June 25th, 2006, 03:17 AM #1
Draft Day from ASUCruz's POV(Very Long!)
Alright Kings fans, it was a pretty eventful day in the NHL, especially for us. I think going into the day everyone was expecting a lot of movement especially with the Luongo deal going down the previous night.
I'm sure everyone was anticipating Dean Lombardi and the new regime's first draft. Anyways with this post I want to try and recapture the day, what was going through my head(and I'm sure I had the same thoughts as some of you). Plus the dust has settled and it's a little better to evalute what your team did after seeing the big picture. Plus I haven't done a huge monster post in awhile so I felt I owed you guys one. Anyways on to the post...
First off I'm really glad OLN didn't try and do their own draft broadcast and instead they let the good people at TSN do it. It's funny when TSN does things, there's always that Canadien slant, but the great thing about TSN is they have clips from World Juniors, Major Junior Hockey, and College hockey. ESPN never had that footage and it was cool to see the different highlight tapes of the picks. Also I like that they got interviews with pretty much whoever they wanted and Pierre McGuire was down on the floor giving pretty good insight. I thought having Nonis mic'd was pretty cool. Getting the scuttlebutt from various hockey people. Like when Hartley "you guys got yourself a hellva goalie". Do you think he was happy to see Luongo out of the division? Also I forgot who said it but somebody asked Nonis about the Ottawa package and if it were true. I'm curious to know what the hell that package was. It had to have included Emery, Phillips, and maybe Eaves? Inquiring minds want to know damnit!
-St. Louis takes Erik Johnson with the first pick
No surprise here really, even though the Blues tried to trick everyone. Watching Johnson's highlight tape was enjoyable, I think there were 4 or 5 straight clips of Johnson cleaning someone's clock. TSN also mentioned that Erik and Jack played together during last year's World Juniors. Pretty impressive pair if you ask me. I'm sure they gave forwards their fair share of bruises during that tournament. Anyways everything about Johnson sounds great, Mackenzie said he was the best offensive defenseman, best defensive defenseman, and the best skater. Quite a package. Johnson might be able to have a Phaneuf type impact on the league although it'll be harder on a crappy Blues team. That being said, the Blues defense does look solid for now, provided everyone is healthy. Brewer, Backman, Woywitka, Wideman, Lynch, and now Johnson provided he makes the team(TSN guys seemed doubtful that he would go to Minnesota).
-Pittsburgh takes Jordan Staal
Well there were rumors galore that Carolina was trying to trade with Pittsburgh for the #2 pick to take Staal, even willing to give up prized prospect Jack Johnson. Who knows if those rumors are true but I'm not gonna lie when Pittsburgh took Staal, my first thought was that they made this pick for Carolina and they would iron out the details of the trade later. Anyways this thought was quickly gone when Pittsburgh's GM Shero went up on stage with Staal and talked about how great a player he was and whatnot. Probably would be kinda weird if they traded him after Shero's spiel. Now what of Staal's future, do they move him to wing? Most pundits said that Staal's easier to convert to wing than Toews or Kessel. Staal has great size, and like his brother a lot of all around skill. Pretty much sounds like the total package. Personally wondering where he plays next year, Eric benefitted from a year in the A, so I think Jordan goes to Wilks-Barre for the time being. Also regarding the Staal's they seem to be the new Sutters of hockey. I wonder if papa Staal is gonna close shop on the family farm. Also how many Canadien fathers of multiple sons are now considering building an outdoor rink in their backyard? Seriously 60% maybe 70?
By the way I think Bettman announced the Calgary-Colorado trade at this point. I seriously thought the Johnson-Staal pick went down, but was surprised to hear it was something totally different
Ok, so Colorado probably thinks they need a defensemen since Blake might leave. Leopold has good size, good skater, and good skills, but I think they screwed up with this deal. Sure they have Wolski to fill in for Tanguay but why hurt your scoring depth especially when there's a bunch of Dmen out on the market? Tanguay worked so well with Sakic, all the kid did was skate his ass off and feed Sakic at every opportunity. It was a pretty good fit. Wolski can probably fill that role but Tanguay was a dependable 2 way player. For Calgary this is an outstanding deal, without Leopold they still have a top 4 of Regehr, Phaneuf, Warrener, and Ference. Not bad at all. Tanguay isn't a big time sniper(never had more than 30 goals), but he's a great passer and its clear Iginla suffered without proper service. Tanguay gives Iginla a proper set up man, gives Calgary some speed and creativity so they don't always have to play north and south and on top of that he's fits Sutter's 2 way requirement.
The Western Canada roadtrip is just gonna suck this year. Vancouver got Luongo, the Flames got better with Tanguay, and Edmonton is always gonna be tough to play against. Seriously I'll be really happy with 2-3 points on that partiuclar roadtrip. It's really gonna suck going there, the only consolation is that it's gonna suck for the Ducks, Sharks, Stars, and 'Yotes too.
-Chicago takes Jonathan Toews
To be honest I thought Chicago was gonna take Kessel with this pick. Kessel a goalscoring center with a bid of an edge and big mouth, sound like a former Chicago center anyone? Anyways Chicago brass decides to go with Toews, a solid player in his own right. Toews had a good WJC with Team Canada and also helped the Fighting Sioux get to the Frozen 4. TSN guys said Toews is probably the most fundamentally sound player in the draft. From watching him in the Frozen 4 you get that impression. Solid, dependable 2 way guy, high character and good skills. Chicago has a nice young d-corps but their forward group leaves a lot to be desired. Toews and last year's first rounder Jack Skille bring a nice North American feel to a group that already include Pavel Vorobiev and Tuomo Ruutu
-Washington takes Nicklas Backstrom
It was pretty fitting that Alexander Ovechkin announced the team's first pick. After all he pretty much is the franchise. Backstrom a center from Sweden has drawn comparisons to Peter Forsberg. Don't you get the feeling that all young Swedish centers are gonna be compared to Forsberg. All in all Backstrom sounds like a solid pick, by all accounts he didn't look out of place at the World Championships, a tournament that featured the likes of Ovechkin, Makin, Crosby, Bergeron, Boyes, Zetterburg, etc. A future line of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Fehr has gotta make Capital fans happy. I'm sure like all Swedes Backstrom is a great 2 way player(damn near all Swedes seem to have the 2 way tag). How long does it take Backstrom to come over? When they asked him about it he didn't seem to keen on leaving Sweden anytime soon. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.
-Boston takes Phil Kessel
Kessel fell victim to being compared to himself in a way. After his impressive World Junior tournament 2 years ago, everybody expected a ton out Kessel. However, Minnesota not making it to Wisconsin combined with a disappointing WJC for a stacked Team USA team fueled the fire for some Kessel detractors. Scouts continued to poke holes in Kessel's game, he's selfish, didn't interview wel, questionable character. But the fact of the matter is, Kessel had a great freshman season for Minnestoa, and he's got tremendous speed and skill. Macguire said the skating of Pat Lafontaine and the shooting of Brett Hull. I mean that's pretty scary. For Boston this is a great pick, they get a big name and a kid with a ton of speed. In Bergeron and Boyes they already have 2 young guys with a crap load of speed, so Kessel fits their attack to a "T". Boston fans have gotta be happy with this pick, I personally wonder what Kessel does from here. Does he go back to Minnesota? It must have been disappointing to not even make it to Wisconsin. I bet he spends one more year in college. Also looking at Kessel's picture, doesn't he look kinda chubby? Seems like he was the fat kid who had all kinds of skill. Finally put it together but didn't lose any fat in his face.
-Columbus takes Derek Brassard
TSN guys seemed high on this guy. Lots of offensive skill and a small fesity player. With Nash, Brule, Brassard, and Zherdev, Columbus seems to be on the right track with regards to offense. You know, Columbus has pretty good fans, for a team that hasn't been to the playoffs and doesn't have any hockey history they get good crowds and their lively. So at least for them they'll get to see some goals being scored. The only thing is with Brule and Brassard they have 2 smallish centers, especially Brule who are injury prone. Hope that doens't bite them in the ass.
-NY Islanders take Kyle Okposo
This is a guy I wanted the Kings to taken, anyways when I first saw Okposo the first thing I thought was. Holy **** he's black. Then I thought Holy **** he's built. Even in his suit, you could tell that Okposo is built. Very broad shoulders and pretty wide in the chest. Neil Smith described him as a "bull in a China shop" and that's how I envision him playing. Okposo looks like one of those guys that will score 90% of his goals from about 6 feet and in. Nothing wrong with that of course. Sure enough his highlight package showed big Kyle scoring a ton of goals from 6 feet and in. One thing I noticed a couple of the goals came from some player driving to the net and getting a shot off, everytime I thought that was Okposo, but then the shot would be saved and some guy would come in and put in the garbage, that guy was Okposo. Good job by him following the play but I want to know who the hell the guy was making the inital play. Anyways Okposo brings some physicality along with some skill, something the Islanders have nothing off. Also Okposo is slated to attend the University of Minnesota. If he does(probably will, Minny kid and what not) Minnesota is absolutley stacked for next year. Let's assume Kessel stays, add in Okposo, Blake Wheeler, Ryan Stoa, Kris Chucko. Imagine if they convince Erik Johnson to play a year. Sick, sick talent. And they were even slated to get this next guy before he decided to go the Major Junior route.
-Phoenix selects Peter Mueller
Mueller is another one of those guys who was on that stacked US junior team that couldn't deliver the goods. Mueller though sounds like a pretty safe pick. Good skater, good skill set, and according to the TSN boys good in his own end because he was coached by Kevin Constantine in Everett. Now I remember Kevin Constantine coaching in Pittsburgh and he was a big fan of the left wing lock/trap, not sure if that's the same thing as being solid in your own end but I digress. TSN showed a graphic of Phoenix's past picks and most of them were frickin terrible. Jury is still out on Wheeler, but let me tell you Frederick Sjostrom does indeed suck. Anyways the Great One makes a safe pick with Mueller and I'm personally hoping the Roadrunners get an affiliation with the Coyotes. Rumor around the office is if that goes down and they sign Mueller he gets sent to us instead of San Antonio. Wouldn't mind that at all.
-Minnesota takes James Sheppard
2 things stand out about this Sheppard pick. First off, the Canucks at the desk said Sheppard wasn't a very good skater. I thought that was a bit odd since it seems like its a requirment that everyone who plays in Minnesota needs to be fast. Rolston, Gaborik, Walz, Bouchard, etc. These guys can flat out skate, hell even their defense is fast. So it didn't really seem like an ideal fit. Second thing is that Sheppard is already a solid 2 way player. Well now the pick makes more sense since Lemaire is still the head coach and you know he'll still play that defensive system. Sheppard is supposed to be a power forward and that's another thing that Minny seemed to lack. They've got enough fast guys, but not a lot of guys who'll plant you through the glass.
-Florida takes Michael Frolik
Most seem to think Frolik is a boom or bust type player. Out of all the guys taken so far it seems like Frolik will either be a big time scorer in the NHL or Jaroslav Bednar. With Jokinen, Olesz, Horton, Weiss, Stewart, I think Keenan had some room to gamble. I mean he also has veterans like Roberts, Niewendyke, and now Bertuzzi in the fold. Keenan seems to be in win now mode, so he goes for the high end talent in Frolik. Doubt we see him in the NHL anytime soon.
-Los Angeles takes Jonathan Bernier.
Ok, so we finally come to the Kings pick. So LGK seemed a little split on this pick. A lot of people wanted Little, there were some that wanted Tlustly, I personally wanted Okposo, and a lot of us DIDN'T want a defenseman. I don't think any of us even thought about goaltending. With Garon(fairly young), Hauser, Brust, Futijuki, Munch, Quick, in the system I don't think anybody thought we needed a goalie. So when we took one I think a lot of people were pretty damn surprised(me included) especially with Little on the board. Anyways I didn't mind the pick at the time, and now I like it. Bernier was the consensous #1 goalie in the draft so it's not like we reached for the #3 goalie in rankings and it was the 11th pick. There was a lot of talk that the talent level dropped off at some point. So its not like we drafted him at 6 like Montreal did with Price.
Also, I'm sure there's concern with the fact that the last time we drafted a goalie in the first round it didn't really work out(Jamie Storr). Well we drafted Storr in 1994. That's a long time ago. I don't think any of us should have expected the Kings to never draft a goalie in the first round ever again because of what happend with Storr. Especially since its a new regime.
Like most Kings fans I immediantly checked out his stats
.908 Save %
Doesn't exactly jump out at you but remember boys and girls this is the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Q has always been known as an offensive league, this is the same league that Pavel Rosa tore up(put up a couple 100 point seasons). Combine that with the fact that he didn't exactly play for a powerhouse team and perhaps that's why his numbers aren't that big time. We'll see how it goes with his development, I'm sure all of LGK will be following this guy's career like we're apart of his family.
I know this post has been a marathon so far so I'll try and speed it up a bit.
-Atlanta takes Brian Little
I had a feeling that when we passed on Little, Atlanta would jump all over him. Don Waddell is building a pretty good team down there in Atlanta and Little just adds to that. Atlanta has a lot of talent already, Ilya, Hossa, Kozlov, and Little only adds to that talent along with bringing tremendous amounts of character to the table.
-Toronto takes Jiri Tlusty
Tlusty is a very talented Czech who apparently doesn't yet have a handle on the English language. Seriously did anybody else feel sorry for the kid then the TSN dude asked him a question and Tlusty answered him in broken english and didn't really answer the question. Just said some words in English that he knew and like a good client talked about his agent. Kid seems skilled though and Toronto needs more skill guys with youth. Another highlight was John Ferguson lying on TV saying that he was completly happy with his goaltending situation only to make a trade for Andrew Raycroft shortly thereafter.
-Vancouver takes Michael Grabner
Apparently the 'Nucks went off the board with this one. Guys said this dude wouldn't have been picked in the first except for the new rule changes. Basically means this kid is a goal scorer and nothing else. Bodes well for the future I guess.
-Tampa Bay takes Riku Helenius
I guess you can't really go wrong with a Finnish goalie nowadays. Seriously the only I could think of when they mentioned Tampa not being able to replace the 'Bulin Wall was Torterella going off on his goalies in the Ottawa series. Great way to instill confidence in your team coach!
-San Jose takes Ty Wishart
San Jose trades up 2 years in a row. Last time they traded up for a fast Asian kid with hands and this year they trade up for the complete opposite. A stay at home defenseman from British Columbia. Pick makes sense, the top young dmen in San Jose's system are offensive guys (Erhoff and Carle) so they get a dependable stay at home guy.
At this point in the draft Pierre Maguire becomes a huge **** tease and tells us there's a big trade involving OUR Los Angles Kings and the Minnesota Wild. Said that it wasn't just gonna be picks, NHL players were gonna be involved, possibly Pavol Demitra. Then TSN goes to commercial
Ok, so when Pierre said this, how many of you guys immediantly thought of Gaborik? Seriously, I wasn't the only one right? He seemed like the only guy that made sense, Rolston(too old), Koivu(young big center, already have 2 of those), Bouchard(nah they just re-signed him). So yea, for that entire commerical break I was thinking about whether I should get the home Gaborik jersey or the away Gaborik jersey. Then TSN comes back from break and they announce the trade, Demitra for the 17th pick and Patrick O'Sullivan. For about a second I'm pissed that we didn't end up with Gaborik. But then it starts to click, O'Sullivan. The kid that helped the US upset Canada in 2003? The kid that ripped up the "A" this year? That kid that fell in the draft because his dad was a dickhead? Yea that guy, we got him? Sweet! I mean I'm gonna miss Demitra, quietly dangerous with the puck, great offensive talent, and he was a joy to watch on shootouts, but we did free up 4.5 mil and Demitra isn't exactly durable. Plus he's on the wrong side of 30. O'Sullivan, Kopitar, and Boyle down the midde looks nice doesn't it?
-Los Angeles takes Trevor Lewis
Ok, so the word on the floor was that this trade was only gonna go down if Los Angeles' guy was still on the board. When I heard this I immediantly thought of Chris Stewart. Huge kid, with tons of upside. Not sure why I thought of him, maybe because with your second pick you can gamble a bit and his upside is high. Plus he's fricking huge. Anyways that turned out not to be the case and Team Deano drafts Trevor Lewis. So when this guy's name is said I turn the the Central Scouting tab on my Firefox and look for this guy. And you see overall rank-30. So then you think, what the hell? We traded up for the 30th ranked prospect? Then I remember Mackenzie saying that after the top 6 guys or whatever the draft was pretty much a crap shoot. Basically meaning that there wasn't much drop off from one prospect to another. Anyways it sounded like Lewis' stock was rising and Mackenzie thinks of him as a Brind'Amour type. So pretty good skill, high character, high defensive play. Not bad. By the way remember when I mentioned that I wondered who the hell that guy was in Okposo's highlight tapes, the guy making plays that Okposo cleaned up. Well Lewis played on the same line as him. Hmmmmmmm.
-Colorado selects Chris Stewart
So the Avs take Anthony's "little" bro. Stewart's a big kid, already 230+ pounds and the Avs have done pretty well developing forwards. They have plenty of skill guys and pick up a bruiser with offensive upside.
-Anaheim selects Mark Mitera
Burke didn't make any noise on draft day and goes the safe route with Mitera. Ducks are pretty stacked on offense with young guys so they didn't have to gamble on any other forwards left. Instead they take a safe choice in Mitera, by all accounts your basic meat and potatoes defenseman. Stays at home and takes care of things.
-Montreal takes David Fischer
Fischer was Minnesota's Mr. Hockey, always an honor to be named the best prep hockey player in a hockey crazed state. Like the TSN guys mentioned, Montreal has had great success drafting American defenseman. Komisarek was their last one and Fischer this year. Fischer is another kid who'll be a Golden Gopher next season. Seriously what a stacked team!
-NY Rangers take Bobby Sanguinetti
Sanguinetti has good size and is a good skater. Good offensive skills but apparently he's got the dreaded soft label. Now one doesn't have to be overly physical to be a good defenseman(Lidstrom for example) but when you have size like Sanguinetti does and you have the soft label it does raise some flags. Keep in mind though that Jay Bouwmeester really isn't a bruiser either and I think Florida is quite happy with him. Anyways in Sanguinetti the Rangers grab a guy who can skate and possesses the elusive right handed point shot. A Staal-Sanguinetti pairing looks good to me.
-Philly takes Claude Giroux
I'll always remember this pick because Clarke screwed up and forgot who they decided on taking. Maybe all those shots to head are starting to take its toll. Anyways usually Clarke goes with the bigger is better policy so it was interesting to see him take a speedy kid from the Q. Maguire compared him to Gagne.
-Washington takes Semen Varlamov
First Russian player taken in the first round. Washington has a Semin and a Semen now. Can't wait for this guy to make it because ESPN guys will screw up his name constanstly. This one should trouble Stuart Scott for years to come.
You know really the rest of the draft was pretty uneventful. At this point I started flipping channels not really paying attention to the draft. Couple teams traded down, and all that stuff. Devils traded down, doesn't it seem like they always do that?
Anyways I hope you guys enjoyed the monster read. I haven't put togther one of my long posts in awhile so I went ahead with this one. As always comments and feedback are much always welcome.
Last edited by rinkrat; June 26th, 2006 at 06:51 AM.
June 25th, 2006, 05:40 AM #2
Do your fingers hurt?
Man, that was awesome. Thanks.
June 25th, 2006, 06:43 AM #3
June 25th, 2006, 07:43 AM #4
June 25th, 2006, 08:21 AM #5
The pronunciation for Sёmin is SYO-min, and for Semёn is Sem-YON. In Russian, we have a letter ё that does not have a 1 letter equivalent in the Latin alphabet. So, in English you need the two letters "yo" to phonetically spell anything that uses ё. Often the confusion for this is that Russians often do not put the two dots over the letter when we write. For this reason, North Americans seem to have a problem transliterating properly.
June 25th, 2006, 10:40 AM #6
where else can you get a complete draft coverage and a lesson in Russian all at the same time???? LGKs is great!
June 25th, 2006, 12:53 PM #7
If you don't get that GM job that you covet one day, you should definitely send some of your stuff to the Hockey News. They could use a guy like you.
Great job buddy.
Hockey's original bad boy. The "Cowboy" Howie Young
June 25th, 2006, 01:48 PM #8
Great post...I like what the Kings did after all is said and done, except for the 3 or 4 trades and other signings still to come (I hope.)
Its kinda scary to see the Pens get all these guys stacked up, good thing they are in the Eastern Conference...they are gonna be top notch in a few years. Fluery, Crosby, Malone, Amrstrong, Malkin, Staal, and more, mannn.
June 25th, 2006, 06:56 PM #9
I also thought LA was getting Gaborik. And I was super pissed that they lost Demitra. But, thinking about it for a day, and your probably right, Frees up cap space and we hopefully got a good kid in O'sullivan.
June 25th, 2006, 07:34 PM #10
Great write up! Especially brilliant was the idea of the West Coast road trip next season. It's going to be brutal.