Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NHL Draft Wrap Up

With the first overall pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft the Tampa Bay Lightning select from the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, Steven Stamkos.

It is no surprise that the Tampa Bay Lightning made Steven Stamkos the first overall draft pick in this years NHL Entry Draft. Any hockey fan that has not been sleeping under a rock has known this for quite some time. The kid is going to be a star. He certainly has his work cut out for him to live up to the hype the first overall pick status brings a young hockey player. In the last 11 years the first round pick has gone on to become a star or star in the making all but 1 of those years.

1997 -Joe Thornton (Boston Bruins)
1998-Vincent Lecavlier (Tampa Bay Lightning)
1999-Patrik Stefan (Atlanta Thrashers)
2000-Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders)
2001-Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta Thrashers)
2002-Rick Nash (Columbus Blue Jackets)
2003-Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins)
2004-Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)
2005-Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
2006-Erik Johnson (St. Louis Blues)
2007-Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
2008-Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Patrik Stefan in 1999 was a total bust for Atlanta. He has never had more than 13 goals in a season. Not a good outcome for a forward picked first overall. Patrick Kane and Erik Johnson are still young and very early in their careers but all signs point to them having very successful and long NHL careers.

I imagine Stamkos will follow in the footsteps of those before him. He may never change the face of the game the way Sydney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin have but he certainly will leave his mark on this game. 20 or so years from now when he has retired I would bet he will have left a legacy like those great ones before him.

I was pretty happy with the Oilers picks. Because of the Penner signing to an offer sheet last year from the Ducks the Oilers didn't have a pick of their own till the 4th round. They did however hold Anaheim's first round pick (22nd overall) from the Chris Pronger trade. With their first pick the Oilers selected forward Jordan Eberle. I really liked this pick and was hoping this was the guy the Oilers would be able to grab all along. Eberle spent the past 2 seasons with the Regina Pats of the WHL Last year he had 42 goals and 33 assists in 70 games. Will be fun to see how he transitions to pro hockey and see what kind of impact he will have on the Oilers in the coming years.After Eberle the Oilers selected Swedish defenseman Johan Motin, F Philippe Cornet from the QJMHL, F Teemu Hartikainen from Finland and D Jordan Bendfeld from the WHL. Who knows if any of these guys aside from Eberle will ever crack the Oilers roster. Just have to wait and see how the develop.

Oh I nearly forgot to make mention of some big names that switched teams on draft day. Alex Tanguay was shipped to the Montreal Canadiens for a draft pic. Mike Cammaleri was shipped to the Calgary Flames in a three way trade with the Ducks. Panthers traded Captain Olli Jokinen to the Coyotes in what I thought was a really lopsided trade.

Is it hockey season yet? The Mariners season has been a total bust and has me wishing for fall and Oilers hockey and Seahawks football.

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