So the NHL tried to thwart Alan and I yet again.
On Tuesday when we posted picks 1-8 and 8-15, the Boston Bruins immediately swung that trade the saw the 15th overall pick change hands. Now, the day before we're set to finish this up, Chicago snaps up the 24th pick from Atlanta, who snuck it out from under New Jersey.
Instead of changing our entire draft order (Because: A) I have no idea where Bass is and B) There'll be at least two more first rounders changing hands before tomorrow night is through—and I'll gamble on it because I'll be in a Casino), I will now show you who I had Atlanta taking, and reason with you as to why it makes sense for Chicago to take the same guy.
Oh yeah. Picks 15-23 are up too.
24. Atlanta Thrashers (from New Jersey)
Jonathon Merril, D, USNDP
He's a smart, heads-up defenseman. Atlanta already has offensive guys (Bogosian and Enstrom) and a good defensive guy in Hainsey, so a good thinker would be a nice addition.
Why Chicago will STILL take Merril: The Blackhawks replaced what they lost on the wings with Crabb and Morin in the system and have a solid core down the middle of the ice. They have enough offense on the back-end with Keith and Campbell (Even if he gets moved, a puck-mover will still take his spot), so Merril fits. Either that, or they'll take the guy they're selecting at number 30 in this spot, which seems very likely.
25. Vancouver Canucks
Jarred Tinordi, D, US-18 (USHL)
Standing at 6-foot-6, Tinordi has shored up his game playing with the US developmental program in the United States League. The pick is a bit off the board, so don't be surprised if Vancouver trades down. But there is no denying the Canucks' defensive need and Tinordi's solid defensive game.
26. Washington Capitals
Calvin Pickard, G, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Pickard is used to not getting any help, which should really bode well for him in Washington's offense-first system. Despite facing a ton of shots, the numbers are still good. It's also good insurance if Varlamov doesn't pan out or changes the spelling of his name again...to 'Sieve.'
27. Montreal Canadiens
Tyler Toffoli, C, Ottawa 67s (OHL)
Scoring 115 points in his Ontario League career, Toffoli could help jolt a Montreal offense that seemed to struggle against teams in the playoffs and throughout the season. Toffoli was ranked third in the OHL in points per game.
28. San Jose Sharks
Patrik Nemeth, D, Aik Jr (SWE)
San Jose will be filling the hole left by Rob Blake's retirement this year, but their number one (Dan Boyle) is getting up there in years too. Given some more time over in Europe and then a few years in the AHL, Nemeth should fit right in with the Sharks when his time comes.
29. Anaheim Ducks (from Philadelphia)
Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Chelyabinsk (KHL)
Kuznetsov had a solid year in arguably the second best league in the world, for a team that finished low in the standings. The Ducks could use the offensive depth that Kuznetsov could provide in the future - especially with the potential retirement of Teemu Selanne.
30. Chicago Blackhawks
Jack Campbell, G, USNDP
A bit of a surprise given the recent rise of Antti Niemi in the Stanley Cup finals, and the immobile Christobal Huet contract, but the 'Hawks have no depth at goaltender in the system. Campbell can have his two years in Windsor as development, which will have him coming up just as Huet's contract ends.
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