The 2009 NHL entry draft did not offer a lot of surprises in terms of players selected (Tavares, Hedman and Duchene went in predictable order), but did offer a couple of interesting trades.
Chris Pronger was traded from the Ducks to the Flyers (along with Ryan Dingle) for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, two first round picks and a conditional third round pick. Interestingly enough this will be a return to Anaheim for Lupul, and the second time that he has been traded for Chris Pronger. If you ask me, the Flyers gave up too much for Pronger. Pronger only has one year left on his current contract, and is getting up in age. Don’t get me wrong, he will be a force for the Flyers this year, but those two first rounders will come back to haunt the Flyers in the long run. Another thing to ponder about this trade is how in the world are the Flyers going to make this work under the cap? They currently have a cap hit of $17.5 million for their top three centres (Briere, Richards and Carter), Simon Gagne ($5 million), Scott Hartnell ($4.2 million), and over $13 million for three defencemen (Timonen, Rathje and Carle). They must believe that Ray Emery can be a difference maker in goal with his cap hit of only $1.5 million, that is when he’s not coming late for practice or punching out a trainer.
Speaking of team acquiring high priced defencemen they can’t afford, the Calgary Flames acquired the negotiation rights to Jay Bouwmeester, and gave up a third round pick to do it. Now call me crazy, but giving up a third round pick just for the right to speak to a player for an extra week makes no sense to me. Some very good players are found in the third round, for instance, Steve Mason, Cal Clutterbuck, Kris Letang, Kris Russell, Jonathan Quick, Alex Edler, Johan Franzen and Dustin Boyd were all third round picks between 2005 and 2007. Even if the Flames are able to sign Bouwmeester before July 1, how in the world are they going to fit him under the cap? Bouwmeester should command at least $6 million per season, which should require the Flames to have to offload a significant part of their team.
As for how the Canucks fared on draft day, they didn’t make any major trades, istead choosing to keep all of their picks. I, for one, am very optimistic about their first round selection, Jordan Schroeder. Schroeder is a small, speedy centre compared to Patrick Kane. He slipped down from the original projections by NHL Central Scouting and Bob McKenzie. He is small (5’8″), which suggests to me that teams were scared off by his size.
The reason I like this pick, is because he seems like a guy that will either become the next Steve Kariya or will become the next Patrick Kane. When you’re picking in the first round, I believe you ought to be trying to pick a future all star, and not a future third liner. You should try to pick 3rd liners in the second and third round of the draft. Continuing Canuckz.com’s hating on Patrick White (for a good laugh, check out his stats here), here’s a look at Patrick White’s scouting report by TSN before he was picked in the 2007 draft: “A skilled forward with the ability to make a difference. Strong player with a physical presence. Plays tough in the corners and in traffic. Is good on the right wing and gets his wrist shot off with ease. Sometimes lacks urgency in his play”. Sounds like a future third liner to me. Contrast with what they have to say about Schroeder: “He’s a dynamic player, a leader and a type of player that has developed into a complete offensive and defensive threat every time he is on the ice. He has a rocket of a wrist shot and he can beat you by putting the puck in the net, going around a defender, or freezing the goaltender and passing it off to one of his wingers”. That sounds like a future all star to me.