PITTSBURGH -- Every team in the NHL is happy with the draft picks they made this weekend. To hear the early projections and future scouting reports of the 211 players that were selected in Pittsburgh, they all appear destined to be the best players in the NHL some day.
But the weekend wasn't just about the teenagers that were selected in the draft and the type of players they can (or will) become. It was also about all 30 general manager being in one central location and having an opportunity to deal with each other face to face.
Some trades were made, many were not.
Some teams did well for themselves ... and others have a few problems they still need to deal with.
Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers are winners for no other reason than the simple fact they didn't outthink themselves and do something completely ridiculous like pass on Nail Yakupov with the top pick.
As the draft approached on Friday night there seemed to be an increasing belief that they might actually take defenseman Ryan Murray with the No. 1 overall pick, passing on the player that was believed to be the best prospect in the draft.
That is never a good idea, no matter how much talent you have at one position (or how little you have at another)
In the end, though, the Oilers made the only pick they could have (and should have) made by selecting the Sarnia Sting forward and adding him to their already impressive collection of young forwards. I don't know how many games they're going to win next season (probably not many), but with Yakupov, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle the Oilers at least have some hope that this six-year run of irrelevance in the Western Conference can soon come to an end.
Carolina Hurricanes: Jim Rutherford wanted a big score this summer and man did he get it on Friday evening by acquiring center Jordan Staal from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He paid a pretty steep price for Staal, who has just one year remaining on his current contract before he's eligible for unrestricted free agency, but he also seems to have the inside track on re-signing him to the type of long-term deal the Penguins weren't able to reach with him.
Whether he plays on a line with his brother, Eric, or centers his own line, Staal will get an increased role with the Hurricanes, have an opportunity to shake the "third-line center" label, and give the team one of the NHL's best two-way centers. It's a big addition for a team that hasn't really been known for making them, and should put them back on the map in what is still a very winnable division.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Even though Carolina ended up getting the best player in the Staal trade, the Penguins still did very well for themselves. Especially since they seemed to have little leverage given that Staal only has one year left on his current deal and reportedly had his mind set on Carolina, which should have narrowed their potential trade partners (though there was talk that the New York Rangers, a division rival of the Penguins, also contacted them about Staal).
The Penguins were still able to come away with a top-10 pick (which was used on defenseman Derrick Pouliot), another top defense prospect in Brian Dumoulin, and center Brandon Sutter. Sutter should slide right into Pittsburgh's third-line and serve as their shutdown center (a role he already played with the Hurricanes, and handled quite well) for at least the next two years at a very reasonable cap hit (around $2 million per year).
Later Friday night the Penguins cleared even more salary from their payroll by trading Zbynek Michalek, viewed as a bit of a disappointment the past two years in Pittsburgh, to Phoenix for two prospects and a draft pick.
In the end, the Penguins opened up about $6 million in cap space and set themselves up to be major players in the free agent market.
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Washington Capitals: The Capitals have been looking for a No. 2 center to play behind Nicklas Backstrom for a couple of years now and may have finally found one in Mike Ribeiro, adding him from the Dallas Stars in exchange for Cody Eakin and the Capitals' second-round pick in 2012.
The price for Washington certainly seems right, and Ribeiro is a quality player that consistently produces and has a high level of skill. With Backstrom and Ribeiro the Capitals have a pretty potent 1-2 punch down the middle, and the added offense certainly won't hurt as it appears the Capitals could lose Alexander Semin to free agency.
Along with the addition of Ribeiro, the Capitals also used the first of their two first-round picks to select Swedish forward Filip Forsberg at No. 11 overall, a pick that seems to be a steal at this point given Forsberg's predraft rankings.
The Capitals had that pick as a result of last year's trade that sent goaltender Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche. Given that the Capitals still have Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby on the roster, it's a trade that certainly panned out for them. Deal from a position of organizational strength and get a top prospect in return. There is never anything wrong with that.
Calgary Flames: Sure it's cliche to say that the NHL draft is a total crapshoot, but let's face it ... it is. It's not just a matter of scouting ability and player development, there's also a great deal of luck at work when it comes to which players develop for the team that selected them, and which ones don't.
That doesn't mean some risks aren't bigger than others.
The biggest surprise of the first-round had to be the Calgary Flames trading down and selecting Mark Jankowski with the No. 21 overall pick.
It was clear the Flames didn't care what the rest of the hockey world thought (and quite honestly, no team should) with their pick and selected Jankowski ... a player that was ranked 41st on Central Scoutings predraft rankings. In that sense it appears to be a bit of a reach, and it seems like the very definition of a boom-or-bust pick.
The feeling around the draft on Jankowski was that he was a player on the rise. He certainly has a great deal of upside. He's talented, young, and like all of the players here this weekend still maturing physically. But he's a major project and is probably a long way from making the NHL, let alone making an impact.
Who knows, maybe in five years the Flames scouting staff will look like genuises for grabbing a player that everybody else missed on. But right now it looks like a pretty sizable gamble, and one of the biggest of the first round.
The Bobby Ryan situation in Anaheim: Oh man did this situation get real ugly, real fast over the weekend.
Bobby Ryan's name was once again involved in trade rumors leading up to the draft, and on Friday night the young forward sounded off regarding his situation in Anaheim, telling Randy Miller of the Courier Post, "I gotta be honest with you. At this point, I don't care. Move me ... because it's just tough going to the rink every day knowing that if something goes wrong, you're going to be the guy moved."
And with that, it sounds like the Ducks have a very unhappy player on their hands.
Ryan's name had been connected with the Flyers, and he should be a player that just about every team in the NHL should be interested in. Even more than Rick Nash. And even though he would require a team to give up assets in return, perhaps even more than free agent Zach Parise.
He's younger, a cheaper hit against the salary cap, and has probably still yet to play his best hockey, which is a nice thought for a guy that's already a 30-goal per year player.
He won't be cheap in a trade, but he might be worth it if the Ducks decide to part ways with him.
Anybody that was looking for a lot of blockbuster trades: We had one major trade (Jordan Staal), a couple of pretty big ones (Ribiero to Washington, Lubomir Visnovsky to the New York Islanders, Michalek to Phoenix) but every other big name that had been mentioned in trade talks or rumors stayed put this weekend.
No Rick Nash trade (again). No Roberto Luongo trade. No Bobby Ryan trade.
So that means the rumor mill continues to swirl as we head into free agency. That fills us with nothing but joy and happy thoughts.
Video of the weekend: Paul Holmgren and the Flyers are not popular in Pittsburgh
One of the great things about moving the draft around from city to city is that it gives fans an opportunity to see the event in person. It also gives them a chance to boo their rival picks, as Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren found out on Friday evening when announcing the 20th overall pick at the Consol Energy Center.
Just in case you weren't already aware, they don't like the Flyers in Pittsburgh.
I also like how he played to it with the, "Well, I was going to thank you..." line.
It certainly beats the standard boilerplate line from every general manager where they thank the host city for their hospitality and say hello to their fans back at the local rink watching on TV. Rivalries are fun. It's part of what makes sports great. Play to it.
And this happened every time the Flyers made a pick over the two days. You know it's a great rivalry when some sixth or seventh round pick that has probably a five percent chance of playing in the NHL is getting booed by the opposing fans.
The 2014 draft will be held in Philadelphia so Flyers fans will have an opportunity to return the favor.