Legendary College Basketball coach Bobby Knight is known for a lot of things. Mostly throwing chairs and yelling at players, but Mr. Knight has a real cool saying. And I quote...
"Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win."
Welcome to the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Two weeks from today the NHL will gather and select yet another bumper crop of prospects, make trades, lay the ground work towards free agency - I think we all know the process by now.
However, there will only be a handful of teams and their respectful GM's really coming here to roll up the sleeve's and get right down to work. Some will make a huge splash and others will try to leave early.
Months and months of preparation, complying of notes, conversations, rankings, mock drafts, brain picking... it's all being pushed to the limit right now - at least for about 10 teams.
The other 20 or so teams are either happy where they are and will show up and see what might unfold, others are simply here to see the best sights in LA and take in the sun and fun.
Let's face it, some teams need to draft well here, make trades to improve their current roster,shave a little money of that salary cap and bring hope and promise to their fan base.
For some teams that salary cap seems like an over sized sombrero.
All 30 NHL teams have been busy getting things in order, or some kind of order. They have analysed just about ever facet of their rosters, farm system and prospects. For some teams they were able to find a new GM and/or coach.
Busy times indeed.
While we were watching teams get upset in the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Blackhawks win there first cup in a billion years, the other NHL teams have had to make decisions on the future of their 2008 draft selections who are not signed.
Some teams cut loose players that were previously drafted in 2008 and will reenter the draft come two weeks today, others were able to get that last minute deal done and are on their way to entry level money and more hard work on the path to dreams of the NHL.
The process is not prefect, but at least they had two years to track a players development.
Nathan Moon (C) of the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) was drafted in the 4th round and 120th overall by Pittsburgh in 2008 and was not signed to an entry level contract by the June 1st deadline and will re-enter the draft. Moon has averaged about 30 goals and 70 points in the last three seasons in Kingston.
Other notables are Jason Missiaen (G) drafted by Montreal Canadiens in the same 4th round, 166th overall in 2008 and plays for the Peterbourgh Petes (OHL). Missiaen won 27 games on a terrible Petes team in 2009-10.
Joel Champagne (D) of the Victoriaville Tigres of the (QMJHL) drafted in the 5th round, 129th overall in 2008 by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Offensive rear guard who scored 20 goals in 29 games after being traded to Victoriaville from PEI in the (QMHJL). Has 4 solid years of development in Major Junior.
Peter Delams (G) who split time between Halifax and Quebec of the (QMJHL) was a second round selection of the Colorado Avs in 2008, he will return to the draft as well.
Delmas, who struggled in 2008-09, put up 20 wins between playing from Quebec Ramparts and Halifax Mooseheads of the (QMJHL). He also has 4 solid years of development.
Remember these players names. They will be ranked within the group of 2010 prospects by all 30 NHL clubs. Some of these players will find a new team and there chances are good to be re-selected, but very few players ever improve their original draft position by re-entering the draft.
One of the biggest improvements in the Entry Draft recent memory was Matthew Lombardi of the Phoenix Coyotes.
The soon to be unrestricted free agent, was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 7th round of the 2000 entry draft, 215th overall. Two years later the rival Calgary Flames selected Lombardi in the 3rd round, 90th overall thanks in part to a 130 point season and leading Victoriaville to the Memorial Cup final only to lose to Kootenay.
Former Colorado Avalanche Scott Parker was selected in the 3rd round, 63rd overall by the New Jersey Devils in 1996. After re-entry, Parker was selected in the 1st round, 20th overall in 1998.
So it can happen. The reasons are varied as to way these players are not signed, sometimes it's management making the call, sometimes it's the player and his agent.
Each NHL Team is allowed to have 50 NHL contracts and 90 organizational contracts at any one time.
Nevertheless, these players have to be factored into the rankings. There are roughly 20 players who are eligible to be re-selected on June 25th and 26th.
Nothing like extra work on top of the 300 prospects that your scouts have been following... it's all part of the process.
The "Real Players" of the 2010 Entry draft are as follows: Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, NY Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota Wild.
Atlanta has four picks in the first three rounds, and five in the remaining rounds. New GM Rick Dudley will be looking to deal a defenseman and acquire a few good men to round out this potential playoff contender. Money will also go free agents in July if deals can't be done at the draft.
Carolina has 11 picks and 6 in the first three rounds. Looking to save money and build up assets, Ray Whitney has played his last game for the Hurricanes and Rod Brind'Amour could have as well. Look for them to wheel and deal for better draft position.
Florida and Tampa Bay share a lot in common. Same home state, new GM's and eight draft picks each. Look for both of these teams to make smart hockey decisions and draft well. Don't be surprised if they do a little business either. Nathan Horton in a Lightning jersey?
The NY Islanders are in good position to continue to add more depth as they have 10 draft picks. Say what you want about GM Garth Snow, but he has done a good job so far and more talent you add the more flexible it is to make trades and add free agents.
The Wild will continue their make over. Look for GM Fletcher to add a piece to a team that struggles to score. Brett Burns and James Sheppard could be on the move.
The "Part-time Players" are as follows: Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Flames are in a mess and need to right the ship before all is lost. The total cleaning of house didn't occur, look for the same effort with lack of results.
Columbus will try harder than anyone to find some much needed help. Hopefully GM Scot Howson doesn't trade any of his few assets way. Rick Nash needs more support and a healthy season if the Jackets go anywhere. Same for Steve Mason.
Ottawa and Pittsburgh could come out of now where to make significant roster moves at the draft without really making any big splash on the drafting end of things. Jason Spezza rumours and the fact that there are too many rich centers in Pittsburgh makes us all wonder what awesome offers GM Shero may entertain.
The "Lounge Acts" are as follows: Toronto Maple Leafs, NY Rangers, Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers.
Don't have any other way to put it. Leafs GM Burke will have to work the floor, something that he is very good at, and try to wrangle another late bloomer from someone else depth chart. There will be a few decent options at #62 and the leafs have 5 picks in the remainder of the draft.
Ranger fans are truly tough, GM Sather has no.10, 40, 130 and 190 ...ouch!
This is a very good crop of prospects and Sather will be working the same story as Brian Burke, Darryl Sutter and others.
The Stars and Flyers are at polar opposites, but have options.
Stars will continue to build through the draft and be looking for another Jamie Benn (5th round, 129 in 2007) who has successfully moved up a level every year since being drafted.
Philadelphia has 4 picks (4th, 5th, 6th and 7th rounds) available.
Too bad that Carolina will have potentially selected seven times before the Flyers do and division rival NY Islanders will have potentially six selections as well before the Flyers select at 119th overall. The price of success, I guess - or not.
Teams like Chicago, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New Jersey and Detroit do their own thing anyway, but Los Angeles who benefited from drafting early, often and well the last few years might still put players like Alexander Frolov out there to see if anyone would want exclusive negotiation rights prior to July 1st.
Other teams like Montreal, Buffalo, Nashville and quite possibly San Josewill stay their course and select based on opportunity, regardless there position or current roster situation.
Montreal could very well be out two goalies come July 1st, and they just allowed another, Jason Missiaen to re-enter the draft. Look for Montreal to make their decision at the draft, which means either Carey Price or Jaro Halak is on the move.
Tune into the first round of the NHL Entry Draft on Friday June 25th on TSN and Versus in the US at 7pm.
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