June 24 2016 01:05PM
Round one of the draft begins tonight at 5 p.m. MDT and will wrap up around 9 p.m. It is a long night, but a very exciting one for players, families, scouts, management and fans.
History tells us to expect a significant trade, and Oilers fans are hoping it involves their team, but Anaheim, Buffalo, Arizona and Calgary are other teams to watch. There will likely be a trade no one has been discussing either. Those are the best, because they surprise everyone.
Tonight, 30 young men will fulfill their dream of being drafted, while another 181 will wait until tomorrow to hear their name. What a ride it will be for them, and for fans across the NHL, who will wait with anticipation to see what moves and selections their teams make.
Let's get it going.
June 24 2016 10:18AM
Every year, the NHL Entry Draft becomes more diverse. At the 1979 NHL entry draft 126 players were drafted and 111 of them (88%) were Canadian. At last year's draft only 37.8% (80) of the 211 players drafted hailed from Canada. The NHL has changed a lot in 26 years, and for kids growing up in Canada the dream of getting drafted, and then playing in the NHL, is becoming harder by the day.
Getting drafted is a huge honour, and whether you are drafted in the first round tonight or in the seventh round on Saturday, the young men and their families should take a few days to celebrate a wonderful accomplishment.
This weekend players should focus on all the hard work and commitment it took to get them here. There will be a lot of time to worry about the next steps needed to become an NHL player, but they should take a moment to enjoy this important first step.
June 23 2016 01:00PM
It is draft day eve, which has many of you as excited as an eight year old waiting for ol' Saint Nick to arrive with a bag full of presents. There has been so much talk and anticipation waiting to see what Peter Chiarelli might do tomorrow or Saturday, and it is finally here.
Chiarelli isn't the only GM open for business. Many other organizations are looking to make a big move.
June 22 2016 05:03PM
We are live in Buffalo, which is amazing because I had the ultimate traveler brain cramp: Dustin Nielson and I pulled up to the border crossing in Buffalo and handed our passports to the customs agent. He asked the usual questions. What are you here for? How long will you be staying? Why are the Oilers still terrible? Well he didn't ask the last one, but he was probably thinking it.
He scanned our passports, then looked at me and said, "Your passport is expired." I replied, true story, "Really, my birthday isn't until October." He stares at me and was likely thinking, 'Does this guy work for the Oilers? No wonder they are still terrible.'
He actually replied, "It expired last month. Be sure you get a new one when you get home."
He was a good dude, and we made it to Buffalo where hockey fever has gripped the city. NHL Draft 2016 sign are everywhere downtown and there will be a lot of moves to discuss, debate and analyze in the next few days.
June 20 2016 11:15AM
There will be no shortage of NHL story lines this week. The NHL's 31st franchise, Las Vegas, will become official on Wednesday and, more importantly, the rules for the expansion draft will be finalized. Then we role into the 2016 NHL draft on Friday and Saturday and Saturday is also the first day unrestricted free agents can begin talking to NHL teams.
Buckle up, it should be a fun week.