The Oilers didn’t surprise many when they announced Taylor Hall as the first pick in the 2010 entry draft. Hall was regarded as the best player, and in the end the Oilers went with the two-time Memorial Cup MVP.
Despite numerous offers from the Oilers, the Boston Bruins kept the 2nd pick and took Tyler Seguin. Hall and Seguin went everywhere together at the draft, but they won’t see each other very much along the NHL trail, since the Oilers and Bruins only play each other once a year. The Oilers host the Bruins in Edmonton on February 27th, 2011.
The Panthers didn’t shock anyone taking 6’4” behemoth, Erik Gudbranson with the 3rd choice. The Panthers are hoping Gudbranson makes more of an impact than another D-man they took 3rd overall in 2002, Jay Bouwmeester. Gudbranson is much more physical than Bouwmeester, but doesn’t skate as well.
After the first three picks went according to what most predicted the Blue Jackets went off the board a bit by selecting centre Ryan Johansen. “We really like his hockey sense, his skill and his competitiveness. We hope and expect he will be a good player for us, but I don’t expect him to be centering Rick Nash right away,” said Scott Howson.
Nino Niederreiter went 5th to the New York Islanders. Garth Snow felt he needed another scoring forward and he loved Niederreiter’s determination with the puck. With Okposo and Tavares the Islanders have three potentially strong forwards.
The big surprises of the first round were Cam Fowler dropping to 12th in Anaheim and Brandon Gormley falling to 13th after being selected by Phoenix. Both were projected to go in the 4th to 8th range. Scott Niedermayer handed Fowler his jersey,and if Fowler is 70% the player that Niedermayer was the Ducks will be happy.
The Rangers took the toughest kid in the draft, Dylan McIlrath, 10th overall. I loved his comment to the inhouse announcer when asked if he had anything to say to Ranger fans, “You won’t be disappointed. I think my style will fit New York.” Ranger fans have a reputation of being tough, ornery and belligerent, which is exactly how McIlrath plays.
FINALLY A TRADE
The first trade happened almost two hours into the draft when the LA Kings moved up four spots from 19th to 15th and took Derek Forbort. The Panthers received the 19th pick and the 59th. The Panthers chose Nick Bjugstad.
The Sens traded the 16th overall pick to Blues for prospect d-man David Rundblad, chosen 17th overall by St Louis a year ago. Rundblad will play another year in Sweden before coming to Ottawa. The Blues took Russian for Vladimir Tarasenko.
The biggest surprise of the first round came at 17 with Colorado. The Avalanche took forward Joey Hishon. Hishon was ranked 55th coming into the draft. He broke his foot early last year, and that probably affected his ranking.
Phoenix trades the 22nd overall pick and the 113th overall pick to Montreal for the 27th overall pick and the 57th overall pick. The Habs took Jarred Tinordi, son of former NHL D-man Mark Tinordi. The Coyotes took netminder Mark Visentin….. with the 27th pick.
Edmonton native and Oil Kings blueliner, Mark Pysyk went 23rd to Buffalo. Pysyk had a huge contingent of over 20 family and friend in attendance and many of them were wearing Oil Kings jerseys.
The trade that was leaked more than two hours earlier finally was announced, when the Vancouver Canucks traded Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier and the 25th pick to Florida for Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich. The Panthers took Quinton Howden. It took three hours and twenty minutes for the first NHL player to be traded. Hopefully there will be more before we leave LA. The Panthers ended up with three first round picks. Dale Tallon was the busiest GM of the day and the big winner.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“I hope the fans like me. I can’t wait to get to the city and bond with the fans.”
–Taylor Hall when asked what he had to say to Oiler fans. I have a sneaking suspicion Hall won’t have to do much to earn some love from Oiler fans.
“He probably plays more like Andy (Glenn Anderson). Kind of his looks, his physical make up and stature remind me of Messier. I’m not making the comparison that Taylor is going be Mess (Mark Messier) or Andy but, there are things that kind of strike you.”
— Kevin Lowe when asked if he sees a bit of Messier in Hall.
“When I asked him where he wanted to play, some guys that are centremen really want to be centremen, he said ‘I don’t care I will play wherever he doesn’t matter to me, but I tell you I can play centre.’ “That didn’t sway us, but it certainly is an option for us. When you think back to Mess, he started as a winger for a couple years and then moved to centre because he needed the puck more and he was bigger and stronger and more ready for it.”
— Kevin Lowe on if Hall will play centre or wing.
“Our final discussion was today. We met at 12 o’clock. It was a wonderful moment, we had our entire organization in there and Stu articulated his position which was wonderful and we are very pleased.”
— Steve Tambellini on when they made the decision to go with Taylor Hall.
“We were really aggressive in the top half of the round, like most teams, but as we got down into the second half our scouts felt like we didn’t want to give up the picks to move up.”
— Steve Tambellini on trying to acquire another 1st pick.
“They weren’t moving at that point. A lot of teams tried hard when people were falling like that, after the fourth pick things went a lot of different ways on a lot of different lists.”
— Steve Tambellini on if Anaheim or Phoenix were willing to trade so the Oilers could grab Cam Fowler or Brandon Gormley.