2) The biggest winners:
- N.Y Rangers- They were way down at the 17th spot. For all intents and purposes they shouldn't have expected to see an impact type player that low. Especially in this 'weak' draft. However, for a myriad of reasons, when Glen Sather, et al stepped up to the mic, Alexi Cherepanov was still available. According to reports:"Aside from Pat Kane, no draft eligible player played the game at as high a level this season". Why was he there? Transfer agreement? Come on. Malkin played last year without one. Inconsistency? Again, come on. That could describe any of the players drafted. Like all picks time will be the deciding factor, but as of now The Rangers were Big winners this weekend!
- Pittsburgh- Similar to the Rangers. The Pens weren't picking in the top 5 for the first time in years.(20th) Yet, when it was their tun, who was available? None other than Angelo Esposito. The player who scouts not too long ago were saying was a 'can't miss' and will be chosen first overall. The combination of playing under the microscope and having a bit of a down season plummeted his stock, but did he really suddenly lose skill? Going to Pitt, he will have ZERO pressure to perform right away. With guys named Crosby, Malikin and Staal ahead of him he won't have to be an impact player immediately. (Note: As this blog has stated on many occasions, we believe Malkin will NOT be in Pitt long term. Therefore with Staal, Espo and a few other talented prospects in the fold a trade of Evgeni at some point is even more possible.) Mr. Shero definitely had a nice weekend for his Penguins!
- Chicago- How could a team drafting first NOT be a big winner. With Kane they got a player who all have said is the most skilled player available this year. Add that to last years Towes, who will be in camp in the fall, you finally have something to look forward to in Chicago! (How long has it been since that could be said?!?)
3) Biggest Losers:
- N.Y. Islanders- If they don't resign Ryan Smyth the trade that landed him will look very bad for the boys on the Island. AS of today 6/24, Garth Snow has yet to sign the center. Rumors are he basically gave him a blank cheque, and was still rebuffed. As each day goes by the chances of them retaining Smyth dwindle. Once he goes on the open market we say its about zero. The Isles gave up 2 former first rounders AND this years(15th) for Smyth. Add to that the 2nd rounder the gave the Caps for Zednik, the Isles didn't afford themselves much to improve the team this weekend.
- Washington Caps- With a bevy of top defensive prospects/players both in junior/college/AHL, and on the NHL level what did George McPhee do with his top 3 picks? Well of course, he picked 3 more defensemen. Granted their first pick Karl Alzner was the highest rated defender available, but with a huge hole at center and after AO and Semin the team lacks a first line forward, you'd think GMGM would use his picks to bolster the areas which the team was weakest. In addition, and we admit its still possible, they did NOT make the anticipated trade to get that 'top center'. The pick of Alzner does free up the team to deal a defender or two, but will that be enough to get the player they promised their fans/Ovechkin they'd get?
4) The anticipated move to mimic the Ducks and their size wasn't too evident especially in the first round. More than 1/3 of the 1st rounders were 6 foot or under. Evidently the consensus of GM's/scouts is that faster skilled players are still what gets noticed. Size is secondary.
5) We are told that a great many deals were close, but in the end many GM's got cold feet. Perhaps being on in prime time made a few camera shy? Well, not really, BUT we were also told that quite a few discussed deals had "significant ground work" done so it won't be surprising to see a few major type deals come to fruition before the free agency frenzy starts in just over 6 days from now. One asst GM told FAUXRUMORS that a few 'significant shake up of rosters is likely, and its also probable that most teams will have their September rosters almost completely set in 2 weeks! Those are a lot of transactions folks! Stay tuned!