The trades in the first round were not hugely surprising, but added to the mystique. i can’t think of any of them even as bad trades. There were however two moves that just made me scratch my head.
The Edmonton Oilers are clearly still using the franchises last successful model. For those scoring at home, the last cup winning team for the Oilers was 1990. The sloppy fast math on that means 21 seasons have passed since the last time they hoisted Lord Stanley. Twenty one failures in a row with one model would indicate to most people that something needs to change. Clearly the Oilers organization is made of stern enough stuff to shrug off such mortal and pedestrian concerns.
In the last decades worth of drafts their scouting methods appear to be about as sound as blindfolding oneself at last call in a particularly seedy nightspot and expecting to leave with a ten. Sure it might happen, but the most successful defenseman they have drafted in that last decade is Matt Greene who played 151 games in an Oilers uniform. He’s won a Stanley Cup just a couple days back with the Los Angeles Kings. Theo Peckham, taken in the second round of 2005 has played 156 games and recorded 17 points. Those are the two most successful defensemen drafted by the Oilers out of their last 33 defensemen drafted.
How is drafting another forward, however talented acceptable? The clearest possible needs were for quality defensemen who can get the puck out of their zone.
The next big surprise was that Rick Nash didn’t move. With all the quality players floating about and all the teams with two plus in the top sixty, it almost seemed like a missed opportunity for the Columbus Blue Jackets to retool.
When the Philadelphia Flyers were called to the podium, their team being booed loudly wasn’t a surprise. It was however a surprise with team with the most injury (and age) riddled defensive corps in the league mysteriously drafted a forward. Scott Laughton is likely to be quite good in the NHL. However for a team that may never get another shift from future hall of famer Chris Pronger, the 35 year old Kubina, the 37 year old Timonen, the soon to be 37 Lilja, certainly aren’t going to replace themselves. So what gives? Matt Finn, Olli Maatta, Jordan Schmaltz, a number of other quality defensive prospects were still on the board. Do they think Laughton will be the best bastion to protect the fragile and flighty Bryzgalov? Are they going to convert him to defense? Maybe in the future they’ll just skate forwards in all five skater positions? Your guess is as good as mine.