NHL Entry Draft Notebook
Even on day two of the NHL Draft, teams get
guys they covet
Nate Ewell and Mike Eidelbes
– While sitting through the second day can
be a harrowing experience for players, it’s a place
where teams can find great value.
went to bed Saturday night, they reevaluated their draft boards
and identified the best remaining players. Some of them, like
Maine's Mike Lundin, didn't last long on day two. He was taken
by Tampa Bay with the fourth pick of the fourth round.
But even players
like Matt Christie, who wasn't picked until Anaheim called his
name in the eighth round, were coveted by the teams that drafted
Christie is a great player," said David McNab, the Ducks
assistant general manager, who likened Christie to two recent
Hobey Baker finalists. "I don't really see any difference
between he and Chris Kunitz as a freshman. To me, that's the comparison.
He was as good as [Derek] Edwardson this year, and he was a Hobey
on a player like the 5-foot-10 Christie, who might have been seen
as too small by some teams, is what the second day of the draft
is all about, according to McNab.
second day, everyone has an opportunity to get guys they like,"
McNab said. "You'll get guys you have rated pretty high,
when other teams are wondering what you're doing, because everyone
rates guys differently."
second-day collegians taken looked like they could prove to be
valuable selections. Thirteen picks after Lundin was taken, the
Islanders tabbed Notre Dame defenseman Wes O’Neill, projected
by many as a top-50 selection. O’Neill’s teammate,
goaltender David Brown, went to Pittsburgh with the first pick
in the eighth round and the Penguins used the first pick in round
nine to grab Brown’s talented Brian Inhacak.
said head scout Greg Malone, are less worried about rankings and
more about selecting the right players, which they feel they've
found in Brown and Ihnacak.
thing about our organization is it doesn’t matter where
ranked," Malone said. "They all get thrown in the hat.
These kids have to go out and prove themselves and the best kids
are the one who are going to end up getting contracts and being
on your team."
Malone need only look across his dining room table to see hard
evidence of the Penguins' philosophy. His son, Ryan, one of the
NHL's top rookie scorers last season, was the 115th overall pick
EARL, DRAFT ANALYST
forward Robbie Earl didn’t need a Maple Leafs official to
praise his skills effusively. The self-described “crowd
pleaser” compared his game to that of Pavel Bure and complimented
Toronto’s scouting staff for making an astute selection.
I have first-day [rounds 1-3] potential and I think Toronto definitely
got a steal here,” Earl said. “Congratulations to
AND HEARD ON THE DRAFT FLOOR
Lowell forward Ben Walter chats with Mike O'Connell and the
Bruins brain trust, after they picked him in the fifth round.
Wisconsin goaltender David McNab, now the assistant general manager
for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, saw his team select two Badgers
in the draft: Kyle Klubertanz and Matt Auffrey.
however, that he wasn't favoring his alma mater, except when it
comes to the finer points of Madison.
just happened to be going to Wisconsin," McNab said. "I
think our scouts heard me talking about State Street all the time,
and they probably wanted an excuse to visit."
Lowell forward Ben Walter isn't doing anything to limit the high
expectations the Riverhawks have for this season.
hockey program at UMass Lowell is really taking off," he
said. "We're only losing one senior and expectations are
going to be high. We're going to do everything we can to win a
can't wait for the Frozen Four – not that the city doesn't
have other events to look forward to.
really excited for it," Blue Jackets general manager Doug
MacLean said. "It's great for Ohio State hockey and great
for the city of Columbus. With that and the World Cup, we've got
two big events coming to town ... and we've got Norah Jones coming
to Nationwide in August."
Vice President of Hockey Operations and Head Scout for the Edmonton Oilers, Kevin Prendergast,
has always been supportive of college hockey, and he loves what
he sees in the college game today.
are getting a little older going into school, and that's helping
the game," Prendergast said. "The USHL has gotten so
good, and the talent pool has gotten really big. There were great
playoffs this year, really in every conference."
general manager Don Waddell offered some music to Michigan State
fans' ears in regards to 2002 top pick Jim Slater.
him a lot this year, and I saw him play," said Waddell, a
former star defenseman at Northern Michigan. "I still think
his development is better off if he stays in school another year."
Los Angeles Kings are going global. In the eighth round they tabbed
Yutaka Fukufuji, the goaltender of the Japanese national team.
Looks like another area for college assistant coaches to start
ECAC, much maligned as the weakest of the "big four"
college conferences, had a good weekend. Sixteen current or future
ECAC players were selected, one more than Hockey East.
New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets called eighth- and
ninth-round time outs, a sure-fire way to feel the wrath of a
weary crowd. At least the Jackets used their extra time to settle
on a college player, Clarkson-bound Grant Clitsome.