The reason we're all here today. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
So, that's day two of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in the bag. The Oilers got rid of one problem and potentially picked up several others as they scooped their non-Hall selections from Regina to Riga and everywhere in between. They picked a guy who I'm nicknaming "Hot Cross", they picked a guy who nobody had ever heard of including the NHL... oh, it was a glorious day to be an Oilers fan.
Of course, I liveblogged the hell out of it. And you guys responded to the tune of almost 300 slices of information and opinion, for which I could not be more grateful. As I type this I'm back in Victoria and my body is longing for shuteye, but before I grab it I wanted to shut this thread down and archive it all nicely for the historians who will doubtless come in search of my wisdom in the next hundred years.
The Day 2 live blog begins after the jump.
10:43: So, I was staying in a lovely hotel last night. Granted, it was in a terrifying neighbourhood, but it was cheap, huge, had every facility I could want in my room, and even the bed was comfortable. It was terrific. Great place to get a night's sleep. I set my alarm for seven A.M. and dozed off.
When I woke up at nine that morning I had no indication anything was wrong. So I leisurely sent a few e-mails, stretched, looked around, realized it was nine, and ran out the door so quickly I think they thought I had caught flame. So here I am, at last, only forty minutes late. My apologies, one and all!
While we were gone, the Oilers took care of business, too, grabbing Derek's boy and even my preferred choice Tyler Pitlick with the thirty-first pick and somebody named Curtis Hamilton, with whom I am not too familiar, in the 48th spot. So far, no sign of the Ironhook going, either. At least, assuming I can read this right (I'm poaching the spot of the Montreal Canadiens web guy and they are sitting really far back!)
So, without further ado, let's get this blog going!
The rules are the same as yesterday. The newest update will be on the top and the rest go in chronological order. Refresh periodically to see the latest and even the greatest.
10:45: Ryan Martindale, a 6'3" centre from the Ottawa 67's, goes to the Oilers 61st overall. They could have done a lot worse, actually. This is the third round so of course you're not going to get really elite players, but Martindale is a perfectly respectable choice for Steve Tambellini. Good size. Nearly a point per game player in the Ontario league last year. Everybody - and I mean everybody - has respect for his kid everywhere on the ice. There's not a damned thing to worry about. It's not a spectacular choice but it is a safe one.
Since I missed the second round, I didn't have time to tell you how excited I was that the good guys took Tyler Pitlick. That was just a smart play on every level and I'm surprised they made it. Derek even said when we took him in our mock draft that he won't really be available at 31st overall but he was so clearly the best player available in the mock draft the choice was obvious.
Always nice when that works out.
10:50: if you're not listening to this on NHL Radio, you might not realize just how quickly the second and third rounds move compared to the first. We are thundering through. In the time I was writing about Martindale four more picks went up, including Greg McKegg 62nd to the Toronto Maple Leafs, a pick that elicited the biggest cheer I think we're going to hear all afternoon from the delighted McKegg family.
Has Jarnkrok really not gone yet? I'm trying to type so quickly I'm reluctant to look online.
A bit disappointed that Chicago snared Stephen Johns at 60. I really liked that kid. But I'm not heartbroken over how Martindale looks.
10:53: The fan presence here, you'll be unsurprised to hear, is a lot lighter today. The Oilers section of guys in 2009-10 jerseys is down to about ten dudes. There's probably twenty people to each lower bowl section and nobody at all in the upper bowl, except where the prospects' families are sitting.
This gives the whole arena a bit of an odd atmosphere. Individual fans across the stadium can actually shout at each other through the silence. Somebody starts up a "let's go Ducks!" chant. Someone else shouts "this is LA, baby!" They were probably two thousand seats away from each other. But it rings out clear as day. You will never hear anything like this in an NHL arena at any other time.
11:02: Instant reaction to Ryan Martindale: a nice guy, but a mumbler. Really white teeth. It was kinda spooky.
He was disappointed not to go in the first day, which I think was a bit of an over-the-top expectation from a rail-thin forward who wasn't quite point-per-game in the OHL, but he seemed sincere and I don't know whether he got bad advice or if he just has a very high opinion of himself. Certainly, he was polite and pleasant enough to the smelly reporters crowding around him (of whom I was both the reporteriest and possibly the smelliest).
He doesn't feel like he's got any sort of extra opportunity or pressure by being a big centre drafted by a team with a critical and infamous shortage of big centres. He just wants to go into camp and do the best he can and impress everybody and blah blah blah you've heard this before and so have I. He is very, very much a professional athlete in a press scrum when he's a professional athlete doing a press scrum.
While I was talking to him, Jordan Weal goes at #70 to the Los Angeles Kings. Surprised there wasn't a big cheer over that - that's a steal.
Also, the inesteemable Bruce McCurdy tells me that Jarnkrok went to Detroit (convincing me more than ever that he's going to be a star) and we got that other second rounder by trading Riley Nash for it. I mean, Riley Nash is a lousy player so I'm glad for the trade but what a horrible pick that was.
11:10: Jarred Tinordi is still here! He's kinda walking around the draft floor, hanging with the Canadiens table. Most of the rest of the picks get their hands shaken and then walk away, never to return until Steve Tambellini realizes what a horrible mistake he made and trades them for a much much later pick. But there's Tinordi, still kicking about and even doing autographs. I mean, he's been around that environment his whole life. But still. It's pretty cool.
I'm going to be honest with you, I have no idea who Jeremie Blain is. I see that he had 38 points in a full QMJHL season last year, which isn't anything to write home about but is pretty good for the fourth round. So no complaints.
Florida picks two Canmore Eagles in a row, goaltender Sam Brittain and... and... another one. I'm going to be honest. I forgot his name. And I can't check because whoever it was was so obscure the Big NHL Board hasn't got an entry for him. Right now, Florida's 93rd selection is a blank and Columbus's 94th is already up.
11:31: Just walked out to pick Jeremie Blain. Then walked back, because it turns out Jeremie Blain doesn't speak English.
I mean, I have some French, but I'm not going to interview anybody with it!
Florida is up? Which AJHL scrub will they draft next? STAY TUNED!
11:37: At 104th overall, St. Louis selects the wrong falling Finn, Janne Hakanpaa. Fun fact: "Hakanpaa" is Finnish for "nothing to write home about".
105th sees Taylor Hall occasional linemate Justin Shugg go to Carolina, leading to a perfect rematch in the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals.
11:47: Okay. So there's this Finnish player eligible this year, Teemu Pulkkinen. He's only pretty small, but he played an admirable bit part in the SM-liiga last season, picked up a few points, and by all accounts is an extremely talented offensive player with good attitude in spite of his modest size. Perfect NHL potential. Kinda like a poor man's Calle Jarnkrok. He was a late second rounder, maybe a third rounder. Maybe.
But he falls. And falls. Into the three digits. Keeps falling. One team rescues him at pick #111. Who is it?
Why, it's the Detroit Red Wings, of course. It's like they're mocking us. "Don't worry, NHL, we've got this. You'd probably just waste him. Don't worry, you'll get to shake his hand at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony."
Montreal takes forward Mark MacMillan from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL. Not the best draft-eligible player from not the best team in not the best division of the best junior 'A' league in the country. Any time you can make that move, you've got to pull the trigger.
11:57: No interesting interviews. No Oiler picks. No trade rumours buzzing. I was going to go interview a guy in an Oilers jersey but most of them seem to have gone home. You know what that means: it's eat stale pretzels o'clock! So I go back to the media munchies room and who are there? Most of the cute kids, or at least the cute second round kids, which means no little Katz for me to interview but all the same. They're sitting there, eating chips and dip, as a few harried adults try to control them.
The things you see here.
12:00: High noon and Steve Tambellini is up at the podium. One hundred and twenty-first overall, the Oilers snag goaltender Tyler Bunz out of the Medicine Hat Tigers. Bunz posted a save percentage below .900 starting for a team that went 31-19-5 with him in net so you know the defense wasn't killing him. Tyler Bunz, in short, sucks. Never draft a goaltender unless he's Roberto Luongo, guys. This isn't news.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, trade the #122 pick for forward Mike Brown, or as he must be known "Truculence". Anaheim picks Chris Wagner from American junior 'A' with the pick, for some reason. The crowd boos, although you think the Kings faithful would be happy to see the back of Brown and something so meaningless in return.
12:12: Dog days of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Hey, did you ever wonder what they show on the JumboTron when a team is waiting or just selected a player nobody's ever heard of? They show clips from NHL 2K11. Guys deking on shootouts, goalies making saves, big hits, stuff like that. Andy McDonald's spent the last forty seconds deking Steve Mason out of his jock the exact same way.
(Was it worth the wait? Well, St. Louis took Cody Beach from the Calgary Hitmen, who's a somewhat talented enforcer and actually might not have been a bad choice this far down. He's got a little bit of touch to him, or at least more than Cameron Abney.)
12:19: Detroit on the clock at 141st overall! You can see the wheels turning behind Ken Holland's wicked brain. Which undersized European will they take this time? What little-known steal comes their way on his way to a Hall of Fame career, the sons-of-bitches?
It's... it's... Petr Mrazek. Who is European, but is also a goaltender and a player for the Ottawa 67's. Better than "Hot Cross" Bunz, but, then, Andrew Perugini is better than Bryan Pitton and I'm not going to write home about that either.
Hey, are there any statistics on how many high school players have gone this draft? Washington just took a guy named Caleb Herbert, another highschooler out of Minnesota. It feels like a lot.
12:29: The fifth round is over and the sixth begins. Edmonton will pick first at #162 but not our usual first spot: you may recall we traded #151 to Chicago for the rights to Colin Fraser.
With some guy I've never heard of from the NHL announcing the picks, Chicago gasses that selection on Mirko Hoefflin, a 5'11", 147-pound forward (!) who had two points (!!) in the German (!!!) second division (!!!!!!) last season. We could have had Mirko Hoefflin, guys! Oh, wasted opportunities!
12:36: An unexpected bit of colour, as Atlanta acquires the 155th and 160th picks from the New York Islanders in exchange for a fifth-rounder next year. Seems weird, the Thrashers deciding to snare two sixth rounders at this stage of the game. One presumes immediately that there are at least two players left on the board that they're closely watching.
With 155, Atlanta grabs Kendal McFaull from the Moose Jaw Warriors. "MOOOOOOOOSE!" yells a wag in the crowd, who must be as bored as the rest of us. McFaull is a 6'2" no-scoring defenseman with some sandpaper to him and +1 on a playoff team whose best defender went +20. He hardly seems worth trading a fifth-rounder for a chance at; guys like him actually do grow on trees.
12:42: The last real down-the-elevator-shaft prospect is put out of his misery. Having just acquired #155 and #160, Atlanta trades #158 down to Los Angeles for #169 and #199. Atlanta really seems to want more picks in this round.
But Los Angeles wins this one, as they grab Maksim Kitsyn. He should have gone a long, long way before he did, and in truth I was entertaining thoughts he might drop to us at #162. The crowd, or at least what remains of it (we're into three digits here) is utterly thrilled. "Welcome to LA, Max!" one yells.
This pisses off the Ducks fans. "Where's your Cup? Where's your Cup?" comes the reply.
12:48: #162 is up, and Steve Tambellini actually sounds downcast as he makes the pick. I think he was hoping for Kitsyn as hard as I was, which is almost relieving.
The eventual choice is Brandon Davidson, a defenseman for the Regina Pats. Davidson is an incredibly weird one. He's 6'2" and 194 pounds and a Taber, Alberta native, which all points in the right direction. But he got his start in junior with the Olds Grizzlys where, through a combination of having to go to school and not being very good, he got in only seven games over two years before Regina took him on and he roared out to 34 points in 59 games and +15 on a team where +15 was really very excellent indeed.
This could be a boom pick. Or it could be a one-year wonder. There's a lot to like about Davidson and a lot to be nervous about.
12:49: At #166 the Oilers go back to the Western Hockey League, taking Kootenay's Drew Czerwonka. A classic pick the Oilers never would have dared make if Rod Phillips wasn't retiring, Czerwonka is 6'2" and despite playing the wing had only thirteen points with the Ice last season. His 106 penalty minutes hardly point to a Sean Avery type, either. He seems to lack the offense to be a good forward and the grit to be a decent pain-in-the-ass. I'm genuinely not sure what he's for. Neither is the NHL, as they didn't bother to make up a card for Czerwonka, and his spot is currently balnk.
Tyler "Staal" Stahl of the Chilliwack Bruins is now a Carolina Hurricane, which will hopefully give Eric and their play-by-play men fits.
1:02: Just saw where Ryan Martindale is sitting in the stands. Hi, Ryan Martindale! Do I get up and have an interview? Well, it hardly seems relevant because this guy with a suit and a pass around his neck who I can only assume is his agent is talking to him. I say it's probably his agent because the guy has his arm leaning on Martindale's shoulders and is leaning in with fifty different sorts of vaguely creepy intensity.
1:06: Seventh round! Seventh round! Wooooooo! The Oilers are up at #181. I think everybody is getting a little punchy. Bob McKenzie, Bob Stauffer, Lord Bob... pretty much everybody named Bob is getting up and walking around like they're counting the hours. Somebody I can't recognize at the Washington Capitals table looks like he's getting ready to go home. This is the seventh round. Not even the teams take this seriously.
I'll tell you, covering the draft is awesome but it is long and after a while none of the picks are in the building and none of the team staff are doing interviews because they're as bored as you are and you sit down and you justwatch and eat more pretzels and death comes.
Edmonton has selected a Latvian at #181. I don't know who. They said his name but I can't possibly spell it. They didn't say what team he plays for or what league - he's just "from Latvia". I think this may have been like that time in the WHA draft when they drafted a guy who doesn't exist just for something to do.
1:11: Okay, here we go. Our man is named Kristians Pelss. He is a right wing originally out of DHK Latgale and now with Riga, shoots left, is only 5'9", and had a pretty good U-18 tournament. Well, when I say "pretty good", I mean he scored twice. He also particulated in the Division One U-18s in 2009, getting one assist in four games. He's a midget in no league in particular with no particular distinction for not actually doing very well in a short tournament against players of immensely variable skill level.
The random NHL executive at the podium actually apologized for butchering Kristians Pelss's name.
But wait! We're not done! As the Oilers get themselves back into the game, picking up the #202 overall pick, originally belonging to the Phoenix Coyotes, from Toronto in exchange for a 2011 sixth-rounder. Well, when guys like Kristians Pelss are around, why wouldn't you?
1:28: Getting a bit punchy. Thought Atlanta just drafted former Ottawa Senators goaltender Peter Sidorkiewicz at #199. No, actually, it was Peter Stoykewych. Still.
1:30: Edmonton's probably-last pick is Vernon Viper Kellen Jones. Do you not know Kellen Jones? Fair enough. I mean, we picked him 202nd overall and the NHL once again didn't have a little name plate ready for the guy on the big board. He's not the most famous of players.
But Jones was one of the best players on by far the best junior 'A' team in the country - perhaps the best junior 'A' team in the history of the country. He's a point per game player and for his level a sublime playmaker. He's small, at 5'9" and 165 pounds, but he's probably worth taking a flyer on. The catch? He's an overager. Turns twenty on August 16. This is his second time through the draft so it's not a Jordan Bendfeld situation. But he's older, smaller, and while remarkably good those are two pretty big question marks.
But, I mean, come on. It's the seventh round. I think it's nice to see the Oilers trying to shoot the moon a little.
1:38: And we're done. The Boston Bruins, with the 210th overall pick earlier acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks, makes the last selection of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and picks up Lake Superior State University's Zac MacVoy, a pretty decent but unremarkable 6'2" forward late of the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets whose most notable trait is that he's twenty-three years old. A perfectly irrelevant selection to end a perfectly irrelevant round on.
The NHL just distributed the sheets for the sixth round selections. "There'll be more coming," says the older volunteer handing it out, as if trying to get us to linger. But already media people are flying away as if we'd had Red Bull instead of Sierra Mist. It's a lousy day in Los Angeles, which in my opinion is a lousy city. But nobody wants to sit here any longer than they have to.
2:02: I'm sticking around hoping to score some interview time with someone Oilers related (and to correct the occasional weird, vaguely-brain-disorder-ish mistakes I've made). A lot of the general managers are here too. Scott Howson, for example, had a pretty good gabfest with the Columbus media, and as far as I can see Ray Shero is still talking. But not Tambellini. No MacGregor, no Lowe either. As far as I can see through the thinning crowd most of them have headed straight for the hills. Tempted to troll the bars looking for them but that may be a dangerous game to play.
2:19: Seventh round sheet from the NHL arrives. There he is, right at the top: PELSS, Kristians. Born September 9, 1992 (making him, incidentally, the youngest player picked later than Benjamin Gallacher in the fourth round). Birth place: "Latvia". Height 5'11", so two inches taller than my online source indicated, and with the amateur club, league, and statline left blank.
Listen. Even Central Scouting thinks this guy's a mystery. That's some serious Mystery Euro value even by the impressive standards of a Latvian grabbed in the seventh round.
(It also informs me that 19-year-old Zach Trotman, not 23-year-old Zac MacVoy, of Lake Superior went last overall to Boston. I blame the Big Board and an NHL executive with some sort of speech impediment. MacVoy probably would have been better, though.)