Fun draft day, hockey fans.
Friday brought a flurry of trades, signings and a few juicy surprises. Plus, the New Jersey Devils and Nico Hischier made draft history.
From Artemi Panarin to T.J. Oshie, from Brayden Schenn to Ryan Reaves, here’s a blow-by-blow recap of all the news, rumours and highlights from Day 1 of the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago.
Reminder: You can watch live coverage of Day 2 of the 2017 NHL Draft on Sportsnet and Sportsnet Now beginning at 10 a.m. ET Saturday.
Some notes (and a laugh) from the aftermath of Round 1…
TRADE: The Pittsburgh Penguins acquire tough guy Ryan Reaves (to help protect Sidney Crosby) and the 51st pick from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for the 31st pick and Oscar Sundqvist.
To the surprise of some, the Blues protected Reaves in the expansion draft. His worth just earned them a first-rounder.
With the final pick of Round 1, the Blues select Klim Kostin — the No. 1-ranked European skater according to Central Scouting.
Kostin appeared in eight games with the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo in 2016-17 but failed to register a point. He names Pavel Datsyuk and Patrik Laine as his hockey idols.
It’s all Finland all the time.
The Nashville Predators choose scorer Eeli Tolvanen with the 30th-overall pick.
Chicago GM Stan Bowman pleases fans by toting out Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the only two players he didn’t trade away earlier in the day, to announce the 29th-overall selection: defenceman Henri Jokiharju.
The Ottawa Senators pick up 6-foot-2 centre Shane Bowers with the 28th selection.
Bowers will attend Boston University next season. GM Pierre Dorion says within two years he’ll be in the Sens lineup.
TRADE: The St. Louis Blues trade Jori Lehtera, the 27th pick and 2018 conditional first-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for Brayden Schenn.
With the 27th pick, the Flyers take Morgan Frost, son of former Maple Leafs in-house announcer Andy Frost.
The Blues had been looking to rid themselves of Lehtera’s heavy contract. The 29-year-old will make $4.7 million in each of the next two seasons.
Schenn is younger (25) but more expensive ($5.125 million cap hit through 2019-10). The Blues were willing to give up potentially two first-rounders to add him.
TRADE: The Chicago Blackhawks trade down in the draft, giving the 26th pick to Dallas in exchange for picks 29 and 70 (Round 3).
With pick 26, the Stars grab the first goaltender of the draft: Jake Oettinger from Boston University.
The Montreal Canadiens acquire a centre!
The Habs draft Ryan Poehling with the 25th pick. The Minnesota native is a 6-foot-2, 183-pound two-way forward who plays for St. Cloud State.
Asked if he had anything up his sleeve, Montreal GM Marc Bergevin smiled: “Expect the unexpected.”
The Winnipeg Jets select Kristian Vesalainen at No. 24.
A power winger, the Finnish forward compares his style of play to that of Rick Nash and says it would “be great” to one day play alongside Patrik Laine.
“We’re excited to have a big, powerful player like that who can drive the net and make plays,” says Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.
It was fate…
Pierre-Olivier Joseph is taken 23rd by the Arizona Coyotes.
The Edmonton Oilers select Spokane’s Kailer Yamamoto with pick No. 22. He piled up 99 points in 65 WHL games this past season.
As a kid, the right wing was taught how to skate by Tampa Bay Lightning star Tyler Johnson’s mom. Yamamoto is only 5-foot-8 and 153 pounds.
“Despite his stature, we saw a lot of things: big heart, big skill,” says Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli.
Some Avalanche nuggets. Joe Sakic still wants GMs to sharpen their pencils on those Matt Duchene trade proposals.
With their second pick of the night (21st overall), the Rangers take forward Filip Chytil, a projected second-rounder on most mock drafts.
At pick 20, the St. Louis Blues take Memorial Cup champ Robert Thomas.
The London Knights centre, who has trained with Matthew Tkachuk and Gary Roberts, has 81 points in 106 OHL games.
The San Jose Sharks select American centre Josh Norris with the 19th pick. Norris has committed to the University of Michigan for 2017-18.
The Boston Bruins use their No. 18 pick on defenceman Urho Vaakainen.
The 6-foot-1 two-way blueliner played 41 games in Finland’s top pro league. He has superb hockey sense and the potential to run an NHL power play.
The Toronto Maple Leafs get a right-shot defenceman, Timothy Liljegren, with the 17th pick.
“When he fell that far, it was a no-brainer,” Leafs assistant GM Mark Hunter says. “We’ll bring him to camp and see how he does.”
Smooth and powerful, the Swedish pro is blessed with natural play-making talents. Tabbed as an elite skater out of Sweden, the six-foot, 191-pound prospect impressed during the Five Nations Tournament in the spring.
Liljegren describes himself as an “offensive defenceman” who wants the puck on his stick. And when he has it, he makes smart, crisp passes or can let loose with a heavy slapper.
At No. 16, the Calgary Flames take Juuso Valimaki.
Erik Brannstrom, the third Golden Knights pick of the evening, goes at No. 15.
Cal Foote — a big, offensive-minded, right-shot defenceman — is taken 14th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning. You may know his dad, Adam.
Foote put up 57 points in 71 games with Kelowna this past season.
“It’s a specific need we had with our organization,” says Bolts GM Steve Yzerman, who knows Adam well from the great Avalanche–Red Wings rivalry days.
With its second first-round pick of the night, Vegas selects centre Nick Suzuki out of Owen Sound at No. 13.
Vegas obtained the pick from Winnipeg, who wanted the Golden Knights to steer clear of their roster during the expansion draft. The Knights took impending UFA Chris Thorburn off the Jets instead of, say, Toby Enstrom.
Another centre off the board.
With the 12th pick, the Carolina Hurricanes take Czech-born Martin Necas. He’s speedy and highly skilled.
The Los Angeles Kings are thrilled to take a big centre, Gabe Vilardi, at No. 11.
Vilardi scored 29 goals and 32 assists in 49 games with the Windsor Spitfires this past season and was predicted as a sure bet to go in the top 10.
After a warm ovation from the Chicago crowd, Florida GM Dale Tallon selects Owen Tippett, a pure goal-scorer, at No. 10.
Tippett compares his style of play to that of Steven Stamkos. Great release.
Man this panther draft pick is hitting a little too close to home pic.twitter.com/zjsVPWGuuv
— Strombone (@strombone1) June 24, 2017
The Detroit Red Wings, making their first top-10 selection in most readers’ lifetime, select another centre, Michael Rasmussen, at No. 9.
A skilled big man, Rasmussen could potentially develop into a No. 1 power-play guy.
At No. 8, the Buffalo Sabres select Casey Mittelstadt, who made headlines when he failed to do a pull-up at the combine.
The Minnesota high school prospect represents Jason Botterill’s first pick as an NHL general manager.
The New York Rangers take Lias Andersson, a Swedish centre, at No. 7. Five of the top seven picks are centremen.
The Blueshirts leapt up to No. 7 earlier in the day by making a big trade with the Arizona Coyotes, who landed Derek Stepan.
Andersson is the son of Los Angeles Kings European amateur scout Niklas Andersson.
The Vegas Golden Knights’ first-ever entry draft selection is… Cody Glass at No. 6.
His origin story is remarkable. Watch it:
The Vancouver Canucks grab Elias Pettersson, a play-making centreman at No. 5.
“He’s the guy we honed in on,” says GM Jim Benning.
The Canucks flew Pettersson out to Vancouver after the combine and he met the Sedins at the gym.
Fun fact: Pettersson is the younger brother of Predators 2013 pick Emil Pettersson.
From earlier this year – Pettersson with the insane deke to lose coverage
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) June 24, 2017
With the No. 4 pick, the Colorado Avalanche select Cale Makar, the player they had targeted.
“We’re excited to add Cale to our organization,” says director of amateur scouting Alan Hepple. “He’s a very good skater, a very good puck-mover. Very good puck management. Offensive upside with a great shot and great vision.”
The Anaheim Ducks extend Patrick Eaves with a three-year contract, further weakening the UFA market for scoring wingers. (Washington re-upped with T.J. Oshie earlier in the day.)
The Ducks rented Eaves at the deadline from Dallas, and he fit in lovely on Ryan Getzlaf’s side down the stretch and into the playoffs.
The Dallas Stars explored trading the No. 3 pick but end up keeping it to select smooth-skating Miro Heiskanen, the first defenceman off the board.
Brandon Wheat Kings centre Nolan Patrick goes second overall to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The lottery-winning New Jersey Devils end the suspense by selecting centre Nico Hischier with their No. 1 overall pick.
Hischier becomes the first Swiss player ever selected No. 1 overall.
The 18-year-old from Naters, Switzerland, earned CHL Rookie of the Year honours this season after finishing 2016-17 with 38 goals and 48 assists for 86 points in 57 games.
Nino Niederreiter was the previous highest-ever Swiss pick. He went fifth overall in 2010 to the New York Islanders.
— Cesaro (@WWECesaro) June 23, 2017
Gary Bettman gets booed, lustily, and enjoys every second of it. Surprise.
United Center faithful cheer all the way through the anthems, which are apparently sung before a draft.
Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Marc Methot considers but turns down a potential trade to the Montreal Canadiens, according to a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:
Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning says he will select the best player available at No. 5, but it would be nice if that player is a play-making centre or power-play defenceman. The Canucks hold the highest draft position of any Canadian team.
Both of the presumed top two picks tonight signed major endorsement deals with competing hockey brands this week — even before they’ve landed entry-level contracts.
Nolan Patrick inked a deal with Bauer Thursday, joining all three 2017 Calder finalists (Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Zach Werenski) on that squad.
Earlier today, Nico Hischier decided to exclusively use CCM equipment to start his NHL career, joining big names like Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and Carey Price on Team CCM.
Sam Cosentino, one of Sportsnet’s resident junior hockey experts, joined Prime Time Sports to discuss the depth of the 2017 NHL Draft class.
True, there is no one who ticks the “generational talent” box like an Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid this year. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a wealth of intriguing prospects who will one day crack a big-league roster.
Both Sportsnet junior hockey analysts have Nico Hischier leapfrogging Nolan Patrick for that Number 1 spot.
Buckle up, Leafs Nation. The Maple Leafs, Flames, Lightning and Stars are all reportedly interested in trading for Islanders defenceman Travis Hamonic.
The Washington Capitals go deep on T.J. Oshie, who was set to be the most valuable forward on this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.
Eight years and $46 million, for a cap hit of $5.75 million.
“T.J. is an invaluable member of our team and we felt it was imperative for us to re-sign him in a competitive free agent market,” GM Brian MacLellan says.
“T.J. is a highly competitive player with a tremendous skill set. He epitomizes the kind of player our team must have in order for us to continue to put ourselves in a position to compete in this league.”
Oshie is coming off a career year, playing alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. The 30-year-old scored 33 goals and 56 points in the regular season and was stellar in the playoffs, putting up 12 points in 13 games.
His shooting percentage was an incredible 23.1% in 2016-17, the best of any NHL player who skated in more than 30 games.
With Oshie signed, Montreal’s Alexander Radulov is set to become the most coveted UFA forward on July 1.
Travis Hamonic is on the verge of being traded by the New York Islanders, either in a trade for future assets or in a package to land another high-end forward to go with Jordan Eberle, reports Newsday‘s Arthur Staple.
The Islanders are reportedly asking for two first-round draft picks in exchange for Hamonic, a 26-year-old right shot who would improve most clubs’ top four.
According to Staple, the Calgary Flames have shown the most interest but have balked at the high asking price. The Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs — two offence-blessed teams in obvious need of a defence upgrade — are also said to be interested.
Staple writes that Isles GM Garth Snow still covets Avalanche centre Matt Duchene, “and is believed to have an offer on the table that includes Hamonic, a prospect and possibly the Islanders’ 2018 first-round pick.”
Also: The reporter’s sources say Snow will not part with 20-year-old centre prospect Mathew Barzal.
Checking in on the rumour mill…
A quick recap of the trade and singing action that has already occurred Friday….
Having freed up salary cap space with Thursday’s purge of Jordan Eberle, the Edmonton Oilers ink shot-blocker extraordinaire Kris Russell to a four-year, $16-million contract extension. Russell was an impending unrestricted free agent who would’ve attracted interest elsewhere had he hit the open market.
Coyotes land centre Derek Stepan and goaltender Antti Raanta from the New York Rangers in exchange for defenceman Anthony DeAngelo and the Coyotes’ seventh-overall pick in tonight’s draft.
“We are thrilled to acquire Derek,” says Arizona GM John Chayka. “Our organization has been searching for a true No. 1 centre for over a decade and we are confident that he can be that for us.”
“Antti is a highly skilled, athletic goaltender,” Chayka says. “We’re confident that he can emerge as an excellent starting goalie for us.”
Somewhere, Chad Johnson gently weeps.
Chicago GM Stan Bowman promised changes after getting swept in Round 1 by Nashville, but no one predicted this.
The Blackhawks pull off a monster trade, sending 2016 Calder Trophy winner Artemi Panarin to the Blue Jackets for fellow left winger and former Blackhawk Brandon Saad.
Chicago also acquires goaltender Anton Forsberg and a 2018 fifth-round pick in the deal, while centre Tyler Motte and a 2017 sixth-rounder head to Columbus.
“We thank Artemi for the immediate impact he made on our lineup during his seamless transition to the NHL,” Bowman says.
“His rookie year will always rank among the best in franchise history and his exciting style of play provided many memorable moments for our fans during his two seasons as a member of the team. Tyler has a bright future in this league and we appreciate his contributions and hard work he put in. We wish them both success in Columbus.”
Interesting that Chicago announces these core deals in advance of the draft, where the departures of Panarin and Hjalmarsson would’ve gotten a live reaction from the home crowd.
As was reported last week, the Los Angeles Kings make official their buyout of defenceman Matt Greene’s contract. He will remain with the organization as a pro scout.
Greene spent nine seasons with the Kings, winning two Stanley Cups. He had one year remaining on his contract and the buyout will result in a cap charge of approximately $833,333 for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
“We are very pleased to acquire Niklas,” Chayka says. “He’s an elite player and one of the NHL’s top defenceman. He’s a warrior who played a key role in Chicago’s last three Stanley Cup wins. We are thrilled to have him join our team.”
Official order of selection for Round 1 (subject to change)
1. New Jersey
7. New York Rangers (from Arizona)
11. Los Angeles
13. Vegas (from Winnipeg)
14. Tampa Bay
15. Vegas (from New York Islanders)
19. San Jose
20. St. Louis
21. NY Rangers
23. Arizona (from Minnesota)
24. Winnipeg (from Columbus via Vegas)
27. St. Louis (from Washington)
29. Dallas (from Anaheim)