The Draft finished up yesterday, so here's a few observations from of the actual selections...
- I really liked Sean Couturier heading into the draft (he was #2 in our fantasy draft rankings) and like him even more after getting picked by the Flyers. He has a chance to make the team right away and while I'd expect them to ease him into a major role, you know he'll be playing with some great talent and can hopefully flourish as Giroux & van Riemsdyk have. It's also nice that he can learn the ropes from some talented French Canadians like Briere & Giroux.
- My favourite darkhorse pick, Adam Clendening (he was a bit of a reach at #10 in our fantasy draft rankings), was an early 2nd round pick going 36th overall to Chicago... keep an eye on this kid.
- I'm not a fan of Mika Zibanejad but like what the Sens did going all in on the attack by adding Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel with late 1st round picks.
- The Leafs traded up to grab a guy, Tyler Biggs, who doesn't show a lot of offensive upside... they're hoping he turns into a Milan Lucic type but I suspect he's more of a Raffi Torres.
- Fitting that Boston picked Alexander Khokhlachev in the 2nd round, he was a guy that many were calling a potential steal prior to the draft and the Cup champs have come away with a number of 2nd round or higher steals over the last few years in guys like Lucic, Bergeron, Krejci & Marchand.
- Three low ranked sleepers that I liked all were taken in the 2nd round... the Islanders took Johan Sundstrom 50th overall, the Ducks grabbed William Karlsson at #53 and Tampa used pick #58 to take Russian scoring whiz Nikita Kucherov. I'll put together a post of a few later round guys that I think have some fantasy potential this week and then you'll see this guys ranked highly when our Top 100 Draft Eligible Prospects comes out as part of our Fantasy Prospect Rankings (which will be released this week).
I like this low risk, high reward move for the Sens... yesterday they traded a 3rd round pick for Nikita Filatov and plan to give him a legit shot at camp to make the club and play in their top 6. This guy has a ton of talent and most definitely needed a change of scenery so hopefully he gets his head on straight and gives this the old college try. Will it work out?... nfc but I'd take a chance on him as the payoff could be huge.
Robyn Regehr accepted a trade to Buffalo yesterday and just to prove that this was nothing more than a salary dump the Flames threw in Ales Kotalik's contract and a 2nd round pick with Paul Byron and Chris Butler coming back in return. Regehr and Kotalik don't have any fantasy value in 99% of the leagues out there. Byron was a big scorer in junior and came on last year in the AHL with 26+27=53 in 67 games but I still think he years away from being a fantasy contributor. Butler should have a regular spot in the Flames lineup, which is more than he can say for most of last season, but he hasn't shown a lot of fantasy promise as he's he's a light-shooting dman who avoids PIMs.
The Flames used the cap space the Regehr trade opened up to sign Alex Tanguay to a fairly reasonable five-year, $17.5M deal. Smart move by Feaster as you weren't going to get anyone who can put up close to 70 points as a UFA this summer for anything close to that price. If you're in an assist-only league then Tanguay's a 1st rounder but in general I actually like him as he consistent... since the lockout he's only had one poor season (2009/10 with Tampa) so you can count on a 60-80 point season from him (barring injury) and you know he's going to be on the top line with Iginla.
The Rangers sent Evgeny Grachev to the Blues for a 3rd round pick... he looked like a decent prospect in junior but has shown very little as a pro in two AHL seasons and I've lowered my expectations to nil.
Still with the Rangers, they're going to let Matt Gilroy become a UFA on July 1st after two forgettable seasons... no need to thank me for urging you to pass on him when he was all the rage coming out of college.
The Avs re-signed Matt Hunwick to a one-year deal... he was pretty awful after being dealt to Colorado but he's got some offensive ability and could be in the mix of guys to soak up some of the PP time vacated by JM Liles. I'd likely look elsewhere but guess it depends on how desperate you are.
Tampa added some depth by plucking Bruno Gervais from the Islanders... no doubt hoping that they can turn him into gold like they've down with other Isles cast-offs like Sean Bergenheim, Dwayne Roloson and Nate Thompson.
The Ryan Smyth trade to Edmonton is in a holding pattern as the Kings wanted Gilbert Brule back in the deal so they could buy him out but he's currently injured, hence the snag. I'd expect them to work something out but it's not done yet.