this:
14. Calgary - Alex Galchenyuk: Because the fact that it’s not “Galenchuk” is great. Way more fun to say the way it is. Lost points for the generic first name though.
13. Dallas - Cody Ceci: Eight total letters, unique last name…I’m a fan. Plus, he’s had to put up with opponents calling him “sissy” for all these years, so he deserves to go high.
12. Buffalo - Dalton Thrower: This probably isn’t a popular pick (out of top 10), because “Thrower” is a wicked last name, but like I said, this draft is DEEP.
11. Washington (from Colorado)- Ville Pokka: This guy is terrible at doing the polka.
10. Tampa Bay - Matt Dumba: Washington was pumped when Ville Pokka fell to them with this pick, but this guy is two “s’s” on the end of his name from having a pretty terrible (but fun!) built-in nickname.
9. Winnipeg - Thomas Hertl: I’m praying this kid is slow because I am READY with my Hertl the Tertl jokes.
8. Carolina - Brady Skjei: A total steal for Minny, I secretly love this kid’s last name the most, cause…TRY TO SAY IT. S-k-j is not a sound my face makes unless I get my stick jammed in the boards and skate into the butt end.
7. Minnesota - Olli Maata: Olli Maatata – what a wonderful phrase. If legend holds true, he ain’t no passing craze.
6. Anaheim - Pontus Aberg: Should’ve been a pilot. Pontus pilot. ..No? Slightly-missed bible jokes aren’t funny? Got it.
5. Toronto - Slater Koekkoek: Reminds me of both AC Slater, and the delicious De Dutch Pannekoek House in Kelowna.
4. New York Islanders - Nail Yakupov: Two terrifically awesome names, but Nail? NAIL? I know it’s supposed to be pronounced “Nay-eel” or something, but this is ‘merica, son. /spits tobacco. Its Nail here.
3. Montreal - Griffin Reinhart: There is no chance his parents don’t write Braveheart-esque movie scripts/and or romance novels for a living. Or his mom is JK Rowling. Point for Griffindor!
2. Columbus - Hampus Lindholm: Hampus! I have no idea why that reminds me of peasants eating soup in a small wood home, but um, it does. Or the chubby kid from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Oh, if only his last name was Gloop. Hampus Gloop.
1. Edmonton – Zemgus Girgensens: /head asplodes. What an amazing name. My only beef is that if there’s multiple Zemgus Girgensen, it should be pluralized to Zemgi.