Monday, June 23, 2008


Well this was supposed to be a wacky post handing out grades for the Draft, but after some thought about the experience that was the 2008 Entry Draft I was left with a feeling that it just wasn’t that eventful to warrant such a post. Not quite a yawn-fest mind you, but a bit on the lackluster side. Instead of an off the wall post I’ll give you my take on some key moves/picks that took place.

When the hell did the Coyotes learn how to draft? There are just some things in life that you can count on –

1. The sun rising

2. A rainstorm just after you washed the car

3. That annoying guy at work that thinks he’s your pal will try to make small talk with you on subjects he knows absolutely nothing about

4. The Yotes will draft the worst possible players available in any given draft

Well we can now scratch #4 off the list because the Coyotes have drafted well in consecutive drafts and this one has got to be their best ever. They used their 1st round picks wisely by adding a future scorer in Boedker and a possible menace on ice in Tikhonov (if he plays with the same emotion he displayed for Russia in the World Juniors). Going with some big boys with the next 3 picks in Staal, Stone and Brodeur shows a commitment to getting tougher to play against in the near future. They were able to shed deadweight and cap chokers in Boynton and Ballard while acquiring a gem in Jokinen to give them (as well as Jokinen) a serious chance at the playoffs next season. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the question. When did the Coyotes learn how to draft? When they added Greg Malone to their scouting staff.

Another team that must be grinning from ear to ear is the Blue Jackets. They landed Umberger (played college hockey for Ohio State), selected what may be the most dynamic player in the draft in Filatov and loaded up with big defensemen with big potential in the future. The Jackets are hoping that this Russian turns out to be more like Ovechkin than Zherdev. No, the Jackets didn’t exactly hit it out of the park on draft day, but GM Scott Howson must be pleased with how well they did with the picks they had.

The Bruins rolled the dice with their selections, banking more on character type players than actual skill level. They went center happy hoping that one or two will pan out (centers taken in past rounds have been less than stellar). Only time will tell if the gamble will pay off. Perhaps the biggest gamble was trading up to pick Arniel. He must have interviewed well and there must be more to the story with this guy or at least another side to the story. That’s not to take away from another gamble they took with their first pick in Joe Colborne. With a ton of high ranking talent left on the board with the 16th overall pick the B’s raised a few eyebrows when they selected Colborne. Mostly due to the fact that he played in the AJHL against what most see as inferior competition. However, the Bruins see more in this guy and most likely hope that his time at the University of Denver will go a long way for his development at a higher level. Now if the hush-hush news about Wheeler comes to bear fruit and they are able to land Hossa, the gambles on draft day won’t look as bad if they don’t pan out.

The Lightning may have gotten the best overall player in the draft in Stamkos, but did little after that to address their need to add depth to their future backend. We all knew that they would get the leftovers when it came to defensemen and goaltenders, but instead of taking the best available with the 62nd overall pick the Bolts (in all of their infinite wisdom) traded down to take another forward with the 117th pick. They finally took a goaltender with the 122nd pick and chose Tokarski who ranked 9th in North American goaltenders. They didn’t pick a defensemen until the 6th round where they took two. So much for playing it smart and shoring up the weak areas in your system. They did however get the green light from the new ownership to be aggressive in the free agent market this year. The only trouble with that is they also set a cap limit of $44 million, when they already have $35 million committed to payroll next season. I’m sorry, Bolts fans, but $9 million isn’t enough to be aggressive and fill the holes on that roster.

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