Mothers cried, fathers smiled, and lives changed forever.
31 young men found themselves drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry draft and now today, another 186 will hear their names called; a life long goal for every player.
The New Jersey Devils kicked things off by selecting unanimous C Jack Hughes first overall, while the New York Rangers took Finnish star F Kappo Kakko second overall.
From there, things got interesting.
C Kirby Dach was a bit of a surprise pick to the Chicago Blackhawks at third overall, landing D Bowen Byram into the laps of the Colorado Avalanche at fourth overall.
Tyson Barrie’s name has once again, as it always seems to do at this time of year, popped up in trade rumours. I think with Byram going to Colorado to join Cale Makar on the backend, Barrie could be shipped out as soon as today.
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Vancouver has seemed to be linked to him, so it will be interesting to see what comes of that.
But to more important things, like the Oilers drafting D Philip Broberg 8th overall.
I’m of the mind that you need to have a very good defence to make a deep push in the playoffs, and those words were echoed by Oilers GM Ken Holland last night.
“You know, those teams that go for long playoff run, set up good defense, deep defense, big defense, and we’re going to build a good deep, big defense,” he told reporters after the draft.
There were plenty of forward options for Edmonton at 8, but I’m okay with them having stuck to their guns and got the man they really wanted.
By all accounts, Broberg is projecting to be a very solid top-four, two-way defenceman who has offensive upside with his elite skating. His skating is so good, that The Athletic’s Corey Pronman said his skating is “right up there with Jack Hughes as the best pure skater in this draft class” adding “for 6-foot-3, Broberg is a truly special skater and it’s why he has a lot of NHL teams excited about his potential.”
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His ability to turn offence into defence is going to be a great asset for an Edmonton club who has struggled mightily to have rearguards who could do that.
As we look ahead into the second through seventh rounds of the draft, Edmonton holds the 38th pick with a load of good talent left.
I’d like to see Edmonton take a forward with their 38th pick — preferably Arthur Kaliyev or Bobby Brink.
Both are high-scoring wingers who put up some big numbers in their respective leagues. Kaliyev scored 51 goals and 51 assists in 67 OHL games, while Brink racked up 35 goals and 33 assists in 43 games.
I think either player could very easily be considered a steal and doubly so considering both were ranked as first-round prospects.
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I suspect the trade market might pick up a little bit in the coming days. There was lots of talk of Friday being very busy on the trade front, but those all seemed to fizzle out. One could imagine it being due to an unclear cap situation the NHL needs to fix.
None the less, Holland spoke about his desire to sign/acquire a goaltender, pick up some cheap forwards, but most notably, his desire to get a top-six forward.
Edmonton is going to be in tough given they have the seventh-least amount of room to work with. Cory Perry’s name has been thrown around a lot, and I think he would make sense on a deal in the $2-million range.
Their desire to acquire a top-six player will be hindered by their lack of cap space.
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Jason Gregor reported Friday teams were calling on Kris Russell, who I would trade for a mid-round pick in a heartbeat. I also wonder if talks pick up on Milan Lucic today.
None the less, buckle up because I think it’s going to be an interesting week.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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