Swedish Prospects Dominate NHL Draft's First Round
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, projected by many as a top-six pick going in, slipped down to Edmonton with the tenth overall pick, while David Rundbald, Jacob Josefson, Tim Erixon and Marcus Johannson rounded out the Swedish invasion.
After the jump, more thoughts and observations on what happened (and what didn't happen) during the opening round.
All quiet on the trade front
Aside from the Chris Pronger blockbuster that came out of left field, nothing interesting happened in terms of the big-name players that were supposedly on the block. Dany Heatley, Vincent Lecavalier, Tomas Kaberle, Jay Bouwmeester, and even San Jose's Ryane Clowe, are all still with their current clubs. That's not to say there weren't rumors flying around for most of the day. One of the big ones that TSN reported earlier on Friday was that Boston had offered Phil Kessel to Toronto for Kaberle and the No. 7 pick. As good as Kessel is (and as good as he can be in the future) that doesn't seem like enough for a top-pairing defenseman and a top-10 pick in what's supposed to be a strong draft. Not surprising that nothing came of it.
For the second day in a row word surfaced that a Bouwmeester trade could be imminent, and for the second day in a row nothing happened. At this point, the Panthers should be ecstatic with a second-round pick for the rights to negotiate with Bouwmeester.
Personally, I was hoping that a Lecavalier-to-Montreal trade would have been announced at some point, just to see what would have been a magnificent reaction in the Bell Centre. Honestly, the fans might have rioted in celebration like it was 1993 all over again.
We need more Brian Burke
TSN decided to put a microphone on Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, and, quite honestly, they couldn't have made a better choice. Always great for a quote, Burke offered some candid, and sometimes hilarious, insight every time the camera went to him. Some of my favorites:
-- Early in the draft, Burke was spotted having a conversation with Montreal Canadiens general manager, Bob Gainey, and he helped create a rumor in the process: "The rumor is (Vincent) Lecavalier is going to either you or the Islanders."
The Islanders? Needless to say, word spread quickly.
-- Prior to Toronto's pick at No. 7, Burke had an exchange with Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray that consisted of Burke asking him if Nazem Kadri was the guy the Senators liked. When Murray responded that yes, in fact, he was, Burke said "Well, we're taking him."
-- On not moving up in the first round (paraphrasing): We could have moved up. We could have moved up to No. 2, but we would have had to give up (Luke) Schenn, we still wouldn't have had Tavares, and we would have ended up looking like idiots.
TSN needs a draft tracker
Something missing from TSN's draft coverage, and something that every other network has for its coverage of over other sport: a scrolling draft tracker across the bottom of the screen. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just something simple that keeps viewers updated on the players that have already been taken. Not everybody tunes in for the first pick and memorizes every selection as they happen.
Random YouTube highlight of one of the first round picks
No. 10 pick Magnus Paarvji-Svensson makes a ridiculous pass from behind the net.
Other odds and ends
... Pierre McGuire interrupts analysts and talks over people during the draft just like he does during games.
... Louis Leblanc, selected 18th overall by Montreal, received quite a loud, and lengthy, standing ovation from the hometown fans. No pressure on the young man, of course.
... Detroit traded out of the first round for the fifth time since 2000. The Red Wings' first pick will now be the No. 32 overall selection, and my money is on Swedish prospect Carl Klingberg.
... Pittsburgh closed out the night by selecting Saint John defenseman Simon Despres.
... Update on the ESPN John Tavares poll: America is catching on.