Today’s draft picks were the usual: really astute picking by a really good group of GMs. No real trends, no run on one position or type of player, just really good picking. It’s likely that every time a player’s name was announced, a half-dozen or more GMs went “Oh, I looked at him. He was right near the top of my short list.”
The news that stood out was an odd trade involving Minsk and Athens. With the 16th pick in Round 14, Minsk drafted Matt Cullen, a 35-year-old center who is pretty solid in all areas and a good leader on the ice and in the dressing room. He also stays healthy and can log a lot of minutes. Then a short time later, Minsk traded Cullen to Athens for a pick in the next round. The guessing here is that Cullen’s wife threw a fit and vowed never to go to Minsk for some reason. Minsk is a nice city. It’s got a lot factories but it’s also got a lot of museums and some really cool looking university buildings. Red Auerbach, former Boston Celtics coach lived there for a time.
It also has some new hockey players today. Thanks to trades, Minsk got to walk up to the draft podium four times today. While Cullen was thrown back, two youngsters were deemed keepers today by GM tserberis. Jacob Josefson and Brayden Schenn were taken 11 picks apart. Tserberis has loaded up on youth in this draft and Belarusian fans will have to be patient and wait for it. Minsk has 13 players and only one of them has celebrated his 25th birthday. You can barely find a razor in the Hussars’ dressing room. Cullen felt so old there he was already asking the team doctor about a hip replacement. The team doctor is only 23 years old.
The older Hussars are good ones: center Nicklas Backstrom and goalie Carey Price, both 24 years of age. On defense, Ryan McDonagh is the marquee name, backed up by Nick Leddy, Roman Josi and the newest (and oldest) Hussar, 25-year-old Andrej Sekera. The forwards are speedy with tons of potential. They include goal scorer Patric Hornqvist, slick Jakub Voracek , Patrick Berglund, Carey Wilson, Sergei Kostitsyn, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and the two new guys, Schenn and Josefson. In case you weren’t counting, that’s three full lines. In the future, Minsk will be a force, but short-term, they will take their lumps. And they’ll probably lead the league in texting and Justin Bieber CDs.