NHL

Diary of a Mad Metz: Volume Two – The 2012 NHL Entry Draft

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By Brian Metzer

You may remember the Diary of a Mad Metz back on Trade Deadline Day! Well, buckle in campers because it is time for volume two…

I am finally situated in my perch at the CONSOL Energy center… unfortunately I wasn’t seated with my usual game coverage cronies down in the lower bowl of the venue, so I had to take up residence up on press row. That would normally be fine, but for an event like this, it is the absolute furthest away that you can be from the action. All of the draft picks will be ushered into an interview area that is in the bowels of the arena, so there will certainly be a lot of running up and down for yours truly.

There have been many events going on around the event this week including a hockey clinic, a ball hockey game on a local bridge, a Gateway Clipper tour of the three rivers and tonight, a huge draft party across the street from the CONSOL Energy Center.

None of that really matters now though… we are here for the main event… the actual draft itself.

As you know, there is plenty of intrigue surrounding this event – at least more than there was a month or two ago. We could potentially see some big names pick up a new address, including the Penguins’ own Jordan Staal.

As you know from the previous DOAMM, I will be keeping you all in the loop with quick hits below…

So with that – Let’s hit it!

6:35pm: The teams have been told to get to their tables as “roll call” will begin in 10 minutes.

6:41pm: The building is still kind of empty, though there are a ton more people here than when I attended the NHL Entry Draft back in 1997. The first overall selection that season? Joe Thornton went to the Boston Bruins, who also selected Sergei Samsonov with the 8th overall selection.

6:46pm: The roll call is happening as I type… Edmonton just checked in. Which direction will they go? I still believe that they select Nail Yakupov, but there is growing sentiment that they may move down a few spots to grab Ryan Murray. We will find out in 14 minutes!

6:49pm: The Flyers were just greeted with a barrage of boos! They rained down for a close to a minute, before the home town Pittsburgh Penguins received a huge ovation.

6:53pm: Penguins President David Morehouse is up at the podium… he just thanked Gary Bettman for all of the hard work in getting this building built and keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

6:58pm: Just listening to some tunes and hanging at the NHL Draft… the great Vinny K, who manages all music here in the building blowing out a little Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out…

My view of the events here this evening...

 7:06pm: I am not sure if I speak for all involved, but I am getting tense… it is 7:05… bring the picks!

7:09pm: Gary Bettman has taken the stage and is addressing the gathered masses. Just thanked Mario Lemieux, Ron Burkle and David Morehouse.

7:10pm: The Edmonton Oilers are on the clock…

7:13pm: Edmonton has got to be talking trade… taking a long time to hit the stage. As I am typing, they hit the stage and draft Nail Yakupov. Something tells me that they didn’t like what they were hearing, grabbed the player and will wait to see how things shake out.

7:17pm: The Blue Jackets are on the clock and they are taking their time to get to the stage as well. There was quite a bit of speculation about movement within the first five draft picks… heck that speculation went as far as down as the 8th pick. Columbus could very well be shipping this pick out for some assets.

7:24pm: The Blue Jackets swoop in and grab Ryan Murray… wonder if they could be a trade partner for Edmonton at some point? Keep an eye on it… also, we have had our first trade of the evening… Lubomir Visnovsky goes from Anaheim to the Islanders for a 2nd round pick. Interesting move!

7:28pm: The Montreal Canadiens are on the clock… they were greeted with boos upon being announced…

7:29pm: The great Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien are on the stage to announce the Canadiens pick… Alex Galchenyuk. Three picks, two guys from the Sarnia Sting…

8:06pm: Sorry for the delay… Yakupov, Murray and Galchenyuk were available to the media… I failed in getting close enough to get any sound. By the time I arrived from my sky high perch, Nail was finished and the others were swamped.

Wow… they have just announced that the Penguins have traded Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes *color me shocked* for the 8th overall, Brandon Sutter and Brian Doumolin. The wow factor in this deal comes in the form of the haul, as the Penguins were put into a tough negotiating position based on the fact that Carolina knew that the player wanted them and had scared other suitors off. Also that they could have had a crack at him next summer for free.

8:19pm: With that out of the way, I can catch you up on the selections that were made while I was wandering the building. Let’s just say that if you did a mock draft this year, it is probably shot… not only are players flying off the board out of the perceived order, but this Carolina/Pittsburgh trade jumbled things.

1.4 – Islanders – Griffin Reinhart

1.5 – Maple Leafs – Morgan Rielly

1.6 – Ducks – Hampus Lindholm

1.7 – Wild – Matt Dumba

1.8 – Penguins – Derrick Pouliot

From the Penguins site on Derrick Pouliot:

Considered by many scouts as one of the purest skaters in the draft, defenseman Derrick Pouliot has excelled being apart of one of the top defensive teams in the Canadian Hockey League. Playing alongside 2011 first-rounder Joe Morrow, 2011 second-rounder Tyler Wotherspoon and 2009 second-rounder William Wrenn through different points of the season, Pouliot gained valuable experience competing with these Western Hockey League veterans. Even with savvy defensemen present on the Portland Winterhawks roster, Pouliot continued to standout, playing first line power-play minutes and posting 11 goals, 48 assists (most among Portland D-men) and 59 points (2nd among Portland D-men). The offensive-minded defenseman also helped Team Canada capture gold at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka tournament, playing alongside top defensive prospects Ryan Murray, Matt Dumba and Griffin Reinhart.

From McKeen’s Hockey:

“A slick skating defenseman who’s effortless on his blades, as they barely skim the ice, making (Pouliot) able to change direction and generate speed in an instant. Due to his outstanding balance, agility and above-average quickness, he can easily maneuver his way through traffic and he draws the opposition to him… In a draft loaded with defensemen, he is still considered amongst the first tier as his work ethic, character and natural ability make him a player that could easily find himself in the NHL.”
-McKeen’s Hockey

8:29pm: Sounding like Ray Shero wasn’t making this trade without getting Brandon Sutter. Rob Rossi of the Tribune Review tweets that the according to Canes’ GM Jim Rutherford, this deal went down just after 7:oopm and they were not the only team involved.

The good news is that Sutter all but matched Staal’s faceoff winning percentage. He won 50.5 percent of his draws for the Canes last year, while Staal won 51 percent. He is a perfect 3rd line center and will slot right in behind Crosby and Malkin without missing a beat. That isn’t to say that the Penguins are losing quite a bit in Jordan Staal, but they did a nice job of filling his role on this team. Sutter is a gritty guy, who has come a long way in the scoring department. He can kill penalties and is only 23 himself.

1.9 – Jets – Jacob Trouba

1.10 – Lightning – Slater Koekkoek

8:39pm: Many in the building are scratching their heads over the fact that Filip Forsberg is still sitting on the board. How far will he fall? Could he make it to the Penguins at 22? It is looking like they will have a shot at a nice forward with that selection…Grigorenko, Faksa, all three Swedes: Forsberg, Aberg and Collberg.

8:41pm: Gary Bettman scolds the Washington Capitals for taking to long to get to the podium… “Washington, you’re on the clock…come on, let’s go!”

8:47pm: Filip Forsberg falls to the Washington Capitals at 11… many thought he would be selected much higher. Great value for them there…they is a great way to add some heart to their team.

The Sabres are on the clock…

8:50pm: Another of the falling prospects just got snapped up. The Sabres select Mikhail Grigorenko… who has been at the center of many a controversy as of late, namely the question of his age. Grigorenko is a talented player who was at one point ranked as high as number 2. He has tumbled over the past few months based on the fact that stories of character issues began to float. He also missed time with a case of mono.

8:55pm: The Dallas Stars select Radek Faksa with the 12th overall selection.

In the meantime, our pal Rob Rossi tweets that the Penguins would get in on Zach Parise if they can find a new home for Paul Martin. The hope would be that he would skate with Crosby, leaving Neal to play with Malkin.

 9:00pm: One can only dream of a top six that features Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Zach Parise… just saying.

9:10pm: Here are some quotes and info on Derrick Pouliot…

On if he was surprised to see the trade and then be selected:

“Maybe a little bit, but I am extremely excited.”

On what he has heard from teammate Joe Morrow, his teammate back in Portland.

“All good things from Joe…he likes everybody, the staff and everything.”

He would assess his game as such:

“I think I am a good skater, that is one of my strengths and that is something that I hope to carry on to here.”

He had only met with the Penguins at the Combine and wasn’t sure that they were interested in him.

He played on the power play with Joe Morrow a bit this season…

He was an Avs fan growing up…but quickly mentioned that he is now firmly in the Penguins camp!

he models himself after Drew Doughty…

He is impressed with the City of Pittsburgh:

“Pittsburgh is a great city, I’ve been here since Wed and got to walk around downtown a bit and see it. The arena is beautiful. I am excited to get here and hopefully stick around.”

* * * * *

While I was typing… The Buffalo Sabres came together with the Calgary Flames on a deal and grabbed the 14th overall in exchange for the 21st and the 42nd.

The Sabres used the 14th overall to select Zemgus Girgensons.

1.15 – Senators – Cody Ceci

1.16 – Capitals – Thomas Wilson – who many had on their draft boards as a potential pick of the Penguins at 22.

9:25pm: The San Jose Sharks use the 17th overall selection to grab Tomas Hertl.

9:41pm: Transcribing Jim Rutherford’s press conference for you guys… but in the meantime I missed a handful of picks!

1.18 – Blackhawks – Teuvo Teravainen

1.19 – Lightning – the first goaltender of the night – Andrey Vasilevskiy

1.20 – Flyers – Scott Laughton

1.21 – Flames – Mark Jankowski

10:00pm: The Penguins grab a second defenseman with their 22nd pick, Olli Maatta

From the Pens site:

Defenseman Olli Maatta burst onto the hockey scene at the 2011 World Junior Championships, becoming the youngest player ever selected to represent Team Finland at the age of 16. The following year, after completing a season playing for JYP Jyväskylä II in the SM-liiga II in Finland, Maatta became the No. 1 overall selection for the London Knights in the Canadian Hockey League import draft. Known more for his defensive presence than his offensive prowess, the Finnish import led all Ontario Hockey League rookie blueliners in scoring, posting 32 points (5G-27A) in 58 games. But the stay-at-home defenseman continued to show an offensive scoring touch for London, helping the Knights capture the OHL Championship, leading the team with 23 points (6G-17A) throughout the OHL playoffs.

From McKeen’s Hockey:

“Coach Hunter wasted no time throwing (Maatta) over the boards on the penalty kill, as he was his most trusted defenseman. Maatta has exceptional range and is even more impressive in a reverse movement … Maatta made puck mistakes early in the season, but improved upon his puck skills in the second half of the year, as he was able to execute a strong first pass and routinely find his outlets.”
-McKeen’s Hockey

10:16pm: Ray Shero was just interviewed on the jumbotron…

– He didn’t think a deal would happen tonight.

– Jim Rutherford was persistent

– Jordan wasn’t thrilled with his role as third line center

– He felt it was the right thing to do… they could move on, he could do the same and expand himself as a player.

– When asked if he had some more excitement for rounds 2 through 7, he said… “We’re gonna try, you gotta come back tomorrow to see.”

10:20pm: Picks, picks and more picks!

1.23 – Panthers – Michael Matheson

1.24 – Bruins – Malcom Subban

1.25 – Blues – Jordan Schmaltz

The Blues have the market cornered on guys with names starting with SCH and ending with TZ… Jaden Schwartz, meet Jordan Schmaltz…

10:25pm: The Vancouver Canucks have selected Brandon Gaunce with the 25th overall selection…

Rob Rossi has just tweeted that the Penguins have interest in the rights to Ryan Suter… something that I have been hyping up on radio appearances for several weeks. It just made sense to me. If they can free up some salary, they can make an attractive offer and get him locked up.

We will see…

1.27 – Coyotes – Henrik Samuelsson

The crowd just reacted to an Ulf sighting in the crowd… some folks thought that the Penguins might grab Henrik and make it a family affair in Pittsburgh, considering that they already one Samuelsson in Philip Samuelsson.

10:37pm: With three picks remaining, the first round has now gone over the three hour mark. The amazing thing about these situations is that tomorrow’s remaining six rounds will blow by in roughly five hours.

The Rangers select Brady Skjei, a smooth skating defenseman that I felt had a chance of going to the Penguins.

10:43pm: Well, as quickly as my excitement level rose about Suter and my hyping it, it has fallen… the Penguins have apparently moved on. However, the part of me that pens “On the ‘D’-Fence” for NHL.com is getting fired up as news is circulating that the Penguins are inquiring about Keith Yandle.

Our pal Rob Rossi says that the Penguins were turned off on Suter by the fact that he wouldn’t sign before July 1.

10:53pm: Apparently the Penguins and Coyotes have a deal in place… waiting on specifics… per Rossi tweet.

Picks:

1.29 – no joke… the Devils actually selected the son of Stephane Matteau, Stefan Matteau… they exorcised the demons of STEP ON MY TOE earlier this Spring and drafted the man’s son tonight…

1.30 – Kings – Tanner Pearson

10:57pm: 

Well, round 1 is in the books and it will be an historic one for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they broke up their triplets, brought in three young defensemen, a great two-way forward and are in the process of closing another deal as we speak…

I will have a bunch of content coming on all of this activity, but am planning to wrap this up for the time being… we will be running another DOAMM tomorrow during rounds 2 through 7! Thanks for following along tonight…hope to see you all in the morning!

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About Brian Metzer

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Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live Weekly, a show that airs Saturday mornings on 105.9 the X and iHeart Radio. He serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, and is the NHL and Penguins correspondent for the Beaver County Times. Metzer is also a contributing writer for NHL.com and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

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