For a weekend that was supposed to be all about the kids, the biggest winners of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft included a pair of teams that chose to go with experience over potential.
Obscured by a flurry of trade activity, the Lightning made the most of the first overall pick, adding center
The Bolts also won the Good Guys award for tabbing
As much as Tampa Bay improved, top marks go to the Phoenix Coyotes, a team that last week lost
With their turns at the podium, the Desert Dogs made several bold choices.
Tikhonov, grandson of the legendary Russian coach, was the top forward at the 2008 World Juniors and, at 20, could join Boedker in the 2008-09 lineup. He projects as an exiting 25-30 goal winger.
Although they were relatively quiet in the drafting process, selecting just five players, Montreal spent the weekend making splashy moves designed to keep them among the top teams in the East.
The Canadiens avoided the standard incubation period associated with the 25th overall pick by dishing the choice to the Flames in exchange for
The Kings went into the weekend with 15 picks total, including 10 of the first 101. They ended up making just nine after a series of swaps, but came away with three prime blueline candidates in
The Kings also made a couple of interesting late-round selections in
The Devils traded down to add a second- and third-rounder to their arsenal of picks, but still managed to land
To Anaheim, simply for parlaying the 12th overall pick into two first-rounders, the latter of which was flipped for a pair of high seconds.
To Columbus for snatching
To Nashville for filling two obvious organizational needs with first rounders Colin Wilson and Chet Picard
To the New York Islanders for making hay with potential first-rounders
While it's easy to guess which teams beat the odds, it's tougher to label a team a loser at this early junction. Still, a couple made some curious decisions over the weekend.
While every other club was loading up on skill in the first round, the Leafs gave up a pair of valuable assets (a second- and third-rounder) to move up two spots in the first to grab shutdown defenseman
Among the six other players selected by Toronto was
Florida added a nice piece in
Boston will need to get some value out of second-rounder