6:28 pm: We're about a half-hour away from the start of the draft, watching the NHL Network's draft preview which so far is just a rehash of all the draft profiles they ran throughout their playoff coverage. Way to go, NHL Network.
6:31 pm: For point of reference, my six favorite teams, in order of how much I love them: 1) Rangers, 2) Kings, 3) Blackhawks, 4) Oilers, 5) Capitals, 6) Habs. The top 3 have been the same in the exact same order since I was like 8, but the bottom 3 can (and often will) flip-flop in my luv rankings. In this case, the Oilers jumped from 6 to 4 in draft excitement and naming Tom Renney (who I have a personal soft spot for from his Ranger days and I really feel is a great coach) the new head coach. The Habs, meanwhile, dropped from 4 to 6 due to trading away my man Halak. As far as my most hated teams, well, pretty much all their major rivals, so that covers a lot of ground. Having the Flames & Leafs on my list of "most hated" today means I have something in common with fans in Calgary & Toronto, oddly enough.
6:40 pm: Hey Edmonton, have I mentioned (TYLER SEGUIN!) who I want you to take (TYLER SEGUIN!) with the first overall pick (OH GOD PLEASE LET IT BE TYLER SEGUIN!). No, you're right, you can't go wrong either way (UNLESS YOU TAKE TAYLOR HALL!). I leave you with these thoughts- Tyler Seguin, Tyler Seguin, and Tyler Seguin.
6:50 pm: After the foregone conclusion that is the
6:57 pm: Speaking of the Big 3 D-Men, I would be remiss to not mention my friend Aaron, who lives in Windsor, sees the Spitfires play all the time, and is very convinced that Cam Fowler will be a gigantic bust. Considering he's seen a hell of a lot more of him than I have, I will defer to him. If I was a GM I'd take the defensemen who actually show at least a passing desire to, you know, play defense, but what do I know?
7:00 pm: Yeah Versus, way to pick up that TSN coverage again! I was actually a little worried they might try their own hand at it this year; thank god they didn't. Also, a source on Twitter says Keith Ballard to Vancouver for Steve Bernier & the 25th overall pick. In unrelated news, Roberto Luongo was seen crying, although in fairness to Keith Ballard that's not exactly a rare occurance.
7:04 pm: Hey, let's cover the Oilers laughable attempt at picking up the 2nd overall pick like it's a real story!
7:05 pm: McKenzie and McGuire say it's got to be Taylor Hall going first overall. Apparently their moms never told them if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.
7:07 pm: As if the Oilers needed another reason not to take Taylor, he just gushed over seeing Jennifer Love-Hewitt at the Twilight premiere last night. That's 1996 calling, Taylor, and they want their crush back.
7:09 pm: Apparently TSN has been watching reality TV contests and taking notes, because we're going to have to wait through our first commercial break of the evening before we get to see Tyler Seguin picked first overall. Come on guys, that's not exactly a cliffhanger.
7:12 pm: Eklund thinks something will happen with a top 5 pick, because apparently someone he was talking to had to leave suddenly. Not true, and I know that because I have an exclusive source that tells me this person had a plan in place: if caught talking to Eklund for longer than 2 minutes, fake a phone call to get him out of it.
7:14 pm: Wow, they did a great job filling up these stands in LA. Even I didn't think it would be this full. Yay hockey in socal!
7:16 pm: Some loud boos for the Oilers confirms that, yes, there are in fact some Ducks fans in attendance. Or maybe it's Kings fans who still remember that awful game where the Oilers somehow beat us via shootout in our own building this year. Yes, the Oilers won a road game.
7:18 pm: MOTHERFUCKER MOTHERFUCKER MOTHERFUCKER
7:19 pm: Hey Steve Tambellini: fuck you. Just fuck you. How many goddamn wingers do you think the Oilers need?
7:25 pm: Brian Burke Count is at 1. Here comes Peter to take the better player.
7:38 pm: Dale Tallon adds to the Panthers' bounty of young defensemen with big, physical Erik Gudbranson. Having Dimitri Kulikov as a puck-mover allows him to go for the hard-hitting but offensively limited defenseman. Good, safe pick. Now let's see if Columbus goes for one of the other two big D-men or they go off the board with a risky pick on Connolly.
7:40 pm: Panthers have to be considered an up-and-coming team. Finally.
7:43 pm: Some speculation the Jackets may opt for the Winterhawks' center Ryan Johansen just based on need, which would make Steve Yzerman very happy as he's hoping either Fowler or Gormley will still be there at #6. We're about to find out.
7:48 pm: And indeed, the Jackets take Ryan Johansen in our first off-the-board pick. TSN had him 6th, Central Scouting had him 10th, Hockey News had him 12th. Jackets may have a minor bust on their hands with this one; he's physically immature, he benefitted from playing with Swiss wunderkid Nino Niederreiter on his line in Portland, and he went 150th overall in the OHL draft as a 15-year-old. Risky pick to be sure. Next up is the Islanders, who also have a need at forward to get Tavares some support, so who knows if they'll go off the board as well.
7:49 pm: Twitter source says the Kings are making a last-minute push for the Islanders' 5th overall pick, so they must really want either Gormley or Fowler with both still available.
7:51 pm: I'm starting to wonder if Cam Fowler might be this year's first round slider. Gormley is a better all-around defender and there's still a lot of top-end forward talent available (Nino, Connolly, Skinner).
7:53 pm: Alyssa Milano is on the set, apparently she's a big hockey fan. Her brother, who did play junior, called Taylor Hall for first overall, and I'm just going to assume that Alyssa Milano's Brother was the tie-breaking vote on the Oilers draft table, because why not?
7:55 pm: Kevin Connolly from Entourage is up there with the Islanders. A signal they will take Brett Connolly? STAY TUNED!
7:56 pm: And the slide for Gormley & Fowler continues, it's back-to-back Winterhawk picks as the Isles take Nino Niederreiter, shattering the record for highest-drafted Swiss player (Michel Risen 14th overall by the Oilers in 1997). As a Rangers fan who really wanted this kid, this hurts. Good pick by the Isles to compliment Tavares. Now Yzerman goes from just hoping one of Gormley or Fowler will be available to getting to make his pick of the two of them, stunning.
8:01 pm: Well, nevermind all this defensemen shit, Yzerman takes Brett Connolly. My god. He was ranked 8th by TSN due mostly to injury concerns. Not sure I get this pick, they have enough forwards. Maybe it means St. Louis & Lecavailier's time in Tampa could be drawing to a close. So the slide for Gormley & Fowler continues. Will Carolina break their tradition of always taking forwards at 7th with those two both still available?
8:12 pm: Carolina is up for the 7th pick....and they take Jeffery Skinner. Fucking shit, I really really wanted him for the Rangers. So now Gormley & Fowler just keep on sliding, and I'm starting to worry the Rangers will end up taking Fowler at 10th. Like I said, I think he's gonna be a bust, bigtime.
8:19 pm: Here comes Rick Dudley for the Atlanta Thrashers. At this point I'm just hoping they leave us Gormley for 10th, so here he comes to pick Brandon Gormley. Nevermind, Thrashers take TSN's 15th ranked player, Alexander Burmistrov. He's a good center, probably should have been ranked higher if not for the Russian factor, but if he actually does stay in the NHL this will be a good pick for a team that desperately needs offensive talent with Kovalchuk gone. So now we could be seeing a situation where one of (or both!) Gormley or Fowler fall from being ranked in the top 5 in virtually everyone's rankings to out of the top 10.
8:23 pm: Brian Burke Count- 2. Wow, pretty low actually. Burke looks bored.
8:24 pm: Wild continue the apparent strike against draft defensemen in the top 10 with Mikael Granlund from the Finnish Elite League. Very smart player, very good playmaker, but tiny at 5'10. Wild had an offensive need that was desperate, so now it's confirmed: either Gormley or Fowler will slide out of the top 10. Alright Sather, here we go, DO NOT DRAFT CAM FOWLER.
8:34 pm: Rangers take big, tough defenseman Dylan Mcilrath. He's 6-4, could get up to 240 lbs, nicknamed "the Undertaker". Off the board a little bit, 15th ranked in TSN, voted toughest player in the TSN draft poll with 19 fighting majors. So Gormley and Fowler are still on the board. I would have rather had Gormley but I don't mind this pick.
8:38 pm: Dallas Stars take the 9th ranked pick according to TSN, goaltender Jack Campbell. So Cam Fowler isn't even the first American to go, wow. As McGuire pointed out, weird pick considering they just traded for former 1st overall pick Kari Lehtonen. But he could be a legitimate franchise goalie, so whatever I guess. Someone might want to tell Fowler & Gormley to grab a Snickers, 'cause apparently they're not going anywhere for a while.
8:44 pm: The Ducks are up next for the first of their two first-round picks. The Kings fans serenade them with boos that are severely drowning out whatever Ducks fans are here.
8:46 pm: And finally the Ducks take Cam Fowler, who slid from 5th on the TSN & Central Scouting and 3rd on the Hockey News list all the way down to 12th. I would have gone with Gormley but I guess they wanted a pure offensive d-man with Neidemayer retiring. Does Gormley finally go next to Phoenix?
8:53 pm: As Phoenix goes up there to take probably Brandon Gormley thanks to Calgary's dipshit pick, let's all take a moment to laugh at the Sutters.
8:55 pm: Phoenix takes Brandon Gormley, proving they have a brain. I'm really wishing my Rangers took him, but I like the 'Yotes so I'm happy for them and their fans. Never thought in a million years he would drop all the way down to 13th.
9:01 pm: St. Louis continues the trend tonight of going WAY off the board, taking TSN's 29th ranked center from the Tri-City Americans of the USHL, Jaden Schwartz. Interesting pick, he's undersized but he still led the very defense-heavy USHL in scoring last season.
9:08 pm: The Kings traded up, probably to grab a Cali boy. They get Florida's 15th overall pick (that they got from Boston in the Horton trade) for the Kings' 19th & 59th picks. And the crowd is very very VERY happy.
9:11 pm: Nope, turns out they wanted Derek Forbort, who was ranked 11th by TSN and still available at 15th. LA already has plenty of defensemen already on the team and in the system so they have plenty of time to be patient with this huge, 6'5 American. He's on his way to North Dakota in the fall which is a decent hockey program. Great pick by my Kings- pretty sad it was a much better pick than my Rangers at 10th. Senators are up next at 16th.
9:15 pm: Nevermind! The Senators trade the 16th pick to the Blues for....uh....a defenseman. David Rundlad, apparently "a physical defenseman with mobility" according to Pierre McGuire. He went 17th overall in 2009, so it's pretty much a wash. Blues heading up now.
9:17 pm: In probably the first guy to go where TSN predicted him, Vladimir Tarasenko goes to the Blues. Great pick from St. Louis to add to their offensive skill, and the Russian factor isn't as big of a deal here since it's their second first-round pick of the draft.
9:25 pm: Off the board night continues as Colorado takes Joey Hishon, ranked 46th in the TSN list, 17th overall. Bob McKenzie had to search for his papers. Very tiny center from the Owen Sound in the OHL, listed at 5'9 1/2 but looks even smaller than that. Weird pick.
9:33 pm: Nashville takes Austin Watson, ranked 14th by TSN, with the 18th overall pick. He went on a scoring tear this year for Peterborough after Windsor traded him at the OHL trading deadline. Good pick for the Preds and nice to see them not take a defenseman for the first time in like, forever.
9:34 pm: Brian Burke Watch: 3. He's STILL defending the Phil Kessel trade. Okay then.
9:36 pm: Florida GM Dale Tallon up next with the 19th pick that belonged to LA, which they traded for Florida's pick that belonged to Boston. They take Nick Bjugstad, this year's "Mr. Hockey" from Minnesota high school. A huge, six-foot-five center who is very raw right now, Florida could end up with a great pick down the line here. And like the Blues' pick earlier, since this is Florida's second pick of the first round they were able to go with a riskier pick here. Depending on whether Vancouver wants to take their pick this year or not, they could get a THIRD first-round pick at 25th.
9:43 pm: Pittsburgh takes California kid Beau Bennett 20th overall, ranked 18th by TSN. He's a 6'1 right winger who is definitely a project, but you can afford to wait for a project when you're the Penguins I guess. He's heading to a very, very good University of Denver program in the fall.
9:47 pm: Pierre LeBrun reports that according to Bryan Murray, there is "no market" for Ottawa center Jason Spezza and he will remain a Senator.
9:49 pm: Detroit Red Wings up to make the 21st pick, to pockets of boos from the Ducks. They take Notre Dame center Riley Sheahan, a very rare pick that matches up with his TSN ranking. He only had 6 goals playing with the VERY defensive-focused Irish team, and he had an underage drinking violation.
9:56 pm: Phoenix traded their 22nd & 113th picks to Montreal for the 27th & 57th picks. Apparently Montreal sees someone they really want to take and don't think he'll be around much longer. Good deal for the 'Yotes though, they give up a 4th rounder and move their second 1st rounder down 5 spots to pick up another second rounder.
9:58 pm: Montreal goes for 6'3 1/2 US defenseman Jared Tinordi with the 22nd pick, ranked 24th overall by TSN. He was captain of one of the best Under-18 teams that the USA has ever had, that helped America win the Under-18s and the World Juniors in the same year for the first time ever. Good pick considering the Habs desperately needed some size and grit.
10:01 pm: So far we're up to 7 Americans in the first round, below the projected record number of 11 due to some teams going off the board early on. Six picks to go and at least 4 of them have to be Americans to break the record, which probably won't happen, but with the quality of Americans left you could still get 3 to tie it.
10:11 pm: Buffalo takes Mark Pysyk 23rd overall. He was ranked 20th by TSN so another slider here, he's a solid 6'1 1/2 defenseman for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.
10:15 pm: Apparently whoever the Canucks wanted to take at 25th is gone now, because Darren Dreger just reported that the Ballard deal is done. So Dale Tallon comes back up at 25th. Now here comes his former employers to make this very well-traveled pick (New Jersey--->Atlanta--->Chicago). And now the Hawks go completely of the board to take 6'2 1/2 Kevin Hayes from Boston high school, ranked 49th by TSN. Definitely a long-term future kind of pick.
10:24 pm: Florida becomes the first team to pick 3 first-round picks in one year since Edmonton in 2007 (before that, Washington in 2004). Florida stays on the board, a rarity for this draft, taking Quinton Howden (ranked 26th by TSN) at 25th with Vancouver's pick. Projects to be a fast third-line center, a decent pick-up for Florida's rebuild.
10:33 pm: Washington Capitals are up next at 26th. And they decide to keep going Russian, bring in Evgeny Kuznetsov (ranked 24th by TSN). Apparently he really wants to be an NHL player due to growing up in poverty. He has an inconsistency factor but he's got some really good offensive talents. Apparently he's staying with the KHL for at least the next two years.
10:37 pm: Here comes Phoenix to make their second first-round pick, which is basically a bonus pick after they picked up Brandon Gormley, who was shockingly still there at 13th. And Phoenix goes totally off the board with Mark Visentin from the Niagra Ice Dogs, who was ranked deep in the second round by TSN. Wow, what a strange draft.
10:42 pm: Up next are the San Jose Sharks at 28th as we're really starting to get down to the wire here. Do they take SoCal native Emerson Etem, ranked 17th at TSN who is in the midst of a freefall? We're about to find out.
10:45 pm: Nope, they go a little off the board to take Charlie Coyle, ranked 32nd overall. He's from the same Boston high school as Jeremy Roenick, he's a big, physical winger who's going to Boston University this fall. Alright Ducks, you're up next with the Pronger/Philly pick at 29th, will you take poor Emerson Etem or is the hometown boy going undrafted in the first round?
10:50 pm: Finally Emerson Etem gets picked, by the Ducks at 29th. He was ranked 17th overall by TSN so thank god he didn't get passed over completely, that would have been embarrassing for the league. Etem is the 10th American-born player picked in the draft, which ties the record from 2006 & 2007. It'll be up to Chicago at 30 to break the record.
10:56 pm: The New York Islanders will pick 30th, as they send the 35th & 58th picks to the Blackhawks for the last pick of the first-round. Seems like an extra second-round pick is a steep price to pay, maybe they're looking for John McFarland.
10:59 pm: So the Islanders take a high school player, Brock Nelson, who was ranked by TSN at 34th anyway. Big kid at 6'3 3/4, especially for a center. 73 points in 25 games is damn good for Boston high school, but this is definitely a long-term project. This pick means that Americans offically break the record, with 11 picks in the first round this year (along with 5 Europeans and 14 Canadians). And that seems like as good of a place as any to wrap this thing up. Thanks for reading folks.