PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Neil Yakupov, first overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers, poses onstage during Round One of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
I'm on the floor of the Consol Centre today, so hopefully I'll be able to grab some audio and video of various non-golden boys relegated to being drafted by "war rooms" who won't even stand up to call their names.
The big question the Oilers must address - the Triple A defense that scares no one and a couple of tough minutes forwards - aren't going to be addressed at the draft podium today. The Oilers are going to need to make some deals and how. Fans have thrown all of their chips down on Justin Schultz, but not only is he not an Oiler yet, he's yet to play an NHL game. He's supposed to be NHL-ready, but the gap between "NHL-ready" and "beating top four minutes" is wide enough to drive a media-blocking zamboni through. If they don't find a couple of top four defensemen, the Seth Jones versus Nathan MacKinnon versus Sean Monahan debate on year from now is going to be too much to take.
9:00 AM - The early buzz is obviously about the Staal trade, and the Pens fans I've talked to are close to wrist-slitting. They don't realize how good Brandon Sutter is.
9:04 AM - Storylines of interest to me today:
- When will the first Canadian-born QMJHL player go? Even with the foreign count, will Junior A/B and/or High School outpace the Q this year?
- The Oilers web team is already pushing Lukas Sutter at #32. This is a bad, very bad, idea. Sutter is not a top 50 player and isn't deserving of a 32nd pic, regardless of his last name.
- Will Nathan Walker hear his name called today? The Australian would make history if so.
- How high has Tim Bozon risen? He came from way back in the 4th round up to an early second round ranking - who will take the Frenchman?
- Will Steve Tambellini find some defense today?
- How high will Austin Cangelosi go? He's a great talent, but he's very small, sort of like Rocco Grimaldi last year.
- When will the Nick Ebert slide end? He started the year as a top 5 prospect. There's a chance he ends it as a 4th round pick.
9:15 AM - I'm already checking out the 2013 draft rankings.
9:18 AM - Sitting behind the players' section and we've already got some families sitting down. Being bigger than these guys is a reminder that they're just kids.
9:21 AM - The Oilers contingent is already seated at the draft table as most other tables are milling about. Bob McKenzie is chatting up Craig MacTavish.
9:27 AM - McKenzie now engaged in a conversation with Tambellini and MacGregor.
9:32 AM - That discussion went on for about 10 minutes.
9:38 AM - Bob McKenzie back to the Oilers table again for a quick check in with MacTavish, then off to Darcy Regier.
9:40 AM - The PA announces ten minute warning to roll call.
9:43 AM - I get my first IM of the day asking about hot moms.
9:46 AM - Tambellini has a chat with Larry Carrière, Assistant GM for the Canadiens.
9:52 AM - Tambellini checks in on the roll call along with Stu MacGregor.
9:57 AM - Here we go...
9:58 AM - The big screen replays Tambellini mispronouncing Yakupov's name.
10:02 AM - Nearly all of these kids have their sweetheart in tow.
10:04 AM - Columbus opens with Oscar Dansk.
10:05 AM - The Oilers select Mitch Moroz with the 32nd pick in the 2012 NHL draft.
10:12 AM - Finn, Aberg, Collberg all roll off of the board shortly after Moroz. Wow.
10:15 AM - Tampa picks Dylan Blujus and his sizable contingent erupts.
10:16 AM - Winnipeg with a reach, though lesser than Moroz, for Lukas Sutter.
10:18 AM - Raphael Bussieres is the first Q player taken (Canadian born) at #46
10:22 AM - Teddy Blueger is off the board. That makes two Latvians.
10:23 AM - Oops, I missed the Moroz interview.
10:26 AM - Press row is confused by the Oilers actions. Well, the Oilers, the Jets and the Flyers.
10:51 AM - Got video from the scrum on Khaira
10:58 AM - Edmonton on the clock and they're still trying to get Zharkov dressed
10:59 AM - And now Gustavsson.
11:19 AM - Daniil Zharkov is now one of my favorite Oilers. He's a great interview, he's funny, he's honest and he's pissed off that he slid to the third. He's also tired of the KHL scare.
11:35 AM - Brady Vail is small. No way is he 6'1 190.
11:45 AM - Spotted a Florida fan in a Dale Tallon jersey. Weird.
11:52 AM - Tweeters talking about Zharkov's Russian-ness being a bad thing. Tweeters are stupid.
11:57 AM - Edmonton takes John McCarron. Never heard of him.
11:58 AM - Wow. There are still unpicked kids sitting here. Brutal.
12:00 PM - It's noon and no Nick Ebert...
12:33 PM - The two Russians, Ebert, Cangelosi and Walker still on the board.
12:34 PM - Jaynen Rissling off of the board. Someone wanted a fighter.
12:37 PM - Gusev finally taken. What a mess the KHL thing has created. Gusev is a first-round talent.
12:40 PM - Agreement all around that the Moroz pick was the worst of the draft.
12:44 PM - Nick Ebert goes last!
12:45 PM - And that's a wrap. The Oilers completely botched #32 and made up for it with the Zharkov and LaLeggia picks. They have an overwhelming need to draft a local mucker and it's a terrible thing.