Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Lisa McRitchie on 06/23/12 at 04:15 PM ET
Coming to you live from the Consol Arena for the very last time, as the tables are being folded up and everyone is saying their goodbyes, it’s a good time to look back at this year’s draft. It was a draft only a few trades, only 7 through the 6 rounds of day 2 but it still contained it’s excitement. Once the initial question of Yakupov or Murray was answered the next questions had to be who could improve their team the most through draft selection or trades. But with the draft most players are long term projects, and the question of improvement through the draft is never fully answered.
There were a total of 211 players were drafted this weekend in Pittsburgh, all coming from 12 different countries. 99 hail from Canada, 56 the USA, 22 from Sweden, 11 from Russia, 9 from Finland, 6 the Czech Republic, 2 each from Denmark and Latvia and 1 a piece from Belarus, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Sadly the Australian Nathan Walker who popped up on many scouts’ lists did not make the cut this year, meaning that there has still never been an Australian born player drafted into the NHL.
With the way that the draft has been built up and has become increasingly more important with every year of the cap era, it has become an impossibility to keep up with everything that is going on. But of course you have to try.
The newly drafted players are ushered here and there with NHL staff, bewildered expressions usually filling their faces, but it is always the absolute happiness of being drafted that shines through the most. And surrounding all of these young players are the countless television cameras, the flashes of the still cameras and of course more microphones than they have ever had thrust in front of them. Because of all of this, it becomes more and more difficult to hear of who went where. After all, there is not a long lapse of time before each selection is made, otherwise it would be a draft week rather than weekend. And that’s why we just make due, and accept the whirlwind pace and acknowledge that the second day can be more difficult, but passes in the blink of an eye.
And so while there were fewer trades than many of us may have thought we would see, or even hope for, we can still call this draft a success. Speaking to members of the media representing different teams it was clear that there were just not as many trade calls as we would have expected. Columbus is said to have received calls Friday for their second round pick, but nothing on Saturday, not a single call. For the Oilers, it is difficult to get much out of GM Steve Tambellini, but it can only be guessed that because Linus Omark is still with the Oilers there just wasn’t a market for the Swedish winger at this draft. Or maybe it’s just that the price wasn’t to his liking.
The city of Pittsburgh, and their beautiful new arena was a tremendous host for the more than just the two days of actual drafting. With signs and logos throughout the city’s core, and hotel staff adorned in NHL draft shirts, it would be hard to miss that the event was taking place. And now as we pack up to leave, it’s funny to think of how much work went into this one event, this one weekend that just changed the lives of 211 hockey players, and countless other family members. You can never count on every drafted player making an impact and it is still a long shot for nearly every player to actually make and have a career in the NHL, but this is how we build teams, this is how we glimpse at the future of the NHL.
Next year’s draft will be held in New Jersey, and the following year in Philadelphia. And so until then, it’s back to watching prospects and searching for the next future star.
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org