Notes From The 2012 NHL Draft

Photo by Matt Wagner, all rights reserved.

It came and went and added yet another reason why the media will talk about the future in Edmonton. The 2012 NHL draft delivered some bizarre slides and reaches, some big trades and a ton of kids who will never see the show.

Leftovers in my notebook after the jump.

Dallas is Slowly Building - I'm not sure why the Stars traded Mike Riberio - he's been very good for them - but they've got an asinine amount of cap space left and an owner willing to spend. Couple that with Dallas' performance on the draft floor recently and things are heading in the right direction.

I really liked Dallas' draft last year, and Joe Niuwendyk's staff did it again this year. Radek Faksa is a year away from the NHL and an all-around talent and a big centre. They followed that up with Mike Winther at 54. He's a playmaker and has all kinds of agility. They can wait for a couple of years on him to develop. In between those two, they grabbed Ludvig Bystrom at 43. Bystrom has all of the skills, but lacks strength - Dallas can wait.

They also tacked on a talented Finnish defenseman, Esa Lindell and Gemel Smith another forward with speed. Smith is really small, by the way, one of the smallest players I saw on Saturday.

If the Stars decide to target some offense in Jiri Hudler and some defense in Daniel Winnik or Jay McClement next week, they've put together a really strong base for a team. It's pretty amazing, no? A rebuild without tanking? I was told this was not possible.

Overagers - I can't remember the last time this many overagers went in one draft. And maybe I've got a wicked case of confirmation bias going here, but beginning with Tanner Pearson and ending with Nikita Gusev, overage kids were posted to the board on a regular basis. The Oilers grabbed three (h/t EdmontonEuler), the Canucks grabbed four - it's almost like someone did a presentation at the NHL GM meetings this spring.

The Buffet - The Pens surved up a very nice continental breakfast-type buffet. I walked by but I was too busy to grab anything. But, you know the jokes about sports writers and the free food? Yeah, there's a reason for it. And it's not just writers - sports broadcasters can be included in that as well. There's a constant parade to the table and it's kind of gross.

The Russians - At one point, various people on press row and in the scrum room were openly begging their teams to draft either Anton Slepyshev or Nikita Gusev. KHL factor or not, when a first and a second-round talent are still available in the 5th and 6th round, it's time to go for it, even if it's only a 14% chance the pick plays in North America. The Grigorenko slide was for a completely different, and almost as silly, reason, so I don't count him in this. NHL General Managers on the whole struggle to compute risk factors and opportunity cost, but this one is a no brainer.

If a GM is interested in a player who is a legitimate 14-25 talent they're going to become an impact player 29.3% of the time. A player from 101-200 will become an impact player 3.9% of the time. The GM needs to believe there is a 14% chance of the player coming to North America in order for the bet to be +EV.

Does Slepyshev have a 1-in-7 chance of playing in North America? If so, 30 General Managers made a mistake today.

The Kids in the Stands - There were still players hanging around in the seventh round, waiting for their name to be called. As the draft wrapped, I counted five kids still sitting in the stands with their families, wearing their Sunday best and looking like someone just destroyed their dreams. It was agonizing to watch, I can't imagine going through it, especially at 18 years old. If my son is ever a fringe prospect, someone please remind me to take him golfing, not to the NHL Draft.

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