BY Jeff Schneberk
The 2013 NHL Draft is now long in the books and even though we are far away from the start of the following hockey season, the real craziness has been officially started. The period of time in which hockey fans and critics voice their opinions over who did well in the draft, who did not do well in the draft and who didn’t even bother trying anything.
I can’t think of a better way to do this, so let’s analyze each team alphabetically.
The Calgary Flames took Sean Monahan with the 6th pick, a centreman from the OHL’s Ottawa 67s. With the 22nd pick, they took Emile Poirier out of Gatineau. Calgary also had the 28th pick taking Morgan Klimchuk out of the WHL’s Regina Pats, and number 67, Keegan Kanzig from Victoria and number 135 Eric Roy out of Brandon of the WHL. Tim Harrison out of Dexter Prep in Massachusetts and Rushan Rafikov from Yaroslavl, and last but not least John Gilmore out of Providence. Well, at least the kid has the right last name. Guessing he does not wear #93.
The Flames are in that rebuilding mode (the same thing that most Canadian franchises have been in and out of for the past 15 years). Calgary technically is on the right path if you consider that Pittsburgh and Chicago both built their Stanley Cup-winning line-ups through drafting.
Calgary had 3 picks in the opening round. Picking Monahan (Ottawa) leaves them in good shape down the middle.
Kanzig is a beast, a 6-foot-7 defenceman from Victoria and they’ve got Eric Roy, the lanky rearguard from Brandon who has a chance to be a very serviceable NHL defender in a few years.
Still there are critics of the Flames’ selections, including the first-round picks, but like with any other team (in any other sport), nobody knows for sure how it will play out. Of course it is always a great argument to say your team had 3 1st-round picks!
Edmonton conveniently follows Calgary, both alphabetically, and by province breakdown.
With the seventh pick overall, Edmonton selected Darnell Nurse (D), out of Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL, Marc-Olivier Roy (C), from the QMJHL, Bogdan Yakimov (C) from Nizhnekamsk (Russia), Anton Slepyshev (LW) out of Ufa, Russia; Jackson Houck, RW, from Vancouver WHL; Kyle Platzer (C) from London (OHL); Aidan Muir (LW/RW), Victory Honda Midget (MWEHL); Evan Campbell (LW) out of Langley (BCHL) and Ben Betker (D) from Everett (WHL); and finally Gregory Chase (C/RW) from the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.
The Oilers have perhaps taken more flak then anyone, for, well, just about everything, from coaching to management, to handling of the players, it is no wonder that this club, once one of the proudest in pro sports (Wayne Gretzky days), has started to turn ship, or at least seem like they have things going in the right directions. There are so many youngsters on the team, they are going to need their ID to get just about everywhere in town. It’s like a nursery in the Rexall Place these days. Well, it appears this young team, has gotten even younger.
I don’t know hardly anything about any of the kids on this list, but judging from other observers, this should turn out to be a very good draft for Edmonton.
Nurse is supposedly a top-notch defender, Roy is a good centre, and they used both of their 3rd round picks on a couple of Russians; that can’t be a bad thing when they already have one of the most talented young Russians named Nail Yakupov, already in their line-up.
Next up is the Montreal Canadiens, who also received a positive reaction in terms of their draft selections. They are: number 25 Michael McCarron (RW) USA U-18s, number 34 Jacob De La Rose (LW) out of Leksand Sweden; number 36, Zachary Fucale (G) from the Memorial Cup Champions, the Halifax Mooseheads; number 55 Artturi Lehkonen (LW) from Kalpa (Finland); number 71 Connor Crisp (LW) from the OHL Erie Otters; number 86 Sven Andrighetto (RW) out of Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL); number 116 Martin Reway (LW) Gatineau and finally number 176 Jeremy Gregoire (C) out of Baie Comeau (QMJHL).
Montreal scout Trevor Timmins and his staff have shown why they are quickly becoming one of the best in this business with another very solid weekend of selections.
McCarron has great size and strength, De La Rose has potential, Fucale gained great experience leading his team to a Memorial Cup champion and could be the next Carey Price???
Then later in the draft, they kept the Quebec-league players in familiar territory, taking Adrighetto and Reway from their ‘Q’ clubs, valued Jacob De La Rose out of Sweden and much-heralded goaltender Zach Fucale from Halifax. Fucale led his team to the 2013 Memorial Cup and was considered by many to be the best goaltender on the board.
The Ottawa Senators are next on my list. They took Curtis Lazar (C/RW) from the Edmonton Oil Kings with the 17th overall selection; number 78 was Marcus Hogbert (G) from the Swedish Junior league; number 102 was Tobias Lindberg (RW) out of Djurgarden Junior; number 108 Ben Harpur (D) from the Guelph Storm OHL; number 138 Vincent Dunn (C) from Val d’Or and number 161 Chris Leblanc (RW) from South Shore; and finally number 168 Quentin Shore (C) out of Denver (NCAA)
The Sens were fortunate to have Curtis Lazar fall to them at the No. 17 spot and the fearless, hard-working winner may cause teams to regret passing on him in years to come. He isn’t the quickest guy in the world, but the kid does everything right and impacts the game invariably every night.
Now according to some critics the next team on the list had the worst draft of the Canadian teams. My Leafs were given a ‘C’ grade but none of the guys who made that grade will probably be around long enough to see if they were right or not. Now Toronto had about half the picks of the other Canadian teams mentioned above; reason for that is that the Leafs have gotten into the (bad) habit of trading all their draft picks away before they can pick them. Luke Schenn and Nazem Kadri are just 2 of the successful 1st rounders that Toronto has made in the last 5 years, and Schenn doesn’t count anymore because they ended up trading him too!
Toronto swung a few deals during draft weekend, like getting Stanley Cup champion David Bolland from the Blackhawks and fellow southern Ontario native David Clarkson through free agency.
Number 21 Frederik Gauthier (C) Rimouski,
Number 82 Carter Verhaeghe (C) Niagara,
Number 142 Fabrice Herzog (RW) from Zug Jr. (Swiss), number 172 Antoine Bibeau (G) PEI (QMJHL), number 202 Andreas Johnson (LW) Frolunda Jr. (Swe.)
To honestly evaluate the Toronto Maple Leafs’ draft, you have to consider that they gave up a second- and a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft (along with a fourth-rounder in 2014) to get David Bolland, which I think was great value but our assignment is to evaluate this year’s selections and we were underwhelmed.
The Leafs used their third-round pick on the rapidly improving (and another big centre!) Carter Verhaeghe from the Niagara IceDogs, which was a solid addition. They also added interesting PEI goaltender Antoine Bibeau, who had a very good year this year despite being passed over in last year’s draft. Overall, the Leafs helped themselves now with the addition of Bolland, but after a couple great drafts they may have addressed organizational needs over taking the best player available which has hurt teams in the past.”
The 2nd last team on the list is the Vancouver Canucks. With the deal of goaltender Corey Schneider, Vancouver acquired the 9th selection in the draft and picked up Bo Horvat (C) from the London Knights. Some ‘expert’ scouts are already talking about Horvat becoming the team captain one day. Wow. Talk about rising expectations for a kid who hasn’t seen his 20th birthday yet.
Next was number 24 Hunter Shinkaruk (C/LW) out of Medicine Hat (WHL); number 85 Cole Cassels (C) Oshawa (OHL); number 115 Jordan Subban (D) Belleville (OHL); number 145 Anton Cederholm (D) Rogle Jr. (Swe.);
number 175 Mike Williamson (D) Spruce Grove (AJHL); and finally at number 205 Miles Liberati (D) London (OHL).
The Canucks draft day was similar to Toronto’s; both teams were impacted moreso through the acquisition of another player. The trading of Schneider probably couldn’t have come at a better time; it also means that Canucks will be keeping the better of the 2 goalies. It also brought in one of the better players in the top-10. To go along with a new coach in John Tortorella, there is some reason for some newfound hope out in mountain country in Canada. With any luck, Luongo will go back to being the poster boy for the team’s chances of winning again. Mind you, there is going to be more than a little pressure on both Tortorella and the 1st round selection. Horvat is said to have good leadership ability; that can only mean good things in Vancouver this season.
Vancouver should also prove to be a good home for the speedy Shinkaruk who played his Junior with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
And added to the mix are a couple kids who already have that NHL-pedigree: Cole Cassels and Jordan Subban; they will have some learning to do but given the time, they should be fine.
And now that brings us to the latest Canadian addition to the National Hockey League. They had a team 15-20 years ago, then they moved, now they’re back, albeit with an absolutely ridiculous emblem that should have scared off at least part of their original fan base, we now conclude our draft analysis in good old Winnipeg.
One of the most promising moments for the Jets saw them acquire former Minnesota Wild Devin Setoguchi.
Number 13 Joshua Morrisey (D) Prince Albertof the WHL; number 43 Nicolas Petan (C) from Portland (WHL); number 59 Eric Comrie (G) Tri-City (WHL); number 84 James Lodge (C) out of Saginaw (OHL); number 91 J.C. Lipon (RW), Kamloops (WHL); number 104 Andrew Coop ( C) Michigan (NCAA); number 114 Jan Kostalek (D) Rimouski (QMJHL); number 127 Tucker Poolman (D) Omaha (USHL); number 190 Brenden Kichton (D) Spokane (WHL); number 194 Marcus Karlstrom (D) AIK U18 (Swe.).
As noted above, Winnipeg has been involved in the NHL for many many years before having returned. Going back to 1986 when they drafted Pat Eylnuik and Teppo Numminen. Bob Essensa and of course Teemu Selanne. Fast forward to 2011 when they got Mark Scheifele, and some observers seem to think they have struck a little more gold. For more ranting on the NHL, please follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Game7overtime