Munich opened the day with the 13th pick of the draft and GM Chad Legge went off the board to pick a prospect defenseman. Roland McKeown, 19, was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings and traded to Carolina in the Andrej Sekera deal. He currently plays for Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League and appears to be a good two-way prospect. All will depend on his first 35 NHL games and what kind of WSH attributes he gets.
Geneva added a hard-driving wing to the club by picking Bud Holloway. The 22-year-old Canadian does everything well except score points. He has size and hits and plays a pretty solid defensive game. Right now, he is the fifth left wing on the roster for Geneva and he is a much better option there than 36-year-old Ruslan Fedotenko, who put in three seasons with three teams in the EURO before his skills dwindled and his coach lost faith in him. The veteran Russian played in only 3 games last season. Holloway might fit in nicely with a couple of the veterans in Geneva, assuming they are resigned. The selection of Holloway by Geneva marked the first of four successive picks by Swiss teams. Barring trades, Bern was scheduled to pick followed by two in a row by Zurich. The Lions acquired Minsk’s pick as part of the deal that sent Patrick Kane to Belarus.
Kjetil Martinsen, a 21-year-old Norwegian winger, heads to Switzerland as the newest Bern Bear. Martinsen is seen as a poised, reliable forward whose game is exquisitely balanced. Bern’s forward corps is relatively older with only three players 25 or younger. The best of the trio is Mika Zibanejad, with Martinsen next in terms of potential. He is unlikely to see much ice time this season, but in a couple of seasons, three current right wingers will be either retired or nearing the end of their downhill slides and Martinsen will be the guy coach Mike Babcock looks to for quality minutes.
Once known as a team of good forwards and not much else, the Zurich Lions made two picks in a row that continue a recent transformation into a more balanced team. Zurich already had young defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and Griffin Reinhart, as well as goalie Tristan Jarry, in the system. General Manager Dennis Sullo has now drafted a defenseman and a goalie in three straight drafts. With the first of the two picks Tuesday, Sullo basically infuriated his fan base by picking Alexander Weiss. Weiss, 22, will be a good defenseman for the Lions, but to get to him, Sullo passed over Robin Grossman, an 18-year-old defenseman who grew up 40 minutes from Zurich in a village named Dintikon. With his second pick, Sullo, soothed the nationalistic wound by taking Sandro Zurkirchen, who many think will be regarded as the best of several talented Swiss goalies such as Jonas Hiller, Reto Berra, Leonardo Genoni and Benjamin Conz. Zurkirchen becomes one of five goalies in the Lions’ system, and one of three who are under 24 years of age. Jarry’s potential is unknown, but Zurkirchen appears to have a higher ceiling than Czech Marek Mazanec. Neither of the three will be ready to be a Zurich starter in the near future. Back to defenseman Weiss … he joins a group of seven blueliners on the roster who are 26 or younger. Of that group, only two are likely to see playing time this season unless the four more-veteran defensemen lose their spots somehow. Jacob Trouba, 21, who was acquired in a trade, will play this season and Tyson Barrie is next in line as far as the young D-men go. Weiss, who is smart and very talented offensively, isn’t very far behind Barrie and he will be nipping at Barrie’s heels as the two youngsters grow up and compete for ice time in the Lions’ system.
Minsk, the young team that has grown up, must be shopping for the second wave of Hussars at this point. Kevin Clark, 20, doesn’t stand a chance of playing in a Minsk sweater anytime soon; not with 14 forwards ahead of him between the ages of 24 and 28. But the feisty Canadian is only 20, and when the 27-year-olds are 33, he’ll be approaching his prime. What Minsk will get when he does suit up is a fiery skater, zipping around the rink, angering opponents and scoring and setting up the occasional goals. Think Brad Marchand. Minsk fans are probably still giddy about a trade for Patrick Kane that will give them a top line of Kane, Nicklas Backstrom and Milan Lucic.
Christian Dvorak, an American who is lighting up the OHL this season with the London Knights, just became a Smurf. The center/left wing had 41 goals and 109 points in 66 games this season after emerging from the Chicago-area youth system. A sneaky pick by Berlin GM Guybrush Threepwood, Dvorak will reside in the minor leagues until the Arizona Coyotes give him an NHL shot. Leon Draisaitl and Boston’s David Pastrnak were in the same boat for Berlin until Pastrnak did well enough to get the call-up to the Bruins and to get enough games in to earn what will be very good Websim attributes. The Czech winger will get a serious look in Berlin’s training camp this year and may make veteran Brian Flynn, or even Jiri Tlusty expendable. As for Dvorak, Berlin will have to sit on him until he hatches.
Simon Hjalmarsson was drafted today by the Copenhagen Tridents, but his name won’t be the first that comes to mind when people are asked to name the additions to the Copenhagen lineup this season. Like a mad scientist whipping up some new concoction, general manager Dylan Callow has been up to something. Traded away in the last two weeks were Alexander Ovechkin, Shea Weber, Andrej Meszaros and Dion Phaneuf. Ever heard of them? The influx of assets in return includes Joe Pavelski, Jonathan Drouin, Slava Voynov, Martin Erat, Marko Dano, Gareth Roberts, Dougie Hamilton and four new draft picks in this draft and next year’s. Hjalmarsson, who is brand new to Copenhagen, shouldn’t feel like an outsider because he is actually in the same situation as a fourth of the team is. There is a lot to like about the 22-year-old Swedish forward. He has superb speed, ample gas in the tank and good puck skills. On the negative side, he is small and is not strong on defense. He could be successful on the powerplay eventually. Out-of-contract centers Boyd Gordon and Jay McClement – after watching their star teammates get shipped out – have to be wondering and worrying about their futures with the team. Gordon and McClement are superior to Hjalmarsson defensively, but if the team direction is changing to a more offensive style, then the new Swede has the edge.
Athens selected Miks Indrasis, who, as a big forward in the Athens lineup, will stand out like a needle in a haystack. The Greeks are loaded with big, strong guys … and Vadim Shipachyov. The Latvian Indrasis certainly fits the Athens mold at 6-4, 210 and only a teenager. He will definitely be able to park himself in front of a net and score goals, but not this year or next as the Greeks try to figure out a way to go that one extra step that will bring them the Cup. Indrasis is the youngest Greek on the roster with Shipachyov and Staffan Kronwall as the only other under 22-year-olds. Rumors were that Bratislava had their eye on Indrasis to link him with fellow Latvian national team linemate Zemgus Girgensons.
A Finnish playmaker has been added to the Callow Concoction in Copenhagen. Ville Vahalahti, the 23-year-old with the golden helmet and the outlandish demand to wear number 82 or nothing at all (sort of) adds much more than quirky confidence. He plays hard, passes very well and is tough. He’ll drop the gloves when asked but he won’t pile up the penalty minutes otherwise. Like Hjalmarsson, who was taken two picks before him, Vahalahti is poor defensively but talented offensively. The two of them should work well together. Vahalahti has as much potential as any right wing on the current roster, so if he doesn’t talk or misbehave himself out of Denmark, he should be a long-term asset.
The Rouge Eiffels of Paris drafted a prospect goalie with the 23rd pick overall. Brandon Halverson, a 6-4 Michigan native, was picked in the second round of the NHL draft by the New York Rangers and he’s currently stopping pucks for the Sault Ste. marie Greyhounds in the OHL. His save percentage with the Greyhounds this season is 91.3. Halverson is highly thought of in the Rangers organization and has even been referred to as the heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist. According to his Twitter account (@Halvy31) his longtime family dog just died last week. General Manager Ralph Booth hopes the incident doesn’t adversely affect the goalie’s psyche.
Bratislava General Manager Chuck Massaro went all the way down the CSS ranking list to number 35 to pick Morton Madsen in the 24th spot. When the draft started, the Eagles had the 14th pick overall and thought about people like Bud Holloway, Linus Klasen and the two players Zurich picked in the first round. But they looked again and believed Madsen was their man. But it seemed crazy to pick the 35th ranked player with the 14th pick, so they traded down twice, confident they could still select the Danish center. “We looked at our two young players – Zemgus Girgensons and Tyler Toffoli – and thought it best to find a bigger, disciplined player to play with them. There were a few players who fit the bill, including Miks Indrasis, but we thought Madsen had better leadership and defensive traits,” Massaro explained. “So we feel that in the end, we got our guy plus Chris Kunitz (an unsigned free agent) and Matt Frattin thanks to the trades.”
This post will be updated at various times throughout the day.