Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/28/14 at 09:27 AM ET
from Gare Joyce of Sportsnet,
With 18- and 19-year-old talent scattered like so many flecks of confetti at the draft, you would think that the balance of power would not be significantly tilted in the short run. The face of the league or a conference doesn’t change Friday night. Keep in mind that Sidney Crosby didn’t change the balance of power immediately when Pittsburgh drafted him in 2005 — the team remained a bottom-feeder with him and significant veteran talent on hand. So now we look at tonight’s draft and ask: How does the Eastern Conference look different than it did a few weeks ago? Not so very significantly, when you get down to it.
Is Florida — with first overall Aaron Ekblad — going to slip into the playoffs? Probably not but even if they do contend or sneak in, it will have more to do with moves that they make henceforth than the addition of an 18-year-old defenceman, however physical and gifted. Ekblad is not Drew Doughty. Ekblad might be Zack Bogosian or Luke Schenn, players who made the league in their teens and are struggling to find their place in the league.
Likewise, does Sam Reinhart change the picture so significantly in Buffalo? The Kootenay centre is probably quite capable of taking shifts with the Sabres next season but a lot of scouts that I’ve spoken to have suggested that he’d be best served by a return to junior next year and waiting out what should be another rebuilding season in Buffalo. And even when Reinhart is installed in the Sabres lineup, a year doesn’t start to turn the foundering program around.
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