June 23, 2012
NHL Draft A Day For Family, Hope
Day one of the NHL draft was anti-climatic in many ways. No Rick Nash trade. No Roberto Luongo. No Oilers going off the board with pick one to throw the whole proceedings into the blender right off the bat.
Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray and Alex Galchenyuk went 1-2-3, pretty much as expected. The only major move on Friday was Jordan Staal being traded, on his wedding night of all nights. He's joining brother Eric in Carolina. Great move by Pittsburgh, by the way. They knew they could not keep Staal beyond next season, and got not only a top 10 pick but a heck of a player in Brandon Sutter. Staal is the better player, but Sutter is going to be the better third line fit in Pittsburgh.
It was a night for family in many ways. Paul Reinhart's son Griffin went 4rd overall to the New York Islanders. Mark Jankowski, the grandson of former NHLer Lou Jankowski, was a bit of a surprise pick by Calgary at 21. Malcolm Subban became Boston's goalie of the future, which should make those matches against Montreal and big brother PK all the more interesting. Ulf Samuelsson's son Henrik was selected by Phoenix, which is where he grew up for a time when his dad was working with the Coyotes.
But the most ironic move of the night was the New Jersey Devils selection of Stefan Matteau. Matteau's father, Stephane, scored the biggest goal in history against the New Jersey Devils. 18 years ago Matteau of the New York Rangers scored the double-overtime goal that beat then-rookie goaltender Brodeur and the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals way back in 1994. The Rangers went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Truth be told, I know very little about these players. I saw just two of the draftees play live this past season, and the rest maybe on television at the World Juniors. I really can not comment too much, other than to say
that the odds are still very long that most of these kids will make the National Hockey League.
Full Look: 2012 Draft Family Relations
In the sports world it is inherent that there are winners and losers and that turns into elation or heartbreak. Yet on this day there are no losers. What makes draft day so great is it is a day of new hope and new beginnings. Every team and every fan can share in that wonderful experience.