Saturday, July 04, 2015

It Only Takes a Moment: Good Luck, Joel and Troy

Players play their whole careers in teams sports and never have that moment when they are the hero.  Two former Capitals had such moments in a Washington uniform.  As Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer head off to San Jose and St. Louis, respectively, we thank them for those moments and more in their stay in Washington.  Good luck, gentlemen...



Washington Capitals: After a Week of Change, Time to Take a Breath


If you are a member of the Washington Capitals community, it has been quite a week.  It started with a controversial entry draft in which the Caps selected a goaltender with their first round pick and traded two draft picks to move into the second round to take a defenseman.  That was followed up with an opening to the unrestricted free agent signing period in which they signed a winger, then traded for another.  It was for the Caps as busy a week as one could imagine.

It’s time to take a breath and look at what they’ve got.

First, the departures.  The Capitals lost three of their top eight point-getters of the 2014-2015 season.  Mike Green (70 games, 10-35-45, plus-15) signed a three-year/$18 million deal with the Detroit Red Wings on the first day of the unrestricted free agent signing period.  Joel Ward (82 games, 19-15-34, minus-4) signed a three-year/$9.825 million contract with the San Jose Sharks on Friday.  Troy Brouwer (82 games, 21-22-43, plus-11) was sent to the St. Louis Blues with prospect goaltender Pheonix Copley and a 2016 third round draft pick for forward T.J. Oshie.  Another departure might be imminent; Eric Fehr has not yet signed a new contract with a new team, but neither has he signed one with the Caps.

That is a sizable chunk of the Capitals’ offense from last season – 69 of the team’s 237 total goals scored (29.1 percent) and 16 of the team’s 60 power play goals (26.7 percent).  And let’s not downplay the durability aspect, either.  Ward and Brouwer appeared in all 82 games last season and between them missed only one game over the past two seasons.  Green appeared in 72 games, his highest total since he skated in 75 games in 2009-2010.  Fehr appeared in 75 games, the most for which he dressed in a season in his ten-year career.

On the other hand, neither Green nor Brouwer recorded a goal in 14 postseason games this year and combined for only five points.  Ward tied for the team lead in points (9) and got a fair amount of first line duty, which might not have been the role one envisioned for him when the playoffs started.  Fehr was limited by injury to four games in which he did not record a point.

Retention of all four posed problems for the Caps.  For Ward it was not so much his production – he was a productive player in a third-line role – as it was his expiring contract.  Ward will turn 35 years of age in December, and a longer term deal (he was said to be seeking a four-year contract) almost certainly would have raised value questions in the last years of the agreement.  In a league where younger and faster seems to be the rule of the day, an aging forward might not have been the way to go.  And let’s face it, this is where a Brooks Orpik contract comes into play…did the Caps want another player who might have issues on the back end of a contract encumbering cap room? 

For Brouwer, the confounding part of his play was his postseason production.  The absence of goals in 2015 was not an aberration.  In 35 post season games with Washington he recorded a total of three goals and managed a total of only nine points.  In his last 47 postseason games dating back to his time with the Chicago Blackhawks he has only those three goals.  In his role as a top-six forward, that kind of production was not conducive to team success.

Green was the prototypical offensive defenseman for much of his career.  Injuries and circumstance ate into his production until he found himself as a third-pair defenseman for last year’s edition of the Caps and had ceded much of his first unit power play duty to John Carlson over the past two seasons.  Green will turn 30 just after the start of the 2015-2016 season and should be considered still in his prime.  However, with the Caps set among their top four defenders (John Carlson and Brooks Orpik, Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen), Green would have continued in a more limited role and thus could not justify the large contract he could – and did – obtain in free agency.

For Fehr, the matter was his health, despite his setting a career high in games played in a season.  Sustaining another shoulder injury in the postseason was the latest in a series of injuries to the joint.  It was the last straw with respect to a shoulder that had given Fehr difficulty for much of the season.

There is another departure worth noting, and that is Pheonix Copley.  Part of the trade that sent Troy Brouwer to St. Louis on Friday, Copley was arguably number three on the team’s goaltending depth chart, behind Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer (depending on how you feel about Justin Peters these days).  Copley was ticketed for the number one goaltender role with the Hershey Bears this coming season after a surprising season in which he went 17-4-3, 2.17, .925, with three shutouts for the Bears.  He was the latest in a string of unheralded goaltenders who rocketed up the depth chart.  As an undrafted free agent, he followed Holtby (a fourth round draft pick in 2008) and Grubauer (a fourth rounder in 2010) in staking a claim as a future number one netminder.

Now, the additions.  Those draft picks last Friday have sparked quite a bit of conversation.  After realizing the aforementioned success in finding promising goaltenders in later rounds of the draft or as undrafted free agents, the Caps selected a goaltender with the 22nd overall pick – Ilya Samsonov.  Complicating the pick is the fact that Samsonov is expected to play in the KHL for the next three seasons.  He is the first netminder taken in the first round by the Caps since they took Semyon Varlamov with the 23rd overall pick in 2006.  There are more questions than answers with any draft pick, even a first rounder, but the questions about Samsonov are obvious.  Why a goalie in the first round when: a) the Caps have found value at the position in later rounds, and b) when elite goaltenders are at least as often taken later in the draft (Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, Ryan Miller) as they are in the first round (Carey Price, Tuukka Rask, Roberto Luongo)?  Why take a goalie that is not expected to play a game in North America until the 2018-2019 season?  Why not a skater in that spot, given the recent success the Caps have had drafting in the lower third of the first round

Then there is the defenseman the Caps burned two draft picks to get in the second round – Jonas Siegenthaler.  He is variously described as “smooth skating with…size and mobility,”  strong and responsible…without much in the way of an offensive game,” “not flashy, but solid and steady (Red Line Report).”  If that sounds to you like Karl Alzner, it does to us, too.  In that sense, drafting such a defenseman at 57th overall seems like a bargain, but then again in the 15 drafts before this one the Caps selected a total of 12 players in the 51-70 overall range.  Know how many of them played in at least 100 games for the Caps?  One (Dmitry Orlov: 119).

It was the first week of the unrestricted free agent signing period that was eventful – though let’s hold off on calling it “monumental” – for the Caps.  The Capitals addressed a clear need, a scoring line right winger, late on Day 1 of the signing period.  Justin Williams inked a two-year/$6.5 million deal that works on multiple levels.  First, he is a winner.  By now, every Caps fan knows that he is 7-0 in Games 7 in the postseason, and he has an NHL record seven goals in those games (shared with hall of famer Glenn Anderson) and 14 points.  At the moment, there are only four Capitals with at least seven goals and 14 points in all playoff games played with the team – Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, and Jason Chimera.

Williams also takes some pressure off the sophomores in the forward ranks – Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov.  Based on their performance last season and a reasonably productive postseason (particularly Kuznetsov in the postseason), the club was likely to lean on them considerably in the upcoming season, particularly if Ward and Eric Fehr were to depart in free agency.  Williams’ arrival gives them a bit of room to grow into a more important role over the next two seasons.  Think of Williams as being a “bridge” to that possibility.

Then there is the cost.  There was a lot of conversation about the Capitals being in the market for Chicago Blackhawk forward Patrick Sharp.  The 33-year old winger has two more years on his current contract with a $5.9 million average annual value attached to it.  Procuring the services of a three-time Stanley Cup winner who had three 30-plus goal seasons among his last four full seasons (not counting the abbreviated 2012-2013 season) might well have cost the Caps a heavy price.  Chicago’s asking price was reported to be a first-round pick, an A-level prospect, and a top-six forward on an entry level contract.  A first, Madison Bowey, and Andre Burakovsky for a 30-plus year old winger on an expensive contract?  Surely the actual price would have been lower, but it still would have been substantial.  Signing Williams cost the Caps nothing in terms of players, and his cap hit will be $2.65 million lower.

Signing Williams might have made for a pretty good week, but the Caps were not finished.  Late Thursday they executed a trade, sending forward Troy Brouwer, goaltending prospect Pheonix Copley, and a third round draft pick to the St. Louis Blues for forward T.J. Oshie.  At first blush this is an exchange of forwards of vaguely similar profiles.  In his four seasons with the Capitals, Brouwer scored at a 23-19-43, minus-4 pace per 82 games.  Oshie had a pace of 20-37-57, plus-13 in seven seasons with the Blues.  That is not where the similarities are, though.  Brouwer was 3-6-9, minus-5, in 35 postseason games with Washington, while Oshie was 5-4-9, minus-12, in 30 postseason games with the Blues.  It is a similarity many will not want to see continued, at least on the Washington side of the trade.

There is a cost consideration here, too.  In terms of current cap management, the effect of Oshie’s arrival and Brouwer’s departure is a net $750,000 increase in Washington’s cap number.  But think of this in the larger context.  The Caps added two forwards to address the right wing weakness (Oshie and Williams), lost one (Brouwer), with a net increase of $4.0 million in the team’s cap number, $1.9 million less than the hit Patrick Sharp would have had on the cap, and Washington did not have to part with an A-level prospect or a top-six forward on an entry-level deal.

This brings us to the notion of winners and losers, which is something one always thinks about in trades, and that is where Copley comes into play.  The glow of the acquisition of Oshie aside (and we suspect that his impact will not be quite what Caps fans might think of it this weekend), the winner of this trade might rest on how Copley progresses down the road.  In one respect, the Caps did not give up a lot here, owing to their organizational depth at the position.  Not knowing how long this trade was in the works, if it was being discussed with the Blues over the last few weeks, it might explain the Caps taking a goalie in the first round (you might disagree with the execution of that strategy; we only offer it as a strategic scenario).  The Caps remain deep at goaltender and are still in a position to think in terms of a five-year succession plan for their goalies (one can envision the Caps losing Braden Holtby as an unrestricted free agent in 4-5 years and having Samsonov take over, for example).

For the Blues, they get a prospect from a club that has a track record of finding talent at the position in later rounds or, as Copley was, an undrafted free agent.  What they will not know is whether that track record can add another name for another three or four years.  Even though he will turn 24 this season, Copley is still very green (one season as a backup in Hershey) with much left to prove before he can assume the reins of a number one goaltending position in the NHL.

Overall, the Caps have made a rather substantial change to their roster in an important respect.  The 2014-2015 team was characterized as playing a “heavy” style of game that ground down opponents physically.  The flip side of that is that the Caps were vulnerable to teams that relied more on speed – the New York Rangers (who beat the Caps in the second round of the postseason), New York Islanders (who took the Caps to seven games in the first round), and the Tampa Bay Lightning (a Cup finalist) come to mind.  Subtracting Brouwer and Ward (and perhaps Fehr), and adding Williams and Oshie adds a bit of speed and more than a bit of skill among the top nine-forwards.  The Caps could ice a top six of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and T.J. Oshie on the top line, and a second line of Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Justin Williams that would be among the most skilled top-six groups in the league by the end of the regular season, assuming Burakovsky and Kuznetsov continue their progress.

If anything, this week was one in which general manager Brian MacLellan firmly imprinted his stamp on the team.  For the second consecutive year, MacLellan identified a need and addressed it aggressively.  Last summer it was defense and the addition of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik.  This week it was addressing a weakness at right wing by adding Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie.  All four acquisitions can be thought of as a piece.  The Caps are no longer marketing futures.  Sure, the draft is and will remain the foundation of personnel management.  However, everyone recognizes by now that Alex Ovechkin (30 years old this September) and Nicklas Backstrom (28 in November) do not have long shelf lives left as elite players.  There is an emerging window of perhaps 4-5 years in which the Caps will have both players still at an elite level and a good pool of prospects growing into responsible roles.  Adding veterans with a record of performance and success who can step into top-four defense or top-six forward roles and be productive becomes a bigger part of roster management than it was in the years immediately following the rebuild.  For the Caps, there is still work to be done before the roster is set for Opening Night.  However, the days of the Young Guns are over.  The future is now.

Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Sunday, June 28, 2015

There is Only One "52"


Mike Green was the not the first defenseman taken in the 2004 entry draft.  He was not even the first defenseman taken in that draft by the Washington Capitals.  Green, who was the third-ranked North American defenseman in the NHL Central Scouting rankings, was the 29th overall pick and eighth defenseman taken in that draft, two spots behind  Jeff Schultz, taken by the Caps at 27th overall.

Eleven years later, Green is arguably the best defenseman of his 2004 class.  He is at or near the top in most statistical categories:
  • Games played: 575 (3rd)
  • Goals: 113 (1st)
  • Goals-per-game: 0.20 (1st)
  • Assists: 247 (2nd)
  • Points: 360 (2nd)
  • Points-per-game: 0.63 (1st)
  • Plus-minus: plus-58 (1st)

Only once in ten seasons has his Corsi-for percentage at 5-on-5 been under 50 percent (49.4 in 2011-2012), and he has a cumulative 54.0 percent over that period; only once in ten seasons has his Corsi-for/relative been less that plus-1.1 (minus-1.2 in 2012-2013; numbers from war-on-ice.com).  Twice finishing second in Norris Trophy voting as top defenseman, twice a first team NHL all-star, Green is the most accomplished defenseman of his class.

Now, with ten years of NHL experience with the Capitals, Green appears destined to don another sweater for the next phase of his career.  As an unrestricted free agent, the arithmetic is unsympathetic to a renewal of the relationship between Green and Washington.  More than most that have come and gone in the history of the franchise, Green will leave memories.  There is the “Game Over Green” persona, the player who recorded 22 regular season and playoff game-winning goals, nine of them in overtime.  There is the player who over the last eight seasons has more seasons with ten or more goals (five) than any full-time defenseman except  Shea Weber (six).  There is the defenseman who has the only season with 30 or more goals scored since 1992-1993, the 2008-2009 season in which he set a record for consecutive games with a goal scored by a defenseman (eight).

But Green has been more than his statistics in Washington.  He has been one of the most memorable players in the club’s history…

He was one of those fresh-faced teenagers full of promise on draft day 2004...




...then went on to become a Calder Cup champion with the Hershey Bears in 2006...

...but he helped get there by imprinting a unique style in his pre-game warm-up routine...


His climb up the development ladder was sure and steady...


...eventually becoming one of the premier offensive defensemen in the league and an all star...


Although he would twice be a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman, he had his detractors who belittled his defense.  But Green kept plugging along...

...and it did not keep him from being a record-setter...

Injuries had begun to take their toll on Green's game...


...but in working through them, he also grew into a better two-way defenseman, although not without their slips along the way...


And, it did not keep him from being a sportsman whose gentlemanly play deserved notice...


As much as his presence on the ice, Green was a presence off it as well, a player of style...




...as sharp off the ice as on it...




Mike Green came to the Caps as an unknown, became one of the "Young Guns," and grew into one of the best defensemen in the history of a franchise in which such a thing is no small honor.  It appears, sadly, that his stay with the Capitals is at an end.  It will be a decade not soon forgotten.  And no matter where his travels take him, Mike Green -- the only player to wear number "52" in team history -- will occupy a special place in the memory of Caps fans...


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Peerless Prognosticator Brings You the Most Mocktentatious of 2015 Mock Drafts


It is the last week of June, not quite Shark Week as weeks go, but to NHL fans it is "Hope Week.”  Fans of all 30 teams will be waiting fervently, hoping that when their team is called to the podium, the powers that be will announce a name that will change the fortunes of their club for the better.  Part of this week’s traditions is the publishing of mock drafts.  Far be it from the cousins or I to trivialize traditions, so we will present with all due modesty our own prognostications for the first round of the NHL entry draft in Sunrise, Florida, this Friday evening.  So cut yourself a slice of mock apple pie, and pour yourself an alcohol-free beer, and take a look at what the cousins and I came up with.


1.  Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid, Center, Erie Otters (OHL)

Last three first draft picks:
  • 2014: Leon Draisaitl, C (3rd overall)
  • 2013: Darnell Nurse, D (7th overall)
  • 2012: Nail Yakupov, RW (1st overall)

Since 2007, the Oilers have had seven top-ten draft picks, four in the top-five, and three top overall picks.  Since 2007-2008, Edmonton has not finished a season with more than 41 wins, have not finished better than third in their division, and have not made the playoffs so much as once.  You would think they cannot screw this up, picking the most highly thought of amateur since Sidney Crosby, but in the back of your mind you might be thinking that somehow they will.


2.  Buffalo Sabres: Jack Eichel, Center, Boston University (NCAA)

Last three first draft picks:
  • 2014: Sam Reinhart, C (2nd overall)
  • 2013: Rasmus Ristolainen, D (8th overall)
  • 2012: Mikhail Grigorenko, C (12th overall)

In each of the last five drafts the Sabres picked from a successively higher position in the first round.  For the second straight year they get to pick second overall.  In two of the last three drafts they went for centers with their first pick, but this time they get to take a center who would be the unquestioned top pick but for the fact that this is the Connor McDavid draft.


3.  Arizona Coyotes: Dylan Strome, Center, Erie Otters (OHL)

Last three first draft picks:
  • 2014: Brendan Perlini, LW (12th overall)
  • 2013: Max Domi, C (12th overall)
  • 2012: Henrik Samuelsson, C (27th overall)

The draft will be something of a sanctuary for Coyote fans that once more have to endure the machinations of arena politics.  This will be the Coyotes’ first top-five pick since they took Kyle Turris with the third overall pick in 2007.  After taking defensemen in the first round in three straight years ending in 2011, they have gone for forwards in each of the last three years.  They could go for defenseman Noah Hanafin here, but they won’t.


4.  Toronto Maple Leafs: Noah Hanafin, Defense, Boston College (NCAA)

Last three first draft picks:
  • 2014: William Nylander, C (8th overall)
  • 2013: Frederik Gauthier, C (21st overall)
  • 2012: Morgan Rielly, D (5th overall)

After taking centers in each of the last two drafts with the first pick available to them, the Maple Leafs look for blue line help.  The odd thing here is that Toronto has never spent a first-round pick on an NCAA player.  Hanafin just completed his freshman season with Boston College.


5.  Carolina Hurricanes: Mitch Marner, Center. London Knights (OHL)

Last three first draft picks:
  • 2014: Haydn Fleury, D (7th overall)
  • 2013: Elias Lindholm, C (5th overall)
  • 2012: Phil DiGiuseppe, F (38th overall)

A few years back, Carolina did pretty well at the top of the draft.  Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk in 2010, Victor Rask in 2011, Elias Lindholm in 2013.  More to the point, they have done somewhat better drafting forwards than defensemen, Faulk notwithstanding.  They will get a chance to add to that success here.


6.  New Jersey Devils: Ivan Provorov, Defense, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

Last three first draft picks:
  • 2014: John Quenneville, C (30th overall)
  • 2013: Steven Santini, D (42nd)
  • 2012: Stefan Matteau, LW 29th overall)



7.  Philadelphia Flyers: Lawson Crouse, Left Wing, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

Last three first draft picks:
  • 2014: Travis Sanheim, D (17th overall)
  • 2013: Samuel Morin, D (11th overall)
  • 2012: Scott Laughlin, LW (20th overall)



8.  Columbus Blue Jackets: Mikko Rantanen, RW (TPS/SM Liga)

Last three first draft picks:
  • 2014: Sonny Milano, LW (16th overall)
  • 2013: Alexander Wennberg, C (14th overall)
  • 2012: Ryan Murray, D (2nd overall)



9.  San Jose Sharks: Pavel Zacha, Center, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

Last three first draft picks:
  • 2014: Nikolay Goldobin, RW (27th overall)
  • 2013: Mirco Mueller, D (18th overall)
  • 2012: Tomas Hertl, LW (17th overall)



10.  Colorado Avalanche: Zach Werenski, Defense, University of Michigan (NCAA)

Last three first draft picks:
  • 2014: Conner Bleackeley, C (23rd overall)
  • 2013: Nathan MacKinnon, C (1st overall)
  • 2012: Mitchell Heard, C (41st overall)



11.  Florida Panthers: Matthew Barzal, Center, Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Aaron Ekblad, D (1st overall)
  • 2013: Aleksander Barkov, C (2nd overall)
  • 2012: Michael Matheson, D (23rd overall)



12.  Dallas Stars: Kyle Conor, Left Wing/Center (USHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Julius Honka, D (14th overall)
  • 2013: Valeri Nichuskhin, RW (10th overall)
  • 2012: Radek Faksam, C (13th overall)



13.  Los Angeles Kings: Timo Meier, Right Wing, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Adrian Kempe, LW (29th overall)
  • 2013: Valentin Zykov, RW (37th overall)
  • 2012: Tanner Pearson, LW (30th overall)



14.  Boston Bruins: Travis Konecny, Right Wing, Ottawa 67's (OHL))

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: David Pastrnak, LW (25th overall)
  • 2013: Linus Arnesson, D (60th overall)
  • 2012: Malcolm Subban, G (24th overall)



15.  Calgary Flames: Ilya Samsonov, Goaltender, Magnitogorsk (MHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Sam Bennett, C (4th overall)
  • 2013: Sean Monahan, C (6th overall)
  • 2012: Mark Jankowski, C (21st overall)



16.  Edmonton Oilers (from Pittsburgh): Jakub Zboril, Defense, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Leon Draisaitl, C (3rd overall)
  • 2013: Darnell Nurse, D (7th overall)
  • 2012: Nail Yakupov, RW (1st overall)



17.  Winnipeg Jets: Nick Merkley, Center/Right Wing, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Nikolaj Ehlers, LW (9th overall)
  • 2013: Josh Morrissey, D (13th overall)
  • 2012: Jacob Trouba, D (9th overall)



18.  Ottawa Senators: Thomas Chabot, Defense, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Andreas Englund, D (40th overall)
  • 2013: Curtis Lazar, C (17th overall)
  • 2012: Cody Ceci, D (15th overall)



19.  Detroit Red Wings: Evgeni Svechnikov, Center, Cape Breton (QMJHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Dylan Larkin, C (15th overall)
  • 2013: Anthony Mantha, RW (20th overall)
  • 2012: Martin Frk, RW (49th overall)



20.  Minnesota Wild: Jacob Larsson, Defense, Frolunda (Swe-J20)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Alex Tuch, RW (18th overall)
  • 2013: Gustav Olofsson, D (46th overall)
  • 2012: Matthew Dumba, D (7th overall)



21. Buffalo Sabres (from New York Islanders): Paul Bittner, Left Wing, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Sam Reinhart, C (2nd overall)
  • 2013: Rasmus Ristolainen, D (8th overall)
  • 2012: Mikhail Grigorenko, C (12th overall)



22.  Washington Capitals: Joel Eriksson Ek, Center, Farjestad (SWE-SHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Jakub Vrana, LW (13th overall)
  • 2013: Andre Burakovsky, LW (23rd overall)
  • 2012: Filip Forsberg, C (11th overall)

Starting in 2006, when the Capitals selected Nicklas Backstrom fourth overall, Washington drafted players on Swedish teams with their first pick in the first round six times in eight drafts (for the record: Backstrom, Anton Gustafsson, Marcus Johansson, Filip Forsberg, Andre Burakovsky, and Jakub Vrana).  All of them are forwards.  Only twice in the last 12 drafts have the Caps selected a defenseman with the first pick available to them: Karl Alzner in 2007 and Sasha Pokulok in 2005.  Picking a forward from Sweden would hardly be an outside-the-box pick here.


23.  Vancouver Canucks: Jeremy Roy, Defense, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Jake Virtanen, RW (6th overall)
  • 2013: Bo Horvat, C (9th overall)
  • 2012: Brendan Gaunce, C (26th overall)



24.  Toronto Maple Leafs (from Nashville): Colin White, Center (USHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: William Nylander, C (8th overall)
  • 2013: Frederik Gauthier, C (21st overall)
  • 2012: Morgan Rielly, D (5th overall)



25.  Winnipeg Jets (from Buffalo from St. Louis): Denis Guryanov, Right Wing, Togliatti (MHL)
  • 2014: Nikolaj Ehlers, LW (9th overall)
  • 2013: Josh Morrissey, D (13th overall)
  • 2012: Jacob Trouba, D (9th overall)



26.  Montreal Canadiens: Oliver Kylington, Defense, Farjestad (SHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Nikita Scherbak, RW (26th overall)
  • 2013: Michael McCarron, RW (25th overall)
  • 2012: Alex Galchenyuk, C (3rd overall)



27.  Anaheim Ducks: Jeremy Bracco, Right Wing (USHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Nick Ritchie, LW (10th overall)
  • 2013: Shea Theodore, D (26th overall)
  • 2012: Hampus Lindholm, D (6th overall)



28.  Tampa Bay Lightning (from New York Rangers): Brandon Carlo, Defense, Tri-City Americans (WHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Anthony DeAngelo, D (19th overall)
  • 2013: Jonathan Drouin, LW (3rd overall)
  • 2012: Slater Koekkoek, D (10th overall)



29.   Philadelphia Flyers (from Tampa Bay): Gabriel Carlsson, Defense, Linkoping (SWE-J20)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Travis Sanheim, D (17th overall)
  • 2013: Samuel Morin, D (11th overall)
  • 2012: Scott Laughlin, LW (20th overall)



30.  Arizona Coyotes (from Chicago): Noah Juulsen, Defense, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

Last three first picks:
  • 2014: Brendan Perlini, LW (12th overall)
  • 2013: Max Domi, C (12th overall)
  • 2012: Henrik Samuelsson, C (27th overall)


And there you have it.  Thirty young men whose dreams will come true this weekend.  Thirty general managers having put their futures in the hands of 18-year olds.  Think of it as teenagers’ revenge.

As always, do not use these picks for cash wagering, only for lining the birdcage.