By all standards it was a relatively quiet draft. Before the draft began, recent Stanley Cup champions Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik were shipped from the Washington Capitals to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for the 47th overall selection.
The only other two trades of the day did not involve players, as both the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs traded down in the draft, picking up additional selections in the later rounds.
The handful of big names expected to be dealt Friday night remained untouched as Erik Karlsson, Ryan O’Reilly, Jeff Skinner and Max Pacioretty all remained on their respective teams following Friday’s first round.
As anticipated, Buffalo made Rasmus Dahlin the first Swede to be selected first overall since Mats Sundin went to Quebec in 1989. Dahlin also marked the first of 14 defencemen taken in the first round – an NHL record.
A handful of surprise selections were the only talking points Friday from the American Airlines Center, beginning with the Arizona Coyotes’ selection of Barrett Hayton at number five, and ending with Joe Veleno’s magnificent slide down the charts to pick number 30, after being projected to land in the top 10.
No Manitobans were chosen in the opening round of the draft for the first time since 2015. Heading into day two, Manitoba boasts three high-to-mid level prospects in defencemen Jett Woo (Winnipeg) and Calen Addison (Brandon) and forward Riley Stotts (Winnipeg), who are sure to be selected in the early going Saturday morning.
For the first time since becoming the Winnipeg Jets in 2011, General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and his squad stood pat without a selection in the first round. In making their first pick at number 60, day two should be a very interesting one for the Jets’ scouting and management team.
“Certainly it’s a different feeling when you’re not on the clock,” Cheveldayoff said. “It’s interesting, because you spend the requisite time doing the lists, and there is passion. There is passion for players; some guys you look and go “Hmm, we wouldn’t have taken him there,” or, “we would have taken him there.” So those are the things that you fill your time with.”
Some notable players that Winnipeg has previously drafted in the second round include Eric Comrie, Nic Petan and Dylan Samberg. The Jets will also be selecting at number 91, 150, 153, 184 and 215 – pending future trades.
Rounds two through seven will go from American Airlines Center beginning at 10:00 A.M. local time.
The Canadian teams selecting in the first round landed the following players:
Montreal: Jesperi Kotkaniemi (3)
Ottawa: Brady Tkachuk (4), Jacob Bernard-Docker (26)
Vancouver: Quinn Hughes (7)
Edmonton: Evan Bouchard (10)
Toronto: Rasmus Sandin (29)