MONTREAL - If everything went according to plan on draft night, it wouldn’t be much fun to watch, would it? Thankfully, the NHL’s 30 GMs and their doggedly determined scouting teams all have different philosophies. Thus, chaos reigns on Friday night.
This year, the top four were pretty clear and no surprises were sprung on those in attendance: Tavares, Hedman, Duchene then Kane. After that, however, the consensus fell apart. Since an abundance of skill available meant some players would rise while others would drop, here’s a look at some players who did not go to the teams predicted, nor in the slots they were placed in.
Nazem Kadri, C – Toronto (seventh overall). A lot of folks were down on Kadri as the season went on, likely neglecting the fact he missed time with a broken jaw, then saw his alpha dog role in London cleaved when John Tavares rolled into town. Kadri, who brings a lot of diversity and skill to any forward position, piled up 47 points in his first 30 games this year before J.T. pulled on a green and white jersey. I expect a healthy Kadri to crack 90 points with London next season.
Calvin de Haan, D – NY Islanders (12th overall). The Isles getting savvy on us! GM Garth Snow traded up twice to grab Tavares’ ex-teammate in Oshawa. The solid offensive defender continued to play excellent hockey even after the Gens lost the future No. 1 overall pick to London and no doubt was selected in part for his chemistry with Tavares.
Hometown Heroes – Though both franchises have avoided local talent in the recent past, both Minnesota and Montreal nabbed fan favorites with defenseman Nick Leddy (16th overall) and center Louis Leblanc (18th overall), respectively. Assuming the NCAA-bound duo isn’t rushed, both moves are smart for two franchises that have been rather adrift lately. Leddy is a budding two-way defenseman, while Leblanc is a big, skilled center – great fits for both teams.
John Moore, D – Columbus (21st overall). Based on his skating acumen, it’s a bit surprising to see Moore drop to the final third of the first round, but considering Columbus was originally slotted at No. 16, the destination isn’t far off.
Jordan Schroeder, RW – Vancouver (22nd overall). It must have been a long evening for Schroeder, who was a legitimate top-10 pick for most of the season. A shaky World Junior Championship for Team USA’s crashed-out contingent must have weighed on the minds of some GMs and, whether it’s fair or not, his size, at just under 5-foot-8, likely impacted his stock.
Philippe Paradis, C – Carolina (27th overall). Ranked 60th in THN’s draft preview, Paradis nonetheless heard his name called among the first 30 on Friday. The Shawinigan Cataracte is considered a very good defensive forward and he does have good size at 6-foot-2 and nearly 200 pounds. High-end skill is a question, but clearly not for Canes GM Jim Rutherford.
Simon Despres, D – Pittsburgh (30th overall). Opinions are scattershot on Despres, but he was included among the top prospects invited to the NHL’s media lunch, which you would think means something. Despres certainly has great size at 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, but some scouts worried about his effort and a tail-off as the season progressed. Not only does Despres get to wear a jersey home Friday night, it’s the reigning champs, to boot.
From the road in Montreal, host Ken Campbell, writer Ryan Kennedy and web content specialist Rory Boylen discuss...
The Chris Pronger trade…
The players that went higher then expected…
Those who fell…
And the high number of Swedes that went in the first round.
Producer: Ted Cooper.
Ryan Kennedy, Ken Campbell and Rory Boylen are at the 2009 NHL Draft in Montreal and each will be filing regular reports throughout the weekend.
Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his column - The Straight Edge - every Friday, and his prospect feature, The Hot List appears Tuesdays.
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