Monday, June 29, 2009

N.H.L. Draft and Other Hockey Thoughts

The New York Islanders did the sensible thing and picked John Tavares with the number one pick on Friday night at the N.H.L. Draft. Although there is no guarantee that Tavares is going to become a superstar, the Isles could not afford to be cute with their fanbase by choosing someone else.

The New York Rangers chose Chris Kreider at No. 19 in the first round. The Rangers also took diminutive center Ryan Bourque, son of Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, at No. 80.

The New Jersey Devils packaged their third round pick along with their 23rd overall pick in the first round to Calgary in exchange for Calgary's 20th overall pick. The Devils then chose the third ranked European skater, Jacob Josefson, a Swede.

In other news, Rangers coach John Tortorella was named as an assistant to Team USA coach Ron Wilson for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, along with Islanders coach Scott Gordon.

Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer will both be returning for another season with the Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile, 47-year-old Chris Chelios will be playing one more season in the N.H.L.

I suppose the big news is that N.Y. Rangers GM Glen Sather couldn't swing a deal for Ottawa's Dany Heatley. In news that won't grab headlines but will hurt the Blueshirts on the ice, the Rangers extended a qualifying offer to Nik Zherdev which means he won't be going anywhere, but they didn't qualify the speedy Freddie Sjostrom, which means he will be gone. Blair Betts, a superb penalty killer, is an unrestricted free agent and should garner plenty of interest around the league. Thus, his days as a Ranger have also ended.

Perhaps the most interesting pick for the Broadway Blues was Russian defenseman, Mikhail Pashnin. The 20-year-old was the top pick in the the Kontinental Hockey League draft earlier this month. He'll spend two years in that league before coming to North America.

The Rangers start their week-long prospects camp tomorrow.

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