CHELSEY, ON. —The player who scores the Stanley Cup winning goal; the fourth-line grinder; and the goalie who stands on his head to keep his team in the game…the majority of these players were all drafted into the NHL. The NHL Entry Draft shows us that first overall picks such as Sidney Crosby and 171st overall picks such as Pavel Datsyuk can have equally as successful careers.
So much time, energy, and money goes into a young hockey player’s career long before they ever start making a living out of it. People who have invested everything into hockey are rewarded when their dream of hearing their names called on draft day becomes a reality. They become one step closer to living their even bigger dream of playing in the NHL.
The first overall pick in the 2010 draft, Taylor Hall had this to say about when he was selected, “I was so shocked. I was shaking in my seat. I got up to the podium, or whatever it is, and I was shaking so much I couldn’t even put my jersey on.”
The 2016 NHL Entry Draft will be held June 24th and 25th at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo. Montreal has the 9th, 39th, 45th, 69th, 99th, 123rd, and 159th picks this year. Many of our All Habs Hockey Magazine team members will be attending the draft this year so you can trust we will have great coverage of the event.
Everyone has different emotions and ideas going into the draft. I interviewed Habs fans to see how they feel regarding the upcoming draft.
I asked Habs fan, Nick Jones, who he considered to be tradeable and untradeable. He didn’t hesitate when telling me who is absolutely untradeable: Carey Price, P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brendan Gallagher. When it came to who he thinks Marc Bergevin should try trading, he had mixed feelings as every fan would.
It’s hard to admit that someone should be traded for the good of the team when you have come to love the player over the years. Jones admitted that he loves Lars Eller and Tomas Plekanec but knows they could fetch a good return for the team. According to some Andrei Markov’s play is declining so it seems like a salary the team should shed. But Nick felt strongly about Markov being able to finish his career in Montreal.
I asked Nick if he thought Bergevin should trade up from ninth or if he thought it would be too costly. He responded:
“Personally, I think it’s too costly. If Bergevin can try and plug one of the few holes they have with this draft, I would be satisfied. I know he got a lot of heat this season for not shaking everything up, but I don’t think they’re at a house on fire stage yet. They just need one or two more pieces to truly flesh out they team. With next season on the horizon, I’m feeling confident that the Habs will be a solid Cup contender as they have the team necessary (to compete.) With Galchenyuk coming into his own and going on that goal streak, and Price coming back to the Habs after the World Cup of Hockey (which he has played better after playing on those stages: the Sochi Olympics), I’m very confident in both the management and the team.”
Nick believed that trading some young guns or gliders (players who only really show up for a game or two and then seem to disappear for weeks at a time) for a good play-making, solid right winger would be best for the team.
I asked Seth Dussault, the play-by-play voice of the American International College Yellow Jackets, if he believed the draft or trades are more important in building a successful (or unsuccessful) team. His answer is one with which most fans could agree:
“You need both. It’s about getting the right pieces. You need to continually stock the pipeline and develop players, but at the same time you have to be able to find ways to plug holes and that’s what trades and free agency do. Look at Pittsburgh and San Jose. They have home-grown stars (Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang as examples for Pittsburgh; Joe Pavelski and Tomáš Hertl for San Jose) AND guys they traded for (Phil Kessel for Pittsburgh; Brent Burns and Martin Jones for San Jose). Winning teams add the right players both ways. You can’t count on one or the other alone. The draft is always a question mark and trades don’t always work like you want them to. Edmonton and Toronto are proof of that. The Oilers have had a ton of high picks and they’re terrible; Toronto goes and gets guys all the time and they stink too.”
Organizations have a whole network of amateur scouts constantly searching for the pieces that they need in order to fill the holes and help the team to fully flourish. Pro scouts are looking at other NHL teams’ players as well.
Sometimes you end up with a superstar everyone knew they’d be; sometimes a diamond in the rough; and sometimes you end up with someone who doesn’t turn out the way you expected. That is what makes it interesting though; you never know for sure what will happen or how things will turn out. Players have to work extremely hard in order to get drafted and then from there only have to work harder to earn their spot among the world’s very best.
I asked fan, Jay Hoffman, if he watched the draft. He said he absolutely does:
“I do watch. It’s fun being an armchair GM and trying to figure out what each team is going to do. Whether it’s drafting the next potential star or trading down because they don’t need to fill a certain void. Not only that, but it does give you more insight on your own team’s structure. The draft can determine what the roster next season could look like. If you draft a guy like (Auston) Matthews or (Patrik) Laine, you don’t necessarily need to go after the big scoring free agent or trade with an opposing team. Many analysts break down each team’s prospect pool and shows their weaknesses may land. I just think it’s something every hockey fan should watch.”
Most of us, like Jay, try to be armchair GMs, but how many of us really know the prospect pool? I polled fans to find out and here are the results:
When it comes to NHL prospects, how informed are you?
— Caitlyn Golem 🏒⚾🏋 (@CaitlynGolem) May 20, 2016
If you are still questioning whether or not you will bother watching, the interviews alone should sway you in favour:
“Nobody remembers number two, boys. Nobody remembers number two.” – Alexandre Daigle (Number one pick in the 1993 draft)
“Nobody remembers number two, boys. Nobody remembers number two. Classic all-time quote. Guess who ate the sh*t sandwich on that one?” – Chris Pronger (Number two pick in the 1993 draft)