Monday, June 23, 2008

Draft Weekend Recap

As it turns out, the first round of the Entry Draft wasn't too hot for the ol' Sherpa and his picking prowess, but having thirteen trades, including a ton of first round picks didn't quite help at all. With all the trades, however, it did make it a lot more entertaining seeing all those picks and a few players move throughout the evening.

There were very few surprises in the Draft, in regards to the players picked, but I suppose you could find one or two. The first round selections of Tyler Ennis (to Buffalo) and Viktor Tikhonov (to Phoenix) were possibly the most eyebrow lifting of the bunch. Ennis came a little off the board, while Tikhonov made it to the first round on his third appearance in the Draft. Phoenix even traded up to make sure they got Tikhonov, which proved interesting.

It was those surprises and the trades (be it up or down), which made scoring the in the mock draft comparisons really difficult. Out of all the trades, it would then end up being flukes for all the right players in all the right places, so when the Sherpa only ended up with three players in the right spot, including the obvious one (Stamkos), it really shows that the speculation of what the teams needed was just that. That's not to say there were some mistakes... hell, the idea of Nikita Filatov going second was just a plain mistake. Oh well, can't win them every year, I guess. Next season's dispute between John Tavares and Viktor Hedman will be a ripe debate, let me assure you.

All the hype surrounding the Montreal Canadiens getting in talks with Mats Sundin could be considered another one of the bigger stories of the Draft. GM Bob Gainey is supposedly heading to Sweden to talk with Mats personally. It will be quite the coup for Montreal if they can snag him into their fold and even moreso, if they can do it on or after July 1st. The ability not to send big picks one way to get Sundin's rights will be huge. If that actually happens, then it's possibly the biggest win of the Draft.

Going forward though, it was the Calgary Flames who possibly did themselves the biggest favour, trading away Alex Tanguay to Montreal and getting Mike Cammalleri from Los Angeles. To free up some cap space and keep the same calibre, if not a better Sutter-type player, is something else, heading into the free agent frenzy. The Flames also did well with their first round pick in Greg Nemisz. A big winger who is tabbed at being a good power forward in the league, does bode well for Calgary.

If there was a possibility of a loss this weekend, it could very well have come in Pittsburgh, where they have seemingly lost the interest of Marian Hossa or so it would seem. Hossa announced that he will test the free agent waters, a week from tomorrow, to see what is out there. Obviously, there is very little that Pittsburgh can do to give a better deal than anyone else could, from the teams who are truly interested. Arguably, it could very well be Hossa's loss if he decides against staying with the Penguins, even at a reasonable cost.

Well, as it was mentioned... the free agent frenzy starts a week from tomorrow. The countdown is on and the rumours are abound. Everyone will be on Sundin-watch for now and the restricted free agents will be monitored quite closely as well.

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