We’re less than two hours removed from the end of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, so it’s the perfect time to make brash comments about the long-term success of all these young men and the franchises who picked them, right? Maybe not exactly, but here’s my rapid reaction to what we saw tonight.
Nobody Knows Anything Yet. I know, that kills much of the rest of this article. But it’s hard to get around the fact that most of these players will never make the NHL and those that do are perhaps 3-4 years out from making their debuts. Outside a select few (perhaps the top four, maybe one or two more players), we won’t see any of these player in NHL arenas next year (excepting their rookie and training camp appearances). Accordingly, any draft day grades (especially on a day without many roster players traded) that suggest “Team A made great selections” is full of crap. Typically teams drafting early in the first round get better players, everybody else is essentially a dice roll from our perspective. Continued success across many years would suggest systemic success for the scouting/talent evaluation of a particular franchise but we’ll not know that from this draft for quite a while.
Columbus Holds Their First Round Picks (And Almost No Team Moves Very Much). As a whole it was remarkable just how few pick-for-player trades happened Sunday. For Columbus in particular, this sets up free agency as the crucial test for Kekalainen and Davidson to reform the Blue Jacket team. But about the picks? I’m not qualified to make scouting evaluations about these players, particularly European guys. However, links with profiles and comparables are useful here:
Alexander Wennberg (14th overall) – Corey Pronman’s profile, Copper & Blue Comparables, TSN profile
Kerby Rychel (19th overall) – Corey Pronman’s profile, Copper & Blue Comparables, TSN profile
Marko Dano (27th overall) – Corey Pronman’s profile, TSN stats page
Dillon Heatherington (50th overall) – Corey Pronman’s profile
Oliver Bjorkstrand (89th overall) – Corey Pronman’s profile, TSN stats page
Nick Moutrey (105th overall) – Corey Pronman’s profile
Markus Soberg (165th overall) – Russian Machine Never Breaks Profile, Elite Prospects Page
Peter Quennville (195th overall) – NHL.com Highlights/Notes
In short? It seems like the Jackets looked for skill in this draft but how any/all of them pan out is completely up in the air. I’m particularly interested in Wennberg and Rychel (who I got to see in a game versus Erie) but that’s all baseless conjecture. check out those links and see what more qualified people have to say. But as previously noted, these selections are more than likely not going to be impact picks for the next year. Excepting the infusions of Boone Jenner and Ryan Murray to the team, it appears that any roster improvements will be made over the course of the free agency period or through trades of existing prospect talent.
And as for the lack of pick movement across the league? Dave Nonis noted on TSN that the lowering salary cap was a real barrier for changing players for picks. That result deprived us of the pure bliss of “We have a trade to announce” more than just a few times early on, but it may set 7/5’s free agency open to be all the more interesting.
Quick Hits. The Vancouver trade of Corey Schneider (the most noteworthy move) seems like a new problem for Roberto Luongo who, by TSN accounts, was checked out of the Canucks and ready to be traded. Particularly, the price for Schneider seemed low to me, but with the whole cap concern situation perhaps that’s the best out-of-division move available? … The whole recurring bloodlines/repeated family players thing in the NHL is more noticeable on day when 7 rounds of draft are lumped into one. Everything old is new again? …
Of course along those lines, two of the better television moments were the three Subban Bros chatting with the TSN host (PK is an especially entertaining personality), and Martin Brodeur drafting his son late in round 7. … Craig Button (TSN’s draft guru) was flabbergasted at the idea of Zach Fucale dropping so far out of the top 10 (and even the first round). By the end of the drop, he almost seemed to take it personally. …
I realize we don’t know anything, but I’m always amused when Calgary’s Jay Feaster makes picks that most scouts seem to find as a reach. Maybe they’ll work out one day, but the Flames seem to be in their own world. … Having all seven rounds in one day was actually reasonably fun for me. Of course, if we later hear that the time pressure limited trades, maybe my enthusiasm for the format will wane. … Clarkson University had another recruit picked in the draft, Troy Josephs by Pittsburgh in the 7th round.