Draft Diaries: Live from the draft floor in Nashville
2 months ago
For weeks, even months, people who cover the NHL Draft said that the drama was going to start at fourth overall. Well, things changed. In the hours leading up to the NHL Draft in Nashville, the rumblings that Ducks GM Pat Verbeek was going to switch things up grew louder and louder.
At first, the speculation was that he would snag Russian superstar Matvei Michkov but that wasn’t the case. Michkov didn’t even end up being the first Russian off the board.
No, instead the first-year GM hopped onto the draft stage and selected Swedish centreman Leo Carlsson. The crowd reacted almost the same way they did last year when Shane Wright didn’t go second overall after Juraj Slafkovsky. For months it was supposed to go Bedard – Fantili – Carlsson but that wasn’t the case.
The 2023 NHL Draft got interesting way quicker than everyone thought it would.
It also got boring in a hurry. After Michkov went seventh overall to the Flyers, which was predictable, there really wasn’t a lot of drama.
The Red Wings made a surprise pick by taking Nate Danielson at ninth overall, but Steve Yzerman going a little off the board is nothing new. He did it a few years ago with Moritz Seider and it worked out beautifully. Some people will say they reached with that pick, but I wouldn’t bet against Yzerman.
The crowd came alive when the Predators stepped up to the podium at 15th overall. It’s always fun to see the hometown fans get excited at the draft. The city has been a vibe and the Preds have a very solid fan base.
I’m not much of a draft nut. I don’t do any scouting and my only knowledge comes from reading scouting reports, so the rest of the picks just rolled in like a bland wave.
Last year in Montreal, we had a couple of stunning trades. First, the home team traded away Alexander Romanov and the crowd was not happy, but then Gary Bettman dropped the second part of the trade and they went bananas when they found out that their team had landed Kirby Dach.
This year: nothing.
It was really disappointing to not have any drama after the seventh overall pick.
I thought we were for sure going to get an Alex DeBrincat trade (my prediction was Detroit) or at least a few spots where teams would move down but non of that happened.
As we head into day two, there are a lot of really big names on the board. The Jets still have Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Schiefele available plus they’ll need to make a big decision on Blake Wheeler. Buy out or trade at 50% retained? Both are still options.
The Flyers also have a lot of pieces that they’ll be looking to move.
I’ll be getting Frank Seravalli’s perspective on all of that tomorrow at 8 AM mountain time on a special edition of DFO Live. Head over to the DFO YouTube to find that.
Jason Gregor and I will also be going live on the Oilersnation YouTube following the final pick of the draft.
PRESENTED BY BETWAY
Unsurprisingly, the Oilers didn’t get up to much on day one of the draft. There just wasn’t a lot that they could do either. None of the assets that they’re reportedly open to trading have anywhere close to first-round value.
They should be more active on day two where they’ll currently hold the 56th overall pick. I would not be the least bit surprised if they end up moving back a little bit. If a team wants to offer them a bonus pick in a later round in order to move maybe 10-12 spots, then I think Ken Holland should do it.
It might even make sense to slide back a little and get a pick in the 2024 draft that you can use at next year’s trade deadline.
Holland will also be trying to move out a contract. All the focus is on Kailer Yamamoto. There is reportedly a market for him and the Oilers desperately need cap space, so getting out from Yamamoto’s $3.1 million has to happen, even if the return is only a sixth or seventh-round pick.
I liked Yamamoto and it’ll be an unfortunate end to his Oilers career, but it needs to happen and I fully expect that deal to break on day two of the draft.
Talk to you tomorrow, when we should have some Oilers-related action.
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