Here's to the winners
Five teams deserve props for their draft moves
Posted: Monday June 25, 2007 12:42PM; Updated: Monday June 25, 2007 4:36PM
The winners and losers at the NHL entry draft? May as well ask for the Best Picture nominees of 2011 or the winning numbers for the Mega Millions lottery scheduled for four years from now. Really, it'll be at least that far down the line before we know which teams got it right in Columbus over the weekend.
Of course, everyone's got an opinion. Based on the post-draft thoughts of scouts who were asked to assess the proceedings based on which teams made the most of the day, five clearly impressed their peers with their choices.
5. San Jose Sharks
The Sharks entered the day with no first-round pick (having traded theirs to St. Louis in the Bill Guerin deal in February), but left with a pair: Logan Couture (#9) and Nick Petrecki (#28). GM Doug Wilson -- again proving himself to be a master of asset management -- acquired Toronto's first- and second-round picks in a draft day deal for Vesa Toskala, then packaged them with a third-rounder to St. Louis. That allowed him to move to the ninth pick and grab Couture, a smart two-way center from the Ottawa 67s. With Petrecki -- a massive and very ill-tempered blueliner -- still on the board, Wilson moved a pair of second-rounders to Washington for the pick needed to bulk up his defense.
The Sharks also grabbed a pair of goaltending prospects in the third round: Timo Pelmeier, the top-ranked German; and Tyson Sexsmith, a Canadian who led Vancouver to the Memorial Cup earlier this month.
4. Colorado Avalanche
The Avs came to Columbus hoping to address the two weakest areas in their system: defense and goaltending. They tabbed flashy Team USA captain Kevin Shattenkirk on Friday night, then used two of their three second-rounders to bag Colby Cohen, a 6-2, 200-pound bruiser whose 60 points led all USHL defenders in scoring, and Trevor Cann, who backstopped Canada to gold at the 2006 Under-18 championships. With their fourth-round selection the Avs selected Kent Patterson, a very raw but promising 17-year-old who was ranked as the second-best goalie available by Red Line Report.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets
Going by all the kind words, the Jackets were marvelous hosts for the draft, but that doesn't mean they let their guests have all the fun. Jakub Voracek, ranked by several scouts as the most NHL-ready player in this class, fell into their laps at No. 7 after the Los Angeles Kings shook up the order by selecting defenseman Thomas Hickey at No. 4. Voracek's downfall may have been the "safe pick" label he drew in the weeks leading up to the draft, but as one scout said, "What's wrong with a sure thing?" He looks like a winger the Jackets can pencil into their top six after his remarkable performance in the Quebec League playoffs (24 points in 12 games).
The Jackets also added good value picks with undersized OHL sniper Stefan Legein (No. 37), project defenseman Will Weber (No. 53) and Maxim Mayorov (No. 94), a first-round talent whose stock plummeted due to the lack of a transfer agreement with the Russian federations.
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