Archive for the ‘NHL Draft’ Category

The NHL Draft has become an exercise in routine.

- Bettman gives team signal to come make their pick.

- Team walks up.

- “We’d like to say hello to our fans watching back at our draft party at X.”

- “We’d like to congratulate the Y on their Stanley Cup victory.”

- “We’d like to thank Z for being such gracious hosts this weekend.”

- “We are proud to select this player from his junior team.”

- Player smiles.

- Player hugs person to his immediate left or right.

- Player jogs down the stairs and hands jacket off to jacket runner.

- Players walks up to the stage, takes jersey and hat, puts it on.

- Player takes picture.

- Repeat.

There are a few variables in here, and lucky for all of you Rob Pizzo was in Pittsburgh getting players to commit to what they would do before the draft. We scored how honest they were after the fact.

Two questions:

1) Who would you hug?
2) Do you put on the hat?

Not going to lie: I originally thought he was throwing up a gang sign in this picture, which I thought was a brave choice for an acne-ridden kid from a private school. (Gregory Shamus, Getty Images)

Easily the most surprising pick in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft was the Calgary Flames picking Mark Jankowski with the 21st pick overall. Sure, it was surprising to see Filip Forsberg fall a little ways down and some of the defencemen like Slater Koekkoek get picked higher than expected, but Jankowski was slated to be a mid-second round pick at best, or so independent scouts would have you believe.

International Scouting Services had him ranked 55th overall, up from 85th in their midterm rankings, while NHL Central Scouting had him 43rd amongst North American skaters, up from 74th. TSN’s Bob McKenzie had him ranked 41st overall, while his colleague Craig Button was one of the few who didn’t see the pick as a stretch, having him ranked all the way up at 14th overall. Generally, however, the consensus was that Jankowski wasn’t going to go in the first round.

The Flames thought differently.

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Round one of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft is in the books and there were plenty of thrills along the way. Highlights included:

- The guy we all thought would go number one did

- The guy we all thought would go number two did

- EVERYTHING WENT OUT THE WINDOW AFTER THAT

- Jordan Staal and Eric Staal play on the same team now

- Malcolm Subban and his brother P.K. have become mortal enemies because of a meddling general manager

- Brian Burke took the number one player on his draft board fifth overall which is equal parts salesmanship and horrifying

Rob Pizzo and Sean Leahy of Yahoo! Sports are on hand in Pittsburgh and got a first person account of all of the action.

Take a look…

What did you think of round one? Leave your thoughts, comments and questions below, on the Facebook page, or on twitter using the #BShelf hashtag.

Don’t forget to track rounds two through seven with theScore’s NHL Draft Tracker, it’s mobile-friendly and is constantly being updated by a couple of handsome devils so you know who has been drafted, who has been traded and what to think about all this craziness.

In 2007, the Kings passed on Karl Alzner, Alex Cherepanov and Jakub Voracek, making a reach on lower-ranked Thomas Hickey of the Seattle Thunderbirds with the fourth overall selection.

One thing that should strike you about the successful Los Angeles defence is how it was put together more a random association of functional parts rather than built a certain fashion. What I mean is, there was an organizational philosophy instilled in the Kings’ management system to improve the team’s back-end at the draft between the years 2006 and 2010 and it didn’t necessarily work.

Willie Mitchell came to the Kings after they gambled on him coming off a concussion with a multi-year deal. Rob Scuderi was a free agent. Matt Greene was a thrown-in as part of a Lubomir Visnovsky-Jarrett Stoll trade.

Granted, three defencemen were drafted by the Kings who were on the team, but not the ones you’d think. Drew Doughty is there, of course, but in a two-year period between 2007 and 2008, the Kings also drafted two defencemen in the first round, beaten out organizationally by Alec Martinez and Slava Voynov who were drafted in the late rounds.

Thomas Hickey and Colton Teubert each had successful-enough WHL careers, but they function better as warning signs at this stage in their hockey careers than successful players. Teubert was eventually traded as a major piece to acquire Dustin Penner, while Hickey, a former fourth-overall pick, is now 23 and has yet to play an NHL game.

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Youth.

We hear the term “make-up” bandied about by scouts, GMs, coaches, et al. frequently as we approach the draft each summer in hockey and any other sport. Over at NHL.com, the crew has a story featuring Dan Marr, Director of Central Scouting and former chief scout with the Atlanta Thrashers.

Marr’s story of Kovalchuk in the weeks leading up to the draft speak to a kid who carried himself with a fair amount of confidence. Another reading could be, as the kids these days are saying, Kovalchuk was swaggy.
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A big deal.

Meet Nail Yakupov. Nail (pronounced Nah-eel) Yakupov is going to be the first overall draft pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. Where remains to be seen of course given that the Oilers could trade their pick to any other team in the league, but it’s safe to say that as the top talent in the draft Yakupov will be the first man taken.

Despite the numerous awards he racked up with the Sarnia Sting, he has toiled in relative obscurity compared to most players in his position given the fact that he’s A) Russian and B) plays in Sarnia, which isn’t exactly a junior hockey powerhouse.

With that in mind, here’s what may be your first interview experience with Nail Yakupov.
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Drafting first overall, as usual.

Steve Tambellini practically revealed his entire plan for the future of the Edmonton Oilers at the NHL Draft Combine on Friday, and by whole plan I mean he reveals a whole lot of nothing. He, as many of you know, holds the first overall pick for the third consecutive season and will be left in charge to make this pick as well. One would figure that by now Tambellini would have enough practice drafting first to know who he is going to take, but he is staying non-committal nonetheless.

Some highlights today include:
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