Here are a few highlights from today.
The best player chosen today in the draft was taken … well by force. Gothenburg missed the pick and had the computer pick high-priced center Vincent Lecavalier. On the plus side, Vinny is a finesse player with stamina and will rack up points with the best of them, given good linemates. And his leadership and experience points together put him in the top 15 in the league in that category. What’s more, he’s only 31 years old. On the negative side is his huge 5-year, $7.7 million contract. That and the fact that he gets injured a lot are the biggest knocks against him. But when he does get hurt, that’s a lot of cap space to work with. In Gothenburg, Lacavalier’s leadship points are needed. The only other player on the roster thus far who could be called captain material is Stephane Robidas (and Marty Brodeur, but he’s a goalie). Robidas will probably be paired with Dan Girardi on defense. Once you get past those four veterans, it’s all young guns that Gothenburg has been going after. Two of the brightest future stars in the league are already penciled into the starting lineup up front: Jordan Eberle and Adam Henrique. Gothenburg has done a good job of accumulating young talent. Others on the squad are John Carlson and Eric Johnson in the back, along with forwards Milan Lucic, Sam Gagner, Carl Hagelin and Devante Smith-Pelly. Chances are, Gothenburg would have found itself looking for veteran leadership at some point down the road. Perhaps the computer did them a favor today.
Four veterans older than Lecavalier were taken after Vinny, two of them by the other Swedish city in the EURO, Stockholm. The Spartans took Daniel Cleary, 33, and Steve Sullivan, 37. London picked 32-year-old LW Brendan Morrow and Moscow went with 35-year Filip Kuba, one of top plus-minus players in the NHL this past season.
At the other end of the spectrum, Frankfurt gambled by taking Dougie Hamilton with their pick in the 12th round. If Hamilton plays half the year with a strong supporting cast in the Boston Bruins, he could have good numbers when he enters EURO.
Two goalies were scooped up in Round 12. Young Michal Neuvirth is Madrid’s first goalie, while veteran Jose Theodore will share the goal with Tukka Rask in Paris. Only Bratislava has not taken a goalie yet in this draft.
Other players taken today include, arranged by age: P.A. Parenteau, 28; Tim Gleason, 28; Nathan Horton, 26; Ladislav Smid, 25; Michael Sauer, 24; Marc Staal, 24; Michal Frolik, 23; Jared Spurgeon, 22; Luke Schenn 22; Alexander Burmistrov 20; and Smith-Pelly 19.