2008 NHL Entry Draft Round One: Greztky Still Has Surprises Up His Sleeves

Chris WilfongContributor IJune 20, 2008

Round One of the NHL Entry draft wrapped up earlier today, and Bob McKenzie has done it again this year.

For those of you that don't follow the NHL deep enough to tune-in to the draft every year, let me bring you up to speed real quick. Bob McKenzie has been covering the Entry Drafts since 1980, and his TSN rankings have been the most accurate predictions, boasting an 81.6 percent accuracy (98/120) on first-round picks over the last four years.

Make that 124/150, bringing it up to 82.6 percent. There were a few differences due to mid-draft trading that caused some players to appear earlier or later.

Picks No. 5 and 6 were switched, 7 and 8 were swapped, Bailey was drafted ninth instead of 12th under McKenzie's predictions, Del Zotto wound up 20th, Tyler Cuma 23rd, Tyler Ennis got a boost from 33rd after the Sabres picked him up, and Daultan Leveille moved up six spots, getting picked 29th.

Unfortunately, Jacob Markstrom, Colby Robak, and Nicolas Deschamps have to wait until Round Two, which I'm sure will be as long as they will have to wait with all three possessing great potential.

The real shock came when Wayne Gretzky and the Coyotes traded two of their second-round picks (they acquired three) to Anaheim for the 28th pick.

Gretzky obviously found someone he really wanted to work with. A player that shined brighter than all the remaining prospects. A player not on Mr. McKenzie's Top-60 list.

Viktor Tikhonov was the name heard coming out of Gretzky's mouth. Sound familiar? You either are a longtime hockey fan, or paid very good attention while watching Miracle. Young Viktor's grandfather was the head coach of the Soviet Olympic Team for the 1980 Olympics (as well as '84, '88, and '92).

Little is known about his ability due to a lack of exposure. This would also explain why he was not drafted in the two previous drafts despite being draft eligible. Obviously, Wayne Gretzky has some insider information. Which makes me wonder if the two second round picks he traded away were worth it, and if it was a desperation move after hearing another team had shown interest in the young Russian.

There are still six more rounds left to scoop up the rest of the world's hockey talent, and I'm sure there will be many happy kids this weekend. Here's to hoping our favorite teams acquire future superstars.