The 2012 NHL Draft may not have grabbed everyone’s attention, but it did leave us with some lasting memories and impressions. What were the biggest ones? Well, we think we know what’s best so here’s your official PHT Top 5 stories of the draft.
1. Nail Yakupov goes No. 1
There was a lot of debate whether or not Yakupov would be Edmonton’s pick at No. 1, but GM Steve Tambellini made the speculation seem silly when he grabbed the Sarnia Sting scoring phenom first overall. Now Yakupov gets to play with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle to make up their own offensive flying circus.
2. Ray Shero sure knows how to spoil the home fans
GM Ray Shero made sure the home fans headed home ecstatic after Friday night’s first round. The Penguins came into the draft with just one pick at 21st overall in the first round. They left the draft dealing Jordan Staal to Carolina for a package that included the eighth overall pick as well as dealing Zbynek Michalek back to Phoenix for a pack of prospects. Well played, Shero.
3. Defense dominates the first round
We knew this draft was loaded with quality defensemen, what we didn’t know was just how many of them would wind up being first-round caliber guys. 13 blue liners went in the first round this year, tying the mark for most defensemen taken in the opening round back in 1996. For what it’s worth, that ’96 draft had notable picks like Ottawa’s Chris Phillips and… Uh… Andrei Zyuzin. Let’s just hope this draft class turns out a little better.
4. Columbus doesn’t deal Nash
We thought this might be the right time for the Blue Jackets and GM Scott Howson to deal Rick Nash. Yeah, about that… Turns out the right time for the Jackets to move him might be after Zach Parise finds a home after July 1. You know what they say about the best laid plans.
5. Luongo is still a Vancouver Canuck
Much like Nash, Roberto Luongo was shaping up to be a big name to be moved at the draft. While Luongo wasn’t traded, his name was thrown around a bit between Vancouver and Florida (of course). Panthers GM Dale Tallon says he’s listening but Canucks GM Mike Gillis says he himself is the guy getting in the way.