Draft talk: Living up to hype, Hall-Seguin update

tavaresdraft.jpgSince the lockout forced the NHL to finally enforce its rules (and therefore allow speedy, talented and young players to shine), the draft has become the cheapest and often quickest way an NHL team can rise from infamy to  become a contender. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few draft related tidbits.

Like it or not, they’re meeting expectations

Number one draft picks have seemingly become a fool-proof commodity lately, but that simply hasn’t always been the case. Instead of complaining about all the attention heaped on Sidney Crosby and Ovechkin, we should be counting our lucky stars that they’re producing at elite levels.

Just looking at past No. 1 draft picks tells the story. Here are the picks from ’92 to ’96: Roman Hamrlik, Alexandre Daigle, Ed Jovanovski, Bryan Berard and Chris Phillips. Now let’s compare that list to the last six drafts: Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Erik Johnson, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos and John Tavares. If it weren’t for one dastardly golf cart, that comparison would be even more astounding. You can’t blame Oilers fans for smiling about this trend. (Brian Burke? Not so much.)

More drafting tidbits after the jump.

The Worst Drafting Teams

ESPN’s Alvin Chang broke down the NHL’s worst drafting teams (subscription needed), using a formula that took into account a) how many players a team drafted who actually made it to the league and b) how well those players played once they made the league. His bottom five teams go as follows.

5. Carolina – Chang points out that the team’s biggest failing is in drafting defensemen with their most prominent blueliner (Jack Johnson) already in Los Angeles.

4. Columbus– The Blue Jackets were dinged by not having as many draft opportunities, but it’s clear the team hasn’t produced much aside from Rick Nash, Steve Mason or Derick Brassard.

3. Phoenix – They haven’t been able to have much draft success aside beyond Shane Doan and the center position.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning – Most of their Stanley Cup roster came from outside the draft.

1. Calgary – Despite having some high picks in the ’90s, the Flames have had little success in the draft. They only managed to draft 3 players who average at least 40 points per season: Dion Phaneuf, Matthew Lombardi and Jarret Stoll. Naturally, all three of them are on different teams now.

Tyler Seguin vs. Taylor Hall Update

Taylor Hall is getting the best of Tyler Seguin in their much-ballyhooed series. The Vancouver Sun shares that Hall’s Windsor Spitfires lead the Plymouth Whalers 2-0 and the numbers are pretty staggering for Hall.

Hall has three goals and four points in the two head-to-head games while Seguin has been snake-bitten with zero points and a minus-5 rating. Now, there might be a considerable disadvantage based on the strength of each player’s teams, but no doubt NHL scouts must be aware of the disparity between the two young players’ performances.

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    WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

    Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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    Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

    We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

    Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

    Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


    Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks


    Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

    Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
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    Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

    Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

    The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

    In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

    This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

    The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

    This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.


    Royal pain: Kings’ Greene to have shoulder surgery, out indefinitely

    Jiri Hudler, Matt Greene
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    The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

    Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.

    With Greene out of the lineup, the Kings have primarily gone with a six-man defensive unit of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Christian Ehrhoff, Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb. Derek Forbort and Jeff Schultz have also been in the mix, but sparingly.

    If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).

    Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight

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    The Vancouver Canucks got banged up last night in Anaheim. As a result, it looks like they’ll have an interesting lineup tonight in Los Angeles.

    Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed this morning that wingers Chris Higgins and Jake Virtanen were hurt and wouldn’t dress against the Kings.

    In game-day line rushes, AHL callup Andrey Pedan, a defenseman, was skating on the wing with Jared McCann and Radim Vrbata.

    But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.

    But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.

    Confused? It’s OK. So is everyone.

    As an aside, the Canucks not only got banged up last night, they also got pushed around and embarrassed in a 4-0 loss to the Ducks.

    On that note, here’s what Pedan did to Jarred Tinordi in a Utica-Hamilton game last season: