So if you are like me, you were expecting that before round one of the NHL Draft was over guys like Erik Karlsson would have a new home (probably Vegas), maybe you thought Ryan O’Reilly was on the move, Max Pacioretty, even Jeff Skinner.
I thought the Vancouver Canucks were going to move down from 7th, Edmonton maybe do the same from 10th, basically I expected a lot of trades.
And just like my now horrendous mock draft, boy was I wrong.
Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik got traded from Washington to Colorado for the 47th pick but that wasn’t much of a surprise, Grubauer was always leaving the Capitals and much to the disagreement of some, he was never worth a first round pick with his lack of starting experience. I’m sure Caps GM Brian McLellan is Just pleased to get Orpiks awful contract off the books and glad the Avs are happy to take it for the final year before he rides off into the sunset. All the Caps have done is more or less guarantee they’ll be making a big offer to John Carlson this summer.
Other than that, only picks to move up got traded.
The first round was unpredictable so that kept things interesting, the Montreal Canadiens took Jesperi Kotkaniemi third overall despite him not even a projected first rounder at the start of the year, the guy most predicted third, Filip Zadina went sixth to Detroit.
New York Islanders had themselves a great draft without having to do a damn thing. Okay yeah they made a trade previously and ended up with back to back picks at 11 and 12, but two of the drafts most exciting players just sort of fell into their laps with Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson.
Ryan Merkley’s character questions did end up affecting his stock, he’s got all the talent and potential to guy in the top 10, but he ended up going 21st to the Sharks. If they can calm him down and he cracks on with his career then the Sharks just got very lucky, but they’re a team who don’t need to do much to stay competitive right now so it’s no real risk in taking him with this pick.
Unsurprisingly no goalies had their names called, there’s no real star in this draft but Olivier Rodrigue should go in the second round at some point.
One of the biggest surprises came with the fifth pick with Arizona taking Barrett Hayton. It seems like a reach for a guy who was most likely going to go outside the top 10, he’s a talented player but that’s too high for him when there were much better guys available. We’ll see how that pans out for the Coyotes.
Dallas also may have overreached at 13 with Ty Dallendrea, he would’ve been there outside of 20, so this is a very generous position for the Draft hosts to have selected him when they could’ve gone after someone else, but the market for top centreman this year was so dry maybe it was just time to pull the trigger.
Joe Veleno almost slid all the way out of the first round until the Red Wings caught him at 30, I’d have projected him inside the top 15, and at the start of the season potentially top 5, but he didn’t have the greatest season by his standards but sliding to 30 is only going to make the teams who passed on him or passed on him twice (here’s looking at you Rangers) look a bit silly.
Overall, this was an exciting draft but boring day.
None of the high picks were traded when they were expected to, maybe guys are just overvaluing their picks this year in a slightly weaker than usual draft class who knows, but for whatever reason only later first round picks were dealt so teams could move up a pick or two to get their guy.
An odd day, a huge knock for my confidence making mock drafts, and Erik Karlsson is still a Senator.