MONTREAL — There have been years when I realize I’ve been sitting for several hours and agonize that I must continue to cover the first round of the NHL Draft for what seems an eternity. And then, there was the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft, which flew by with constant dramas, a death stare by jilted prospect Shane Wright towards the Montreal Canadiens table, several NHL trades as Chicago ripped it down, Montreal is building it up, and others benefitted. And we got to know the next Pittsburgh Penguins prospect.
Owen Pickering, come on down.
Oh, and Marc-Andre Fleury signed with the Minnesota Wild. So, you can end the “sign Fleury!” talk. You may now begin the “trade for Fleury!” talk.
And we have a TON of stuff:
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Dave Molinari has more on the young Mr. Owen Pickering. He was ranked 15th among North American prospects in the Central Scouting registry. The Penguins snagged a 6-foot-4 defenseman from the Swift Current Broncos who can skate and may not be done growing. Welcome, Owen Pickering.
PHN+: Oh, and you may have heard Kris Letang signed a SIX-year deal worth $36.6 million. Here’s the analysis and comment from Letang, who has every intention of playing six more years, and “didn’t want a big chunk” of salary. Kris Letang.
As Dave writes–now that Hextall has Letang under contract, this is where things get really interesting. REeeeaallly interesting. Pittsburgh Penguins plan.
Reading between the lines of Ron Hextall’s comments on Rickard Rakell. Can the Penguins afford to sign him before Evgeni Malkin, or any other center? Pittsburgh Penguins analysis.
The Penguins 2022-23 schedule was released on Wednesday, but was we analyzed it further, we realized–where are the rivalry games?! The Penguins play the Capitals and Flyers fewer times. The same goes for many other teams, which will play their most hated rivals less?! What gives? Penguins schedule.
NHL Trade Action, News & National Hockey Now:
This could be 2000 words today. We’ll bust through with the important and fun stuff.
Shane Wright was all but guaranteed to be the first overall pick. It was the “Shane Wright Draft.” Funny thing–the Montreal Canadiens swerved everyone and picked Juraj Slavkovsky. Wright fell to Seattle at No. 4. And Wright–watch this–was NOT happy. Wright liked this tweet, too:
— Peter Walker (@petetheleafsfan) July 8, 2022
Montreal Hockey Now: Here’s the full story. Slavkovsky not Wright, and Canadiens fans didn’t waste any time embracing the big kid from Slovakia. Montreal Canadiens draft.
Montreal Hockey Now: Canadiens GM Kent Hughes said he might pull of trades in Round One, and he didn’t disappoint. Kirby Dach. Alexander Romanov, goodbye. Hello, Kirby Dach! Montreal Canadiens trades.
NYI: The Islanders were part of the three-team trade with Montreal, and they got some defensive help. Islanders trade.
Colorado: Darcy Kuemper is done in Colorado. Adrian Dater reported a new deal will not be worked out. Then Colorado GM Joe Sakic pivoted to the NHL trade block and acquired Rangers backup Alexander Georgiev. Colorado Avalanche trade.
Here’s a little behind-the-scenes stuff from Montreal that you don’t get to see on TV:
Top overall pick Juraj Slavkovsky gets serenaded before his first official TV interview Ole! pic.twitter.com/PEYWngjhz8
— Dan Kingerski 🇺🇦 (@TheDanKingerski) July 8, 2022
Sportsnet: The NHL trade carousel began with rejection. Matt Murray–remember him?–rejected a trade to the Buffalo Sabres. Ottawa was wheeling and dealing. They added Alex DeBrincat. And they’re not done. Chicago is clearly tanking. They grabbed goalie Petr Mrazek, as well as dealt away young scorers Kirby Dach and Debrincat. Rory Boylen had the full recap.
Going to be a tire fire in Chicago. And it was totally avoidable, too. That’s been bad management for too long, and it doesn’t appear that things will get better any time soon.
There are several first-round talents still waiting to be selected. Expect a bit more spinning on the NHL trade wheel this AM.
**Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers’ quest for Alex Debrincat was denied. Is Johnny Hockey the next target? Sam Carchidi is reading some expensive tea leaves for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Washington Hockey Now: OK, let’s be really honest. Teams MUST be scared about their Russian players. There’s more and more evidence that Russia and dictator Vlad Putin are pressuring hockey players to stay. And they can be very persuasive. So, which team might be have an advantage? Yep, the Alex Ovechkin-led Capitals snagged Ivan Miroshnichenko. Washington Capitals draft.
More coming from Draft Day 2!