The 1st round of the 2008 NHL Draft is in the past and it is time to step back and analyze my predictions. Let me just start by saying, I did not do that well in some of my predictions.
1st Pick- Tampa Bay
I (and the rest of the world) picked Stamkos and it was indeed Stamkos. My magic-8 ball prediction that the Lightning would trade this pick was wrong, but apparently Tampa Bay likes that system where only 3 of their players have any serious offensive impact. The Lightning will be better than they were after they traded Brad Richards but will probably be about the same as they were before they traded Richards.
2nd Pick- Los Angeles
I thought they should go with Bogosian because they needed another Jack Johnson type defenseman, but apparently they wanted another 6ft and under puck moving specialist in Doughty. I get that Doughty has under-rated defense skills, or whatever, but I think Bogosian would have been a better fit.
3rd Pick- Atlanta
Since the Kings took Doughty, the Thrashers took Zach Bogosian. Bogosian does not quite as much offensive upside as Doughty would have had for Atlanta, but I do like the pick. He brings leadership and will vastly improve the Thrashers defense. He will be able to make the team next year because Atlanta does not have enough good d-men to keep him off the roster.
4th Pick- St Louis
I thought they should go with Filatov and get a really scary trio of young non-NorthAmerican players. Instead, the Blues decided to pick yet another 1st round defenseman. Pietrangelo will be good for St Louis, but it will take awhile for him to crack the line-up. This is not a bad pick, but I consider this the worst fit in the top 10 picks.
5th Pick- Toronto (from New York Islanders)
I did not see the Leafs moving up, but they did. I thought they were going to pick Mikkel Boedker and improve their sub-par offense. They instead went with Luke Schenn. I can not say this is a bad pick because it takes Toronto’s defense to the next level. Stay-at-home defenseman have a hard time cracking the line-up as a rookie because their game takes more time to mature as well as the young players growing into their big physical body. Schenn could crack the line-up he could not, it seems unknown to me at this point.
6th Pick- Columbus
Poor Columbus, they were probably counting on getting Luke Schenn here and I think that would have been good for them, but Torontobeat them to it. I also thought they were going to trade this pick but they instead traded their other 1st roundpick, I will give myself some points for knowing Columbus was going to trade one of their 1st round picks. Nikita Filatov makes me give a curious glance toward the Blue Jackets. They now have two highly skilled Russian wingers, but will they both stay in Columbus?
7th Pick- Nashville (from New York, originally Toronto)
Yes! This is where I start handing out pats on my back for calling who Nashville was going to pick. I did not see Nashville moving up to get Colin Wilson because I figured he was still going to be available. Wilson is such a good fit for Nashville and they saw it and apparently did not want to take the chance of losing him. This pick gets my “Best Fit” award.
8th Pick- Phoenix
The Coyotes traded two of their defensemen to Floridafor Olli Jokinen and by this point and I was prepping my hand for another pat on the back. Now they need defenseman and are pretty complete on offense andhave to go with big Tyler Myers. They picked Mikkel Boedker. Great Player, but apparently Phoenix thinks Ed Jovanovski, Derek Morris, and Zbynek Michalek can have 40-minutes of ice time a night and chip in on the offense.
9th Pick- New York Islanders (from Nashville)
The Islanders’ backtracking pretty much doomed any hope I had of correctly predicting their pick. Josh Bailey was their guy and they got him. It fits for the Islanders because they need a little help on either side and I think this is a pretty good pick. The part where the Islanders really won was getting a couple later picks that might get some good players.
10th pick- Vancouver
Another pick I got right on the nose. Cody Hodgson was the best player for the Canucks and they got him. Great pick.
For the 19th pick the Blue Jackets traded it to the Flyers so I was already wrong. Michael Del Zotto was still available by the 19th pick, but he went 20th. Give myself half a point for being close. By the way, love Luca Sbisa as a fit for the Flyers and Del Zotto will do nicely for the Rangers.
I also had a prediction that the New Jersey Devils would go with Greg Nemisz. The Devils were copying the Islanders and kept sliding down and Nemisz stayed on the board each time. I was again getting ready to pat myself on the back, but once again my hand was snatched away at the last second. The Devils went with tiny Swedish winger Mattias Tedenby. The very next pick Greg Nemisz went to the Calgary Flames. I do not even want half a point because I just really do no like the Devil’s pick. They already had a highly skilled and undersized Swedish winger in Nicklas Bergfors and a small firecracker of a player in Brian Gionta. Does this mean that one of these players is on the move?
The big prediction that I give myself plenty of kudos for is predicting there will be a ton of trades on the day of the 1st round. Get prepared for the 2nd round because I have a feeling the trading frenzy is not over yet.
Also, I get a happy, warm, and fuzzy feeling inside everytime I hear an entire arena boo Gary Bettman. I wonder when he will get the message, but more on that rant later.