The Edmonton Oilers certainly wasted no time making Connor McDavid the evening’s first selection. Shortly after that, the Buffalo Sabres raced to the stage to welcome Jack Eichel to the fold.
And then things got interesting on& a day that saw three first-round picks change hands, including Calgary sending No. 15 to Boston in a shocking exchange for defenseman Dougie Hamilton, and Boston dealing Milan Lucic to Los Angeles for No. 13, before the proceedings began.
Aside from the humiliation of having its American broadcast partner cut away before the final pick for a college track meet, this was about as entertaining a first round as you're likely to see. It was painted as a draft with the potential to alter the course of a franchise, and more than a few teams appeared to take full advantage of the opportunity.
Among the clear winners:
Sabres: Two bold swaps complemented the drafting of their potential franchise center.
Islanders: GM Garth Snow continued his miracle run, turning unwanted assets into a pair of first-rounders.
Flyers: Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny fell into their laps. GM Ron Hextall has to be wondering why everyone in Philly thinks drafting is so hard.
Maple Leafs: Got their man Mitch Marner at four and then turned their second first-rounder into three picks.
Oilers: Are you kidding? They just landed Connor McDavid!
Bruins: Three mid-round picks; and they reached hard on two of them.
Canucks: Not a bad day at the draft table, but they failed to move a goalie and watched three division rivals make significant acquisitions.
To get a sense of how the night went, scroll down to the bottom and read back up. The tracker is beneath the blog entries.
10:34 p.m. Eight teams will make their first selections in the 2015 draft: Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Calgary, Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis and the Rangers.
10:33 p.m. Keep an eye on the Avs with two of the first 10 picks in round 2 (31, 40) and New Jersey (36 and 41). The Bruins will make three selections (37, 45, 52).
10:30 p.m. Some solid values left on the board for tomorrow's second round. Among the names that should go early: Paul Bittner, Brandon Carlo, Jeremy Roy, Jansen Harkins, Daniel Sprong and Jeremy Bracco.
10:25 p.m. If you were watching the draft on NBCSN, you missed Arizona nabbing Nick Merkley with the final pick of the first round. Great value pick for the Coyotes. Merkley has some Brendan Gallagher in him, playing much bigger than his size, but has more flash and more offensive upside than Montreal's pesky winger.
10:24 p.m. Another trade—this time involving an actual player. Anaheim sends Kyle Palmieri to the forward-starved New Jersey Devils for pick No. 41 and another pick to be named later in the 2016 draft. Ducks might be clearing salary for another move.
10:19 p.m. Columbus uses Toronto's pick to take Swedish defenseman Gabriel Carlsson. Central Scouting ranked him as the second-best European skater, but their enthusiasm wasn't shared across the board by team-affiliated scouts.
10:15 p.m. Toronto trades down for the second time, shipping the 29th pick they acquired moments ago from the Flyers to Columbus for Nos. 34 and 68. Obviously they feel like the player they want will drop. Either way, they're multiplying assets—exactly what a team in the earliest stages of a rebuild needs to do. Not bad for a team without an official GM.
10:11 p.m. Montreal reaches (slightly) to grab Noah Juulsen of the Everett Silvertips.
10:08 p.m. The Islanders are at it again, acquiring selection No. 28 from the Lightning in exchange for No. 33 and No. 72. That'll be the second first rounder used tonight by the Isles—not bad for a team that showed up tonight without a first.
10 p.m. One of the benefits of bringing hockey to non-traditional markets. Jack Roslovic (25th, to Winnipeg) is first Columbus-born and trained player to be selected in the first round. Nice to see the impact of the Blue Jackets on the grassroots of the game.
9:56 p.m. Great night for the Flyers. Additions of Provorov and Konecny adds luster to a system that was already in the best shape it had been in years. It'll be interesting to see if they're able to move up in the second round on Saturday. The buzz suggests they'd like to put themselves in better position to grab a goalie, either Daniel Vladar or MacKenzie Blackwood.
9:50 p.m. Six picks remaining in the first round. Notable names still on the board: forwards Jansen Harkins, Nick Merkley, Paul Bittner and Daniel Sprong; defense Brandon Carlo, Oliver Kylington and Jeremy Roy.
9:46 p.m. I have a feeling he'll like it in Buffalo, too
9:41 p.m. Here's the amazing story about Brock Boeser that they're referencing on the draft broadcast. Well worth a read when the first round is in the books.
9:43 p.m. We have a trade. The Flyers acquire No. 24 from Toronto in exchange for No. 29 and No. 61. I could see Travis Konecny here. Character player who plays bigger than his size. Would be a nice fit on the Flyers.
9:38 p.m. Per Kirk Luedeke, the selections of Jack Eichel, Noah Hanifin and Colin White marks the first time three Massachusetts natives were selected in the first round.
9:37 p.m. This is cool:
9:31 p.m. The Caps take Russian goalie Ilya Samsonov at No. 22. He's the first goalie to be drafted in the first round since Malcolm Subban (Boston) and Andrei Vasilevskiy in 2012 and the fourth Russian overall.
9:26 p.m. Ottawa grabs Colin White at 21. Maybe the best value pick of the first round (so far). Scout I've been texting with promises he will be a more prolific offensive player than people expect. Either way, he's going to be a two-way machine for the Sens.
9:20 p.m. Joel Eriksson Ek to the Wild. Solid pick who plays the game the Minnesota way. Smart, committed three-zone player. Won't dazzle with any one particular skill set but does everything well.
9:10 p.m. One more note on the Reinhart deal. Isles GM Garth Snow managed to squeeze picks No. 16 and 33 out of Edmonton for a prospect with eight NHL games on his resume. Meanwhile, Don Sweeney got No. 15, 45 and 52 for Dougie Hamilton, a player widely regarded as one of the best young defensemen in the game. Someone remind me why Snow wasn't one of the three finalists for the GM of the Year Award? The guy just keeps racking up wins.
9:05 p.m. I'm stunned the Bruins weren't in on the Griffin Reinhart action. Could easily have flipped a couple of picks, including 15, to the Isles to grab a player who brings size and smarts and desperately needed a change of scenery to reach the potential that many saw in him when he was selected fourth in 2012.
9:01 p.m. Think Winnipeg at 17 is the first team to congratulate the Blackhawks for winning the Cup. The Jets grab Kyle Connor with their pick—can legitimately say "We can't believe he was still there" when they do the post-pick stop-and-chat. He's an offensive wizard who plays at a blazing pace. He's a project, probably four years away, but he could be a very special player. What a year for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.
9:00 p.m. Text from a long-time Bruins fan: "Guess we can enjoy watching Patrice Bergeron win faceoffs next year ... and not much else."
8:52 p.m. Oilers trade No.16 and No. 33 to the Islanders for Griffin Reinhart. Islanders had depth on D, Oilers needed help. Makes sense for both sides. Reinhart won the Memorial Cup with the Edmonton Oil Kings back in 2012.
8:46 p.m. Maybe in the future we'll all look back at June 26 as the day Don Sweeney proved himself to be the most astute prognosticator of talent in the NHL. More likely though, it'll be remembered as the day he gave away Dougie Hamilton for peanuts and then wasted Calgary's first-rounder on Zach Senyshyn, a player who skated mostly fourth line minutes for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and was widely expected to be available deep into the second round. Nothing wrong with reaching for a player, but this feels like a total mismanagement of the asset when players like Barzal, Konecny, White and others are still on the board. Someone needs to throw Sweeney a lifeline. The water's looking a little deep for him today.
8:42 p.m. Bruins go with Jake DeBrusk at 14. Skates well, can score in a number of ways. Not afraid of paying the price to get to the greasy areas.
8:32 p.m. Bruins take best D-man on the board with Jakub Zboril with pick 13. Solid shutdown guy who can chip in on the second power play. Have to think they grab Kyle Connor and one more forward with the other pick (Barzal, Konecny or White).
8:20 p.m. The home crowd at the BB&T Center loves the pick of Lawson Crouse at 11. Can't blame 'em. 6' 4" power forward could make the jump to the NHL next season and join a group that already includes six players 6' 2" or taller. #humongousbig
8:18 p.m. Buffalo forward Evander Kane gives his boss four claps for his work so far tonight:
8:07 p.m. Well, I missed that one. Timo Meier goes to San Jose at 9. The Swiss winger is a multi-dimensional attacker, capable of playing a finesse game or skating over defenders who stand in his way. He's the first QMJHL player off the board. Could be a big night for the Q with 5-7 possible selections after having just one last year (Winnipeg's Nikolai Ehlers).
8:03 p.m. Big day for American hockey. According to NHL, this is the first time in draft history that three college freshmen were selected among the top-10 picks: Eichel at 2, Hanifin at 5 and now Zach Werenski to Columbus at 8.