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Play-by-Play Draft Blog

Saturday, 06.21.2008 / 8:04 AM PT / Features
Vancouver Canucks
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Play-by-Play Draft Blog

4:00 PST –Don't think there's been a draft in Canucks history that's as unpredictable as this one feels. With the big management shuffle, and a new direction under Mike Gillis, anything seems possible. Nothing as dramatic as moving the Twins – which Gillis shot down in the hotel lobby yesterday – but moving up, down, or not at all, all seem like plausible outcomes. This is the first big step of the Gillis regime and it will go a looong way to establishing the direction for the franchise the next few years. Hang on...
4:15 PST - Enough with all the talk. Let’s see some action! It’s been almost too quiet around the league in these 24 hours leading up to draft day. TSN is reporting that Mike Cammalleri is now a Calgary Flame. That’s a good pick-up for the Flames who give Jarome Iginla some offensive support. It’s never a good thing when the Canucks rivals beef up. Can’t wait to see what the Canucks do as a counter strike.
4:19 PST - Well, the last time we got together for one of these, it was for the trade deadline. Hopefully we see all of the excitement of a Pettinger-Cooke swap today. And with Olli Jokinen now traded to Phoenix, I think we can assume that the Canucks might be hanging on to their pick.
4:21 PST - What does it say about the Commissioner of this sport when he is heartily booed every time he makes a public appearance, yet the owners keep him in power??? Not even Bud Selig puts up with this...
4:23 PST - Great deal for the Phoenix Coyotes. Olli Jokinen for a pair of mid-level defencemen and a 2nd round pick. Wonder what Gillis offered up... offense for defense would have been a good deal in Vancity.
4:24 PST - Stamkos?!? Who is this kid? Never heard of him. Seems like a bit of a flyer to be taking a kid from Greece with the first pick overall. I didn't even know they played hockey over there. These new Lightning owners are CRAZY!!!
4:25 PST - Cool Hand Luke here - well, Phoneix just stole Olli Jokinen from Florida, but for a Canucks perspective, we should notice that Phoenix's depth chart is now rather empty on the backend. With the 8th overall selection, Gretzky and his staff might just be looking at picking up Tyler Myers which should bump 1 of Hodgson, Boedker or (hopefully) Colin Wilson down to the Canucks. Whether Gillis believes enough in one of these 3 forwards over Beach remains to be seen. Our answer should come soon enough. . .
4:24 PST - My mistake... This Stamkos character is apparently of Macedonian heritage. Now this makes WAY more sense to me.
4:30 PST - Lombardi does the unthinkable and selects a player right at their projected position. No Hickey v2.0 today. Doughty's being compared to Ray Bourque, great, now LA knows they wont win a cup for the 18 years he remains a King.
4:32 PST - Another no brainer, this time from the Kings... LA was very skilled in the art of EFENSE last season, ,and Drew Doughty can only help the cause. The learning curve will be steep, but given how the Kings can score, Jack Johnson and Doughty won't have to be perfect. The top of the draft is DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP in defense, and this pick seems as safe as any.
4:34 PST - Fun (juice) drinking game for those scoring at home: Pierre McGuire says "I love this pick": take a shot (of juice).
4:36 PST - Gary "Tips" Bettman with some late breaking Jokinen trade news.
4:37 PST - Seriously? That’s all Florida got for Olli Jokinen? In two years, the Panthers have traded their two best and most recognizable players for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen, Alex Auld, Nick Boynton, Keith Ballard and a 2nd round pick. Ballard can play, but Boynton struggles to keep up in the ‘new’ NHL. Yikes. And lookout for the Coyotes. Shane Doan and Olli Jokinen will be a tough 1-2 punch for a lot of NHL defenses to handle.
4:40 PST - Youch! Ballard, Boynton and a pick? Hey, Jokinen is great but Ballard is a phenomenal young talent. Add Boynton and pick and the math doesn’t work out for me.
4:41 PST - The third pick is another predictable move, as the Atlanta Thrashers pick Zach Bogosian. So far, Pierre McGuire's mock draft is holding up strong because if you say anything with as much conviction as McGuire, it's bound to come true.
4:42 PST - Sure Doan and Jokinen should strike fear into opposing defense's, but Matt Jones and Zybnek Michalek as your #3-4 pairing is laughable. Phoenix is going to have to outscore their mistakes, is Gretzky trying to revive 1980's hockey???
4:44 PST - Re: The Jokinen deal. I wouldn't feel too burned about Gillis missing out, considering what he brought the Panthers. This wasn't like the Joe Thornton trade, where the deal was pushed through before any other GMs had an opportunity to tender an offer, it was well known that Jokinen was on the block for some time. If Ballard, a waiver-wire scrub, and a mid-2nd pick was all that it took, you would imagine that several teams would be able to meet or beat that. It's long been rumoured that Jokinen has had some off-ice issues, and maybe that was enough to scare some teams off.
4:44 PST - Atlanta takes Bogosian. Hmmmmm, this draft is going WAY to close to the predicted form. How can we spice it up? How about we spin a roulette wheel with every team in the top 10. The team that the ball drops on has to let John Ferguson Jr make their pick or trade away a top prospect if he likes...

Could Florida look any worse right now? Calgary gets a 1st and 2nd for Alex Tanguay, who is not the impact player that Jokinen is. They dump salary and get to draft a pair of cheap players. "Hey you'll never guess who I saw at the unemployment office today? Jacques Martin!"
4:57 PST - I know I made fun of Bettman's "breaking news" earlier, but I gotta say, I liked the excitement of seeing that little hobbit announce trades at the podium. TSN is breaking them 30 minutes before they're officially announced, and it's kind of taking a little fun out of the process.
5:02 PST - After St. Louis expectedly picked Alex Pietrangelo, Cliff Fletcher lifts some eyebrows with a move. The Leafs trade picks with the New York Islanders, trading second and third rounders and moving up from seventh to fifth spot. Leaf fans everywhere agree this is the move that will win them the cup in '09.
5:05 PST - Tough for Canucks fans to stomach this one, but this is a great pick by the Leafs. Luke Schenn is going to be a tough kid to play against. I guess Burkie... I mean Cliff Fletcher, really loves Schenn. My only question - have the Leafs given Schenn a no-trade clause yet?
5:06 PST - Just a PSA for everyone here, the Leafs Stanley Cup parade will begin on June 10th at 10am, it will start at Queen's park and end at the ACC.
5:08 PST - Schenn calls Toronto "Canada's team." He's fitting in with the city already.
5:10 PST - The Hummers take Filatov with the 6th pick. They have reportedly already offered him the rookie max, in addition to all the haircut bowls his heart desires.
5:15 PST - Three picks to go until Mike Gillis has the big decision to make - to Beach or not to Beach, that is the question...
5:21 PST - "Not to Beach" might be the answer I'm hoping for. In addition to his "attitude" problems, where some feel he's undisciplined and could cause rifts off the ice, he has recently suffered a couple of concussions, which is worrisome. He's also a Flames fan.
5:26 PST - Islanders are doing a nice job of stockpiling picks as they systematically move down the draft, although I wouldn't have passed on Schenn. Preds get Wilson - when I heard that C Wilson bench pressed 150lbs 21 times, I thought Carnie Wilson showed up for testing. This kid is strong and has good hockey bloodlines - Carey Wilson was no star but he had a decent career. Good pick for a team that is loaded with young talent on the back end.
5:26 PST - Can somebody please go off the board? Tyler Myers is 12 feet tall...someone pick him. As it stands right now (to the dismay of some), everything is lining up for Beach to be a Canuck.
5:27 PST - The Canucks should have a draft party. I have no idea if anyone attends the ones the American teams all reference when they get to the podium, but it sounds like a good idea. All in favour of a draft party say 'Ay'.

Oh, I forgot to mention I’m pretty sure Rintoul will be willing to host next year’s draft party. I’ll bring some chips.
5:33 PST - Josh Bailey goes high! This opens up some interesting options for Gillis at 10.
5:36 PST - Ok here we go boys and girls, Hodgson and Beach are on the table, as well as some potential trades. I'm seeing Gillis trade back a few spots hoping Beach or potentially Boychuk will still be available at 12 or 13, while picking up a 2nd or late 1st rounder. Finally Canuck fans will get a sniff of Gillis' masterplan.
One of the most important off-seasons in Canuck history begins now.
5:37 PST - Bailey goes out of order... does this mean Jason Herter still available?
5:39 PST - The Islanders get Josh Bailey at number nine, a bit of a surprise to go ahead of Cody Hodgson. But in the process, they passed up better players by trading the fifth pick for a seventh, and then that seventh for a ninth, acquiring second and third round picks. If the Islanders have confidence in their scouting and have picked up on some later picks that other teams might not have noticed, it's a genius move. If Schenn and Filatov, the fifth and sixth picks, turn out to be knockout NHL stars, the strategy's a bust.
5:41 PST - I love it! Great pick by Gillis and company. We also get to avoid the controversy that drafting Beach would bring...
5:44 PST - Canucks pick Cody Hodgson. I'm thrilled with this move. I was afraid that even after the Islanders left him available, the Canucks would have already set their sights on Kyle Beach and gone with Beach anyway. Like I said earlier, Beach was a question mark with character issues, concussions, and speed. Vancouver had no need for a player comparable to Sean Avery or even Steve Downie. Hodgson is reported to be far more level-minded with solid hockey skills as well -- a much more sure pick than Beach. Mike Gillis is off to a good start. Now it will be interesting to see when Beach gets picked.
5:46 PST - In a pre-draft interview, Gillis continually used the word "character" when he talked about what he wanted to build his team around. This pick is consistent with that mantra. Hodgson isn't as offensively dominant as other players in the draft, but he's got a reputation as being clutch and of unwavering character. Could be a sleeper according to a number of stories leading up to the draft, but he is a much safer pick than Beach.
5:46 PST - I really can't see how any Canuck fans can refute this pick, Gillis picks up arguably the smartest player in the draft, a kid with great leadership opportunity and is already a polished 3-way player: offensively, defensively and off the ice. I've followed this kid all year long, and am struggling to find a negative.
5:50 PST - Kyle Beach doesn't have to wait long to be picked, as Chicago is willing to take a chance with the wild-card player at pick number 11.
5:50 PST - And Beach goes next. If he actually pans out, brace yourself for years of call-in shows featuring nothing but complaints about how we coulda shoulda drafted him.
5:50 PST - Ron Payne's fingerprints are all over this selection as Vancouver takes their first OHL selection in the 1st round since Bryan Allen 10 years ago and the first OHL player selected in 5 years.
5:54 PST - By my count, the TSN panel used the word ‘leadership’ 514 times from the time the Canucks picked Cody Hodgson until he made his way to the podium and slipped on the jersey. Mike Gillis has been unpredictable in many ways, but he’s been remarkably consistent in terms of looking to boost the leadership on his hockey club. It certainly sounds like they’ve just drafted a low-maintenance guy with a bunch of those intangibles. We’ll give the early thumbs up to the pick.
5:46 PST - Beach actually makes a lot of sense for Chicago - they're loaded up front and if he doesn't pan out, they're offensive eggs aren't all in one basket. Only concern is whether or not the proper veteran presence is in place to mentor Beach.
6:00 PST - Ooooh....a "juice"-y (sorry) Bieksa rumour, involving the Hurricanes. Could we be seeing a guy like Erik Cole in Vancouver next season?
6:05 PST - The Kings pick up another good defender -- in addition to their number two pick Drew Doughty -- as they're able to select Colten Teubert. They're loaded up with young defenders now, picking up one of the most physical defenders in the draft in Teubert.
6:14 PST - Better for Myers that he went to the East - it's not as physical as the West and he needs to bulk up a bit. Canes, like more teams in the East continue to load up with offense. Boychuk should fit in perfectly with the transition style in Carolina and last year's pick, Brandon Sutter, gives them young grit as well.
6:22 PST - Erik Karlsson goes to Ottawa after the Senators trade up a few spots. The knock on this guy is that he's small (about 165lbs. now at 5'11"), but has superb vision, puck movement, and great potential. At any rate, he's good enough that the Sens wanted to trade up for the guy, and still selected him even when there was an available goalie -- Chet Pickard -- which they could have used after waiving Ray Emery today.
6:27 PST - Joe Colborne goes to Boston at number 16. Colborne comes from the Kodiaks in Camrose, Alberta, just like Canuck Mason Raymond and and ex-Canuck Josh Green. Camrose is also home to mediocre writer, Kyle Harland, pictured at left.
6:29 PST - Not that they expect him to play right away, but did the Sens really need another offensive defenseman? Might want to keep the puck out of your own net when you can already fill the other one. Could look shrewd or stupid - Karlsson is either underrated or overrated depending on who you talk to.
6:40 PST - After going nuts for a good two hours, it looks like the sedatives have finally kicked in for Pierre McGuire. Similarly, most of the tension and intrigue has evaporated for me after the Canucks' pick. That might also have something to do with the fact that the Oscars broadcast moves at a quicker pace nowadays. At least Nashville got to draft Chet Pickard. Every team should have to draft players with names that fit the city in some manner; Beach should have gone to Florida. See what I'm being reduced to here? A beach pun. Disgusting.
6:43 PST - Ducks better hope Gardiner works out better than Bobby Ryan has so far. Anaheim's been great with picking up diamonds in the rough, but their drafts haven't been much to talk about since Bryan Murray left.

Chet Pickard - outstanding pick. I thought this kid was the MVP of the WHL this season, even though his 20 year-old teammate Colton Yellowhorn got the nomination. Nashville is having a very good draft - adding players in front of and behind that young, quality blueline.
6:50 PST - The Broadway Blues pickup possibly the most talented offensive d-man in the draft, and certainly the most flawed defensively in the 1st round. Del Zotto was close to being a top-5 pick at the start of the year and continued to plummet as his defensive awareness and sense didnt progress at the same speed as his offensive touch. If the Rangers can find a strong mentor for Michael and are patient for his skills to balance out, this could be a steal. Regardless if he matures in his own end, his upside as a powerplay quarterback is too great to dismiss.
6:27 PST - The Washington Capitals make somewhat of a surprise pick at number 21, drafting centre Anton Gustafsson, who was projected to be picked in the first half of the second round by most scouting agencies. The reason he was that low is that he had a herniated disc, which caused some GMs concern over whether he'd hold up or not. I would have liked to see him grab his back and wince in pain on his way to the podium, and then say, "Just kidding!"
7:00 PST - Couldn't agree more with the sluggish speed of the draft... Let's see you spend roughly a bazillion dollars on scouting every year to assemble a draft board and then you can't figure out who the top pick left on your board is when your selction comes around? Gimme a break. NFL sped up its draft this year, NHL needs to follow suit.
7:28 PST - Calgary selects Greg Nemisz at number 25. Is it just a coincidence that "Nemisz" is just a few letters away from "nemesis"?
7:30 PST - Am I the only one that thinks no matter what happens in the next few picks, Detroit will pick a player that we all use the line "how did so many teams pass on him" every time we talk about him in a few years?
7:37 PST - I know Ennis is small, but I'm surprised someone didn't take a chance on him earlier. He looked like he might just be a speed demon in the WHL and then he exploded offensively this season. Given the premium on skating in today's game, Ennis could wind up being a steal if he continues to progress with his offense and he can add some strength.
7:54 PST - Unless Detroit shocks everyone, Jared Staal will be the first of the four brothers not drafted in the first round. Pretty tempting to take a flyer just based on the last name, just ask Brent Gretzky.
7:57 PST - Well, that final hour of the draft finished with the same flair as Gary Bettman's introduction (if you missed his speech, it had none). But I'm happy that the Canucks end up with Hodgson, leaving wild-card Beach for the 'Hawks. My vote is for a successful first round.