If you wanted fireworks, you got ’em.
The Edmonton Oilers were busy by trading Zack Kassian, the 29th pick and two others for the 32nd overall pick. They then used it to select Reid Schaeffer from the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. You can read more about him here.
The start to the first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft was about as electric as they came. Shane Wright had long been considered the No. 1 pick in the draft, but over the course of the day, whispers grew louder the Montreal Canadiens would go a different route.
And when the time game, they walked onto the stage taking Juraj Slafkovsky first overall — the highest a Slovakian player has been drafted in NHL history, and the highest one has been taken since Marian Gaborik went third overall in the 2000 draft.
It made sense for Wright to go second, but instead, another shocker fell as another Slovakian went second overall: Simon Nemec to the New Jersey Devils. The two had a huge hand in helping Slovakia win their first-ever Olympic medal, a bronze at this year’s Olympic Games.
The Arizona Coyotes picked third overall, taking an electric young center in Logan Cooley, and right after, more fireworks.
The Montreal Canadiens made a massive splash in the draft with a pair of trades. They moved defenceman Alexander Romanov and the 98th overall pick to the New York Islanders for the 13th overall pick, before flipping that and the 66th overall pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for Kirby Dach.
It was the big deal we were all waiting for, but uh… things quieted down quite a bit afterward until the Oilers got themselves involved.
I liked both of the things the Oilers did tonight in moving Kassian out, while still being able to retain a first-round pick in this draft. Edmonton clearly felt they had a few players they liked late in the draft, and Schaefer was one of them.
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