Draft Day Is Upon Us – What The Draft Means In The NHL

It is one of the two biggest days in the off-season for most hockey fans.  The NHL draft day and the opening day of free agency are like Christmas and New Year’s to me.

Today is the day where fortunes are changed and the day where the scouting staffs and front-office leadership can alter the direction of a franchise with two words – the first and last name of a franchise player.

June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announces a trade between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the eighth overall pick at the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Make the right call and you set your team up for future success – Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Vincent Lecavalier and Marc Andre Fleury (yes, at one time) are all recent first overall picks that have won a Stanley Cup with the team that drafted them.

Make the wrong call, and you set your team back a decade – Patrick Stefan, Rick DiPietro, Erik Johnson are examples of first overall busts, or players that didn’t really have the expected impact.  What if Atlanta has selected one of the Sedins instead of Stefan?  What if the Islanders had taken Dany Heatley or Marian Gaborik instead of DiPietro?  Johnson was ok for the Blues, but the next three players selected were Jordan Staal, Jonathan Toews and Nicklas Backstrom.

Sometimes you can make the right call and not have it turn out.  The draft doesn’t guarantee success, and quite often it is the players your scouting staff sees something in that nobody else does and you take that player late in the draft and he becomes Daniel Alfredsson (133 overall in 1994), Pavel Datsyuk (171 in 1998) or Henrik Zetterberg (210 in 1999) that make the biggest impact.  With the increased importance placed on scouting everywhere, those diamonds in the rough are fewer and farther between, but they still can happen.

In addition to the players being drafted, the draft floor is also a place where other wheeling and dealing is done as teams use picks and players to move up in the draft and improve their teams in other ways.  While he is annually resoundly booed when he steps on stage, some of the most exciting words Gary Bettman will say today is “I have a trade to announce…” at which point the crowd turns from jeers to cheers and waits in anticipation to see what has gone down.

You can follow along with me as I tweet the major happenings and also anything that the Senators do.  Follow @senshot_FS and @alfieisgod to be kept up to date.  Also check back here for analysis and watch our facebook page for polls and other information.

As the song goes…”it’s the most wonderful time of the year…!”

Topics: NHL Draft, Ottawa Senators

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  • newyorkislanderfancentral

    Rick DiPietro was an all star starter, an Olympic starter. He carried New York to two playoff spots and unlike everyone else did not take a front-loaded contract putting the burden on himself to play. Where would Islanders be with Heatley, who’s driving led to the death of a player, then demanded a trade, then got a long term contract from Ottawa and thanked them by demanding out, then got kicked off the Sharks or Gaborik who between knee injuries wanted 88 million dollars from Minnesota before going to Cablevision and taking their money to get hurt and kicked off that team?

    Perhaps you should be asking why failure is not an option Melnyk choose to pay Redden over Chara, who dumped Ottawa for Boston.

    • Jared Crozier

      First of all, Redden was an alternate on the 2006 CDN Olympic team. His fall was unpredictable. Melnyk offered both Redden and Chara identical contracts. Redden stayed, Chara bailed.

      As for DiPietro, perhaps “bust” was too strong, but Heatley has multiple 50 goal seasons, and who knows where he would have been without the accident that really derailed his standing as a person. You can’t say that if they were to do it again they would take DiPietro at #1.

      On another note, I have to give credit to the Isles fan base. No matter what I have written in the past, the two biggest backlashes have come when I have said anything negative about the Isles. Kudos to you for having your team’s back!

      • newyorkislanderfancentral

        My friend, my only side is the truth, a franchise with New York’s incredible history does not have to defend anything.

        Bust would be the goaltender selected a few picks after DiPietro in Brett Krahn, the Calgary homeboy who declared at Calgary’s draft party he was better than DiPietro, who saw about one NHL game as a 9th overall pick in a very weak draft class.

        Heatley confirmed he’s a nightmare and a problem for organizations, he got his money from Ottawa and instead of being loyal after so much career turmoil took a tantrum and demanded out. Yashin is far more loyal.

        Redden’s fall was painfully obvious his final years in Ottawa, anyone could see that coming but Cablevision.

        • Jared Crozier

          Yes Krahn was an absolute bust, but he also wasn’t the first overall pick. In the annals of time, DiPietro will not be mention among the top #1′s, weak class or not.

          As for Redden, when he signed his last contract in Ottawa, he was coming off a career high 50 point season and a Canadian Olympic team spot (I made an error when I said alternate yesterday. He was on the team in 06). After he signed the contract he took a dramatic dump, for reasons that may or may not be true, and the Rangers made the error in thinking they could rescue him.