Hockey

Chaos Reigns on the First Spherical of the Draft – The Hockey Information

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports activities
MONTREAL – Hockey followers, are you not entertained? The primary reside draft since 2019 got here in with fireworks and extra surprising twists than a WWE pay-per-view, with Juraj Slafkovsky going first total to the hometown Canadiens, then fellow Slovakian star Simon Nemec leaping up the board to No. 2, the place he was taken by the New Jersey Devils. Finally, prime prospect Shane Wright ended up going fourth to Seattle when Arizona selected Logan Cooley with the third choice.
Although Montreal's curiosity in Slafkovsky at No. 1 was well-known, it was nonetheless a shock when a crew devoid of facilities handed on Wright in favor of the massive, highly effective winger (although in one of many night's subsequent shocks, the Habs would commerce for erstwhile Chicago heart Kirby Dach whereas additionally dealing away defenseman Alexander Romanov to the Islanders).
"I feel I didn’t even hear my identify known as," Slafkovsky mentioned. "I simply heard 'Slovakia,' after which I used to be like shocked, and I didn’t even hear anymore. I used to be shaking, I had goosebumps. Yeah, it was an unbelievable second for me."
The Montreal crowd went by an entire vary of feelings when the choose was introduced, however it wasn't lengthy earlier than they have been cheering and high-fiving Slafkovsky as he walked by the stands so as to get to an interview.
From what I had been instructed, the Canadiens have been taking their resolution proper all the way down to the wire, however it’s notable that proprietor Geoff Molson sat in on a crew assembly with Slafkovsky earlier within the day.
"Yeah, I used to be shocked," Slafkovsky mentioned. "They mentioned that he needed to be part of the assembly, so I used to be pleased that he was there. We didn’t speak, however I feel it was good that he was a part of it."
With the Devils set at heart already – because of Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier – there was speak of them taking a defenseman, even when they traded down. Because it seems, they simply went for his or her man in Nemec, giving Slovakia a 1-2 punch for the primary time ever.
"Yeah, it was an enormous shock as a result of all people mentioned that I will probably be 4, 5, perhaps six," Nemec mentioned. "However second total is wonderful."
Nemec additionally mentioned that he plans on enjoying in North America subsequent season and famous that he thinks the AHL could be an excellent possibility for him – and naturally he would like to get into some NHL video games as effectively.
It's an unbelievable signal for Slovakian hockey, which has actually flourished on the junior degree up to now couple of years. Slafkovsky and Nemec each made the Olympic crew, with Slafkovsky famously successful MVP honors as Slovakia earned bronze in China. Issues obtained even higher for the nation when a 3rd Slovakian, Filip Mesar, went late within the first spherical – additionally to Montreal.
However the chaos didn't cease with the primary few picks. It was fascinating to see how issues performed out after, with Chicago leaping up and grabbing defenseman Kevin Korchinski seventh total. The WHL Seattle product was ranked thirteenth in Draft Preview, although it's price noting that after Nemec and David Jiricek (taken sixth total by Columbus), there was a second tier of blueliners bunched collectively and Korchinski was a part of that assortment. So if the Hawks actually needed Korchinski as their particular D-man, they needed to pull the set off after they did.
As for the anticipated 'Russian Issue,' it didn't actually come into play. Anaheim took Pavel Mintyukov tenth total (he did get pleasure from enjoying for OHL Saginaw, in fact), whereas the 2 most expert forwards – each of whom performed in Russia this season – have been certainly picked.
Washington, which has by no means had a concern of getting Russians to return over (having Alex Ovechkin as your spokesman doesn't damage), took Ivan Miroshnichenko twentieth total, whereas Minnesota jumped on Danila Yurov 4 picks later. Each may need been a lot greater have been it not for his or her conditions, however they nonetheless went within the first spherical – which was no assure primarily based on all the pieces surrounding Russia proper now.
All in all, the primary spherical exceeded all expectations of chaos, between the picks and the trades. It's good to have a reside draft as soon as once more as a result of Zoom wouldn’t have been capable of comprise all this wildness.
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