Draft Day Blog
2:55 PM - Roll call is underway in Vancouver. All 30 teams are called on to ensure their attendance and make sure the microphones on each draft table are in working order. Since the draft is in Vancouver, every Canadian team that was called on was jeered by the Canucks faithful (with Toronto drawing the most ire.) At the time the Ducks were called a fan in the upper deck shouted 'I love you Brian Burke!' The former Canucks President and GM is heading up the Ducks draft table with Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Chuck Fletcher.
3:12 PM - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is making opening remarks. Let's take this time to look at the first round draft order:
1. St. Louis, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Chicago, 4. Washington, 5. Boston, 6. Columbus, 7. NY Islanders, 8. Phoenix, 9. Minnesota, 10. Florida, 11. LA, 12. Atlanta, 13. Toronto, 14. Vancouver, 15. Tampa Bay, 16. Montreal, 17 Minnesota, 18 Colorado, 19. ANAHEIM, 20. San Jose, 21. NY Rangers, 22. Philadelphia, 23. Washington, 24. Buffalo, 25. New Jersey, 26. Calgary, 27. Dallas, 28 Ottawa, 29. Detroit, 30 St. Louis
3:17 PM - ST. LOUIS BLUES select defenseman ERIK JOHNSON with the first overall selection. Johnson had become the consensus first overall selection since January. Johnson is a 6'-4", 222-pound defenseman out of the US National Development program. NHL Central Scouting describes him as a 'powerful skater with a long, smooth stride who has tremendous acceleration in open ice.'
3:21 PM - The first trade of the day is between COLORADO AND CALGARY. The Avs trade Alex Tanguay to the Flames for Jordan Leopold, their 2006 second round pick and a future conditional pick in 2007 or 2008. Tanguay had 29 goals and 49 assists this season for Colorado and Leopold, a defenseman, had two goals and 18 assists for Calgary.
3:26 PM - PITTSBURGH PENGUINS select center JORDAN STAAL with #2. A native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Staal played for Peterborough of the OHL last season. A 6'-4", 215-pound centerman, CSS describes Staal as "a premier forward who is an excellent skater with a wide base style that makes him solid on his skates." Staal's older brother Eric stars for the Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes.
3:30 PM - CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS select forward JONATHAN TOEWS out of the University of North Dakota with #3. Toews is known for 'excellent acceleration, agility and quickness and is an extremely smart player who is versatile' according to CSS. A Winnipeg native, Toews had 17 goals and 11 assists in 34 games with the Fighting Sioux this season.
3:36 PM - WASHINGTON CAPITALS select Swedish center NICKLAS BACKSTROM with #4. At 6', 183-pounds, Backstrom is described as a 'solid overall player with terrific overall skill level. Backstrom becomes the first European player to be selected in 2006. At Brynas of the Swedish Elite League, Backstrom had 10 goals and 16 assists in 46 games last season. The pick was announced by 2004 first overall pick Alexander Ovechkin.
3:44 PM - BOSTON BRUINS select University of Minnesota forward PHIL KESSEL with the fifth pick. Kessel was on the top of many people's 2006 draft board prior to this past season - Kessel's first at Minnesota. A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Kessel is a 'very fast and quick skater who often surprises opponents with an extra gear' according to CSS. In 34 games at Minnesota, Kessel scored 14 goals and 28 assists.
3:49 PM - COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS select center DERICK BRASSARD with the sixth overall selection. CSS says Brassard is adept at 'changing direction quickly in tight quarters and can carry the puck end-to-end'. Brassard is a Quebec native who skated for Drummondville in the Q last season.
3:54 PM - NEW YORK ISLANDERS select Minnesota native KYLE OKPOSO with the seventh overall selection. Okposo, a right wing, skated for Des Moines of the USHL last season where he tallied 27 goals and 31 assists in 50 games. He plans to attend the University of Minnesota this season.
3:59 PM - PHOENIX COYOTES select another Minnesota native PETER MUELLER with the eighth overall pick. Mueller's selection was announced by Wayne Gretzky. Mueller, a centerman, has deceptive speed with the puck according to CSS. At 6'2", 205 pounds, Mueller says he patterns his style after Boston Bruins young center Patrice Bergeron.
4:06 PM - MINNESOTA WILD selects center JAMES SHEPPARD with the ninth pick. Sheppard is a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Sheppard played last season at Cape Breton of the QMJHL where he had 30 goals and 54 assists in 66 games. The 6', 1" 204 pound forward is described by CSS as a 'good skater with a long fluid stride and agility.'
4:11 PM - FLORIDA PANTHERS select Czech forward MICHAEL FROLIK with the 10th pick. Frolik is 6', 1", 185-pounds and is a 'finesse player with all the moves needed' according to CSS.
4:15 PM - LOS ANGELES KINGS select the first goaltender of the draft, JONATHAN BERNIER, with the 11th pick. Bernier was the top-rated North American Goaltender by Central Scouting. A native of Laval, Quebec, Bernier played at Lewiston of the Quebec League last season and posted a 1.46 GAA and .908 Save Percentage in 54 games.
4:19 PM - ATLANTA THRASHERS select center BRYAN LITTLE with the 12th overall selection. Little is a native of Edmonton and is described as a 'highly skilled playmaker who sees the ice very well' according to CSS. Last season at Barrie of the OHL, Little had 42 goals and 67 assists in 64 games.
4:25 PM - TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS select Czech center JIRI TLUSTY with the 13th overall pick. Tlusty likes to shoot the puck with a very hard shot according to CSS. A 6', 196-pound centerman, Tlusty was the third-highest rated European Skater by CSS.
4:30 PM - VANCOUVER CANUCKS select Austrian right wing MICHAEL GRABNER with the 14th pick. Grabner is 6', 170-pounds and played last season at Spokane of the CHL's Western Hockey League. Grabner had 36 goals and 14 assists in 67 games for Spokane in 2005-2006.
4:34 PM - TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING selects Finnish goaltender RIKU HELENIUS with the 15th pick. Helenius has size for a goaltender at 6', 3", 202-pounds and plays a butterfly-style. According to CSS, Helenius was the 5th ranked European goaltender in the draft. In 26 games in the Finnish Junior League with Ilves Jr., Helenius had a 2.68 GAA and .919 Sv%.
4:40 PM Montreal has traded the 16th pick to San Jose in exchange for 20 and 53. San Jose is now on the clock.
4:42 PM - SAN JOSE SHARKS select defenseman TY WISHART with the 16th overall selection. Wishart is a native of Belleville, Ontario and stands 6' 4", 205-pounds. Wishart skated with Prince George of the WHL last season and had five goals and 23 assists.
4:45 PM Minnesota trades the 17th selection and prospect Patrick O'Sullivan to the Los Angeles Kings for Pavol Demitra. The Kings are now on the clock with 17.
4:48 PM - LOS ANGELES KINGS select center TREVOR LEWIS with the 17th selection.
4:54 PM - COLORADO AVALANCHE selects right wing CHRIS STEWART with the 18th selection. The Ducks are on the clock. Stewart played last season at Kingston of the OHL. He was CSS' 8th ranked North American skater. Stewart hails from Toronto.
4:57 PM - ANAHEIM DUCKS select University of Michigan defenseman MARK MITERA with the 19th overall selection. Mitera describes himself as a defensive defenseman. The Royal Oak, Michigan native won gold at the 2005 World U-18 tournament. Central Scouting Service describes Mitera as a 'good skater with a smooth stride who is strong on his skates and hard to knock off the puck. Mitera says that he tries to model his game after Edmonton defenseman Chris Pronger and tries to be smart and physical on the ice. Central Scouting also says that Mitera 'is a competitor who plays hard every night with an aggresive style game and at times can dominate physically.
5:02 PM - MONTREAL CANADIENS select defensman DAVID FISCHER with the 20th overall selection. Fischer is a high-school player out of Apple Valley, Minnesota and was that state's Mr. Hockey last year. Fischer is planning to attend the University of Minnesota in the fall.
5:08 PM - NEW YORK RANGERS select defenseman BOB SANGUINETTI at 21. Sanguinetti is a defenseman out of New Jersey. The 6', 1", 174-pound blueliner is an effective two-way defenseman for Owen Sound in the OHL. In 68 games last season, Sanguinetti had 14 goals and 51 assists.
5:13 PM - PHILADELPHIA FLYERS select right wing CLAUDE GIROUX with the 22nd pick. Giroux skated last season with Gatineau in the Quebec League. Giroux hails from Hearst, Ontario.
5:20 PM Boston Bruins trade goaltender Andrew Raycroft to Toronto for Finnish goaltending prospect Tuuka Rask.
5:24 PM - WASHINGTON CAPITALS select goaltender SEMEN VARLAMOV at #23. Varlamov is a native of Somora, Russia and CSS reports he 'has excellent reflexes' who is a 'fine competitor' and 'plays with intensity.' In 33 games last season for Yaroslavl 2, Varlamov had eight shutouts and a 1.81 GAA.
5:29 PM - BUFFALO SABRES select defenseman DENNIS PERSSON with the 24th overall selection. Persson is a 'good skater with good offensive insticts' and 'likes to join the offensive rush' according to CSS. A native of Nykoping, Sweden, Persson had 11 goals and 15 assists in 28 games for Vasteras Jr.
5:34 PM New Jersey trades the 25th pick to St. Louis for 30 and 77. St. Louis is on the clock.
5:35 PM - ST. LOUIS BLUES select center PATRICK BERGLUND at 25. Berglund is another memeber of Vasteras Jr. in Sweden. Berglund is a big center at 6' 4", 187-pounds and has been a key member of the Swedish Under-18 Team.
5:40 PM - CALGARY FLAMES select goaltender LELAND IRVING out of Everett in the WHL with pick #26. Irving is a butterfly-style netminder who is 'very tough to beat down low' according to CSS. Irving was also the second-rated North American goaltender in the draft by CSS.
5:45 PM - DALLAS STARS select defenseman IVAN VISHNEVSKIY with the 27th overall selection. Vishnevskiy is a native of Russia who played last season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league with Rouyn Noranda.
5:50 PM - OTTAWA SENATORS select left wing NICK FOLIGNO with the 28th overall pick. Foligno is a native of Buffalo and is the ninth American selected in the first round of this draft. Foligno played last season with Sudbury of the Ontario Hockey League where he scored 24 goals and 46 assists in 65 games. Foligno's father Mike playe din the NHL for Toronto, Buffalo and Detroit.
5:55 PM - PHOENIX COYOTES select defenseman CHRIS SUMMERS with the 29th selection. Summers, a native of Michigan, is the record-setting 10th American to be selected in the first round. Summers will attend the University of Michigan in the fall of 2006.
6:00 PM - NEW JERSEY DEVILS select defenseman MATTHEW CORRENTE with the final pick of the first round. Corrente was born in Mississauga, Ontario and played last season with Saginaw of the OHL. In 61 games at Saginaw, Corrente had 6 goals, 24 assists and 172 penalty minutes.