The first day of the 2011 NHL Draft is usually the day with all of the glitz and the glamour. The majority of NHL Draft trades go down during it, the biggest names get drafted in it, and the television coverage is usually all over it. Day one of the 2011 NHL Draft on Friday seemed to be one of the more subdued opening rounds with the largest trade occuring after it ended.
The Edmonton Oilers continued their streak of selecting forwards with their first pick in the first round with the selection of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from the Red Deer Rebels. Nugent-Hopkins will complement the handful of talented forwards that Edmonton has on their roster with Taylor Hall, Jordon Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi-Svenson all selected high in the first round in the last three years. Our Edmonton Oilers site, Copper And Blue, had this to say about the Oilers first pick:
Nugent-Hopkins is the best set-up man to come along in a long awhile and while Taylor Hall was first to greet him on stage, it's not a stretch to think that Nugent-Hopkins will set up Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark in Edmonton next year.
Shortly after the draft ended, it was confirmed that the Chicago Blackhawks were sending defenseman Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers for forward Rostislav Olesz. The move frees up some cap space for the Blackhawks as they look to sign some key players in the offseason and it gets the Florida Panthers closer to the salary cap floor so they can actually field a team next season. Campbell had to waive his no-trade clause to approve the trade and reuniting with GM Dale Tallon was a key influence in that decision. Tallon was the GM of the Blackhawks when Campbell signed his eight year deal back in 2008. Our Florida Panthers site, Litter Box Cats, had this to say about the Campbell deal:
Its all in the rebuild, people, and for Campbell's contract at least we get an offensively minded defenseman similar to Dennis Wideman. He might become a ball and chain in the future, but for now, he's a Panther and should be welcomed to the team.
The home crowd inside the Xcel Energy Center were treated to a trade featuring their hometown Minnesota Wild as the Wild sent defenseman Brent Burns and a 2012 2nd round pick to the San Jose Sharks for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle, and a 1st round pick. Our Minnesota Wild site, Hockey Wilderness, offered some analysis on the deal:
The final say on the trade will be a long time coming. Fans at the X were not pleased when they heard Burns' name, then they were ecstatic when they heard the return. Sharks fans don't seem mixed, but leaning toward unhappiness. Wild fans seem to be begrudgingly accepting. The final say will come in the next few years, and see what Setoguchi can do, what Coyle develops into, and if Phillips can make it.
Four Swedish born players were taken in the top ten: Gabriel Landeskog at number two to the Colorado Avalanche; Adam Larsson at number four to the New Jersey Devils; Mika Zibanejad at number six to the Ottawa Senators; and Jonas Brodin at number ten to the Minnesota Wild. It was the first time that four Swedish born players were picked in the top 10 of the draft. What makes it more amazing, before this season, only 10 Swedish born players were taken in the top 10 since 1986 and three of those came in 2009.
After a record breaking year last year that saw 10 American born players taken in the first round, this year the American talent tailed off as only five US born players were taken, one less than the number of Swedish born players taken. The highest American born player selected was Sean Couturier who was taken number eight by the Philadelphia Flyers. Couturier was born in Phoenix, but spent most of his time in Canada.
The Canadian teams made some moves in the first round to acquire first round picks as the Ottawa Senators moved up to grab their third first round pick of the year when they made a trade with the Detroit Red Wings. The Senators gave up their two second round picks, numbers 35 and 48, for the 24th overall pick. The Senators took the aforementioned Zibanejad at six overall, Stefan Noeson with the 21st pick, and Matt Puempel with Detroit's 24th pick.
The Toronto Maple Leafs had three picks within 15 spots of each other heading into this year's draft, numbers 25, 30, and 39, and parlayed the 30th and 39th overall picks with Anaheim to move themselves to the 22nd overall pick where they selected Tyler Biggs from the USNTDP. Our Maple Leafs site, Pension Plan Puppets, wasn't overly enthused with the selection:
Biggs is, as "they" love to say, a "Brian Burke-type player". He is a 6'2" right winger that tips the scales at 200 pounds and was compared to Colby Armstrong. I'm not a big prospects guy but even where every player gets outlandish comparisons he was compared to a tweener 2nd/3rd liner.
The first day of the draft featured 30 picks occuring over roughly four hours. The second day will have 180 picks over that same time frame. Is it any wonder that day one should have all of the glitz and glamour?