You will never see me do a “winners” and “losers” piece. I can do that in 3-5 years but I do have an opinion and I’ve seen a fair amount of players so I will give you my thoughts. So here are a few teams I thought will get the biggest draft day return:
1) The Montreal Canadiens – I loved their draft. Alex Galchenyuk will be that star to lead them into the future and Sebastian Collberg could be his highly skilled linemate! Dalton Thrower and Tim Bozon should be NHLers as well.
2) Washington Capitals – Filip Forsberg will turn out to be one of the best players from this draft class and the Caps got him with the 11th pick! Thomas Wilson was next and he will play in the NHL. He has the body, heart and desire. Each year if a team can draft two potential NHLers in one draft they’ve done their job. The Christian Djoos pick in the 7th round is great. He has slick moves for a defenseman like his dad, Per, who had a nice career.
3) #3 is a tie. The New Jersey Devils and the Nashville Predators. With the Devils I loved the Stefan Matteau pick. Ranger fans groaned but he’s an impact player. Damon Severson is a terrific all-around defenseman with an offensive upside. Alexander Kerfoot has speed, stick skills, a scoring touch and just has to get stronger and the Devils will be patient with him. He’s only 5-9.5, 5-10 but he could make the NHL someday out of the 5th round.
Colton Sissons, and Pontus Aberg will play in the NHL and Nashville knows that. Jimmy Vesey (listen to our Day 2 show Jimmy was interviewed along with Bryan Trottier and Phil Pritchard, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cardboardconnectionradio/2012/06/23/live-fr...) is the wild card. He came on our radio show. He’s the only player out of the EJHL in this draft. He’s one to watch out for sure.
I loved the Blue Jackets draft as well for those wondering whose next on this list.
So which team “really” played it safe. I’d say it’s the New York Rangers. Brady Skjei will play in the NHL. I have no doubts. Did I feel there were better players on the board, yes. I think Stefan Matteu or defenseman Matt Finn would have been better. Defenseman Esa Lindell dropped to the third because of his contract, not his talent but the team traded their 3rd round pick. Next year’s draft will be stocked but they could have used this player.
The Philadelphia Flyers surprised almost everybody. I hear if you had correctly predicted their top three picks there’s a prize waiting for you at the WFC. I do think that Scott Laughton (a solid 3rd line talent) and Anthony Stolarz (the NAHL is a good league but the talent level isn’t as high as the CHL or NCAA so we’ll see how he develops) are talented and each should play in the NHL someday.
Who was the most surprising pick of the day?
I’d have to say it was Mark Jankowski at 21st by the Calgary Flames. They traded down to get him. He had 53 goals in 57 games in a Canadian prep school, grew six inches in a year and his GM, Jay Feaster, thinks in 10 years he will be the best pick in the draft. Well now it’s on his permanent record and we’ll see.
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