Rossy’s Canada Day Ramblings (Draft Thoughts)

Dean Youngblood



Monday, July 1st, 2013



HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We love hockey and …….beer!


The 2013 NHL Entry Draft is in the books and what a day! A looooong day! There were certainly some surprises both on the draft floor with trades and on the draft stage with selections.


I was shocked to see that New Jersey acquired Cory Schneider from Vancouver for the only the 9th overall selection. Thought it would’ve taken much more to land that kind of goaltending prospect but once the Canucks selected Bo Horvat with the 9th pick,  it made a little more sense.  Horvat is a player with loads of intangibles and is a big game competitor; he has been all of his life. He will likely compete in the Canuck’s future second line centre spot and contribute on their top PK unit and PP unit, as a net front presence. Horvat has been developed by the Hunter brothers in London and he has become one of the most complete players in this draft class. Expect Horvat to be the future Captain of the Canucks at one point.  I did however expect a larger return for Schneider but it was clear Gillis handcuffed himself.


New Jersey got a great deal here as Cory Schneider will slowly take the reins from Brodeur over the next year.


The other notable trade that took place was Dave Nonis acquiring Blackhawks centre David Bolland for the 51st pick, 3rd round pick and additional 4th round pick (2014). Good deal for both sides. I like the addition of Bolland for the Leafs and it came at a reasonable price. Toronto lands another centre option, albeit not an ideal top line centre, and picks up another player who is hard to play against. As a closet Leafs fan, I would prefer them to be a team built on skill (like the Blackhawks and Penguins) but the franchise is clearly leaning towards building a team that is extremely hard to play against. I don’t mind this route as long as it produces results….and it should.


Staying with the Leafs, I was pretty excited to see some big names remain on the draft board when their 21st overall pick came due as they had the option to select Hunter Shinkaruk (this year’s draft day slider), Andre Burakovsky (a forward with awesome offensive skills/patience), Ryan Hartman (two-way hard to play against skilled forward) and Adam Erne (big speedy north south scoring winger). In the end, Nonis and company chose to select Frederik Gauthier, a big bodied committed, hard-working centre with a win-at-all-cost attitude. I don’t mind the pick as Gauthier is the type of player that wins championships. If he can reach his top-six upside, I will absolutely be thrilled with this picks. My gut tells me that I would’ve liked to see Hunter Shinkaruk in the blue and white (the type of player I prefer). Time will tell I guess.


Over the next week, I will break down how each team did with their draft selections so check back often but after a quick scan of the team’s selections, here are my top 3 teams from yesterday’s draft.


1. Buffalo Sabres – After taking two excellent forwards in Grigorenko and Girgensons at the 2012 draft, Buffalo responded and landed two very good defensemen in Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov on Sunday. In addition to these big defensemen, Buffalo grabbed the highly competitive and versatile pivot in JT Compher with the 35th pick, a selection they dealt Andrej Sekera for during the draft. In addition to the 35th pick, Buffalo also received Jamie McBain from the Carolina Hurricanes giving the skilled rearguard a fresh start.


Moving forward, Regier and his draft team selected the top high schooler in Connor Hurley, big skilled smart forward who is the youngest player available in the draft, and then added Justin Bailey, another big highly skilled shooter who grew up in Buffalo. Buffalo stayed with taking forwards grabbing Nicholas Baptiste, an under-the-radar skilled forward who came on strong late in his draft season in Sudbury. Next up, Sabres grabbed a goaltender who unexpectedly fell in Calvin Petersen (great value pick here). Rounding out their draft day were Gustav Possler, defenseman Anthony Florentino, American forward Sean Malone and overager Eric Locke, who was outstanding value in the 7th round. To be honest, Buffalo did absolutely amazing at every position in the draft. Excellent.


2. Winnipeg Jets – The Jets can leave the draft floor very satisfied after addressing multiple positions with some great value selections. Winnipeg welcomes an offensive wizard on the backend with their 1st round selection in Josh Morrissey,