It's Monday morning and the dust has finally settled on the NHL Entry Draft. Perhaps it's more accurate to state that the dust never really kicked up at the NHL Entry draft. Despite all the rumors flowing on Twitter, Brian Burke didn't end up with John Tavares (or Brayden Schenn), Dany Heatley's whiney ass wasn't shipped off to Los Angeles or Minnesota, the bickering Lightning ownership didn't find a way to screw up the #2 pick (yet), Vinny Lecavalier is still not a Montreal Canadien and the Sedin twins did not surprise everyone by jumping out of a cake.
There were a couple of trades, but nothing really overly exciting from an Avalanche prospective. The Flyers sent a boatload of talent to Anaheim for Chris Pronger, meaning that Avalanche fans will only be forced to watch Pronger get away with rampant interference penalties once a year, at least until next summer when his wife picks a new team for him (again). The Flames acquired Alberta native Jay Bouwmeester from the Panthers (for Jordan Leopold and a pick), giving them a couple of days to negotiate with the defenseman before he bolts via free agency. The Wild acquired Kyle Brodziak from Edmonton for a couple of picks (with one of them, the Oilers drafted Olivier Roy - a guy some folks thought might be headed to Denver). And that was about it, unless you are a fan of Brandon Prust, James Vandermeer or Chad Johnson (no, not that one).
As for the draft, the first five picks went exactly according to the SBN Mock draft, which is a clear sign that NHL executives are frequent readers of James Mirtle. Or something to that effect. After that, it started to get a little loopy with some guys dropping a bit (Jordan Schroeder) and others coming off a little higher than expected (Calvin de Haan).
I only watched Friday night's festivities (round 1) and that was definitely enough. By the end of the first round, the list of "guys I'd ever heard of, even just once" was completely exhausted. I did enjoy the coverage (except for Versus stripping out the draft ticker) and that includes Pierre McGuire. Personally, I think the NHL draft is the only event McGuire should be covering. For all his shortcomings as an analyst or a sideline reporter during games, he does know hockey, and the draft is the perfect venue for him to show off. He has a ton of knowledge and an intense desire to let you know that he has a ton of knowledge. That works during the draft; see Mel Kiper. It doesn't work during the games; see Mel Kiper...if folks were dumb enough to put Kiper in the booth.
And now it's over. After all the fawning and projecting and ruminating, we're only going to see a couple of these guys in the NHL next year. In more than a few cases, the "09" jerseys the draftees donned will be the last NHL jersey they will ever wear outside of training camp and it will be several years before we can really anoint the winners and losers from the draft. It was exciting to watch, though, and to have an Avalanche pick (or two) that actually matters. I was extremely nervous all day long, and by 7 pm eastern I was a complete mess. Thankfully, it all fell into place as desired (Matt Duchene wasn't the only one making a little fist pump when Tampa took Victor Hedman). Now that that's out of the way, I can start stressing about free agency...