For the first time since the Sidney Crosby draft in 2005, not a single player trade was completed during the first round of the NHL Draft Friday night in Vancouver.
While the midday rumours — P.K. Subban! Kris Letang! Tyson Barrie! — kept us on the edge of our seat, the draft played out with minimal movement, save for one minor adjustment between Philadelphia and Arizona.
Here, you can recap the highlights and surprises of draft in our minute-by-minute blog of all the happenings.
Kaliyev curiously tumbles out of Round 1
Arthur Kaliyev, who was slotted among the top 15 in many a mock draft, was not selected in Round 1 Friday.
The 17-year-old winger sniped 51 goals and piled up 102 points for the Hamilton Bulldogs in just 67 games this season.
Peg him as a potential second-round steal.
Buffalo wraps Round 1 with another American
The Sabres bookend the first round with another U.S. prospect, defenceman Ryan Johnson.
Committed to the University of Minnesota, Johnson is known as a one-man breakout who is solid in his own end.
GM Jason Botterill praises his skating and puck-moving ability.
All told, 11 players each were taken from the United States and Canada, four from Sweden, three from Finland, and one each from Germany and Russia.
Boston booed lustily by Vancouver crowd
Either they were screaming “Brooooooooins” or 2011 isn’t as long ago as it feels.
The locals greet Boston’s 30th-overall choice, John Beecher, with a Bronx cheer.
Beecher is a “second-line winger at worst,” per Brian Burke’s scouting contact. Beecher marks the eighth pick out of the U.S. National Team Development Program in the first round, crushing a new record for the program.
The previous record was three.
“It’s a childhood dream come true,” Beecher says.
Suzuki selected by Hurricanes
Following in the footsteps of brother Nick, who was drafted in Round 1 by the Golden Knights in 2017, Ryan Suzuki goes to the Carolina Hurricanes at No. 28.
Nick says Ryan is the better skater of the two siblings.
Lightning grabs another Foote
Tampa Bay operates the NHL futures of both Feet, Cal Foote and Nolan Foote — the sons of legendary NHLer Adam.
The Lightning select Nolan at 27th overall, and the younger son was quick to credit Dad for his role in developing his skills. Nolan is over the moon knowing he’s with the same organization as his older brother.
Pelletier joins Flames
Jakob Pelletier, who won gold with Canada at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, gets selected by the Calgary Flames at 26th overall.
Pelletier blew GM Brad Treliving away during his interview.
When Treliving asked the prospect why he’d be a good fit for Calgary, Pelletier replied, “We’re going to win the Cup.”
Blues in no rush to deal with long list of RFAs
Stanley Cup–winning GM Doug Armstrong doesn’t have many pressing UFAs to deal with and appears in no rush to settle negotiations with his hefty roster of restricted free agents: Jordan Binnington, Joel Edmundson, Oskar Sundqvist, Igor Barbashev, Robby Fabbri, Zach Sanford, and Sammy Blais.
“All the restricted guys are going to get their qualifying offers and we’ll deal with it mid-July,” Armstong tells reporters on the draft floor.
Big Swedes, safe picks
Following Pittsburgh’s selection of winger Samuel Poulin at 21, L.A. used its 22nd pick (via Toronto in the Jake Muzzin deal) on Swedish defender Tobias Bjornfot, and the Islanders’ Lou Lamoriello went with Swedish winger Simon Holmstrom at No. 23.
Trades are scarce!
Quick aside: I can’t recall a draft night where trade activity was so hyped and yet so under-delivered as this one. The only deal all day was the Flyers swapping three picks down with Arizona. No actual players have been moved yet.
Hope remains high for Saturday, however, when we consider that the Dougie Hamilton blockbuster went down on Day 2 of the 2018 draft.
“The draft is so strong that I don’t think people wanted to move their picks,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford tells reporters.
Jets, Sens pick Finnish D-men back-to-back
Defenceman Ville Heinola goes to Winnipeg at No. 20, the pick reacquired from Philadelphia in the recent Kevin Hayes trade.
“We believe in taking the best player available on our list,” GM Kevin Cheveldayoff says. “We’re excited to have him.”
Finnish hockey continues to dominate.
Brady Tkachuk selects Thompson 19th overall
Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion hands the microphone to last year’s first-rounder, Brady Tkachuk, to announce the pick of Finnish defenceman Lassi Thompson.
This selection is considered a bit of a gamble — several scouts had Thompson slotted as a second-rounder — because he is scheduled to go back to Finland and play pro next year.
He could also play in Kelowna.
“We’ll support either place he wants to play,” Dorion says on-air.
Uh, Colorado should’ve drafted Newhook’s sister…
Stars grab Harley from Mississauga
A superb two-way defenceman from the Mississauga Steelheads, Thomas Harley goes to the Dallas Stars at No. 18.
Brian Burke describes the kid as “a safe pick,” meaning a big, skilled body that munches minutes and will make it to the big leagues but may not be a top-two defender at the NHL level.
McCrimmon makes first pick as GM
Western Hockey League alum Kelly McCrimmon uses his first pick as Vegas GM on a WHLer, Winnipeg Ice captain Peyton Krebs, at No. 17.
Krebs’s value may have slipped due to an Achilles injury, but he’s known as a gamer who’s especially dangerous through the neutral zone.
Shea Weber selects Caufield
Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin pulls a crowd-pleasing move, bringing out captain and B.C. native Shea Weber to announce his 15th pick: Cole Caufield.
Caufield, from — yep — the USNTDP, is small but talented. At 5 foot 7, he’s being hailed as “Alex DeBrincat 2.0.”
DeBrincat fell to the second round in 2016 and scored 41 goals this season.
Caufield is a pure scorer, which is something Montreal will welcome. No doubt, he slipped down the ladder due to his size.
Fun fact: Caufield can juggle Timbits on command.
Flyers trade down and select York
Philadelphia, who moved down in a deal with Arizona, select defenceman Cameron York — the third straight prospect from the USNTDP.
Florida takes draft’s first goalie
Rare is the goaltender chosen in the first round, but the Florida Panthers didn’t hesitate to take Spencer Knight (again, from the U.S. national program) at 13.
Knight is arguably the most highly touted Round 1 goalie since Carey Price, but goaltenders are traditionally a risk this early. Knight is the highest netminder drafted since Jack Campbell in 2010 (11th overall).
With Knight’s selection, the U.S. National Development Team becomes the first team in history to have five players selected in the first round of the same draft.
More important: Knight goes by the nickname “Squidward.”
Boldy breaks record
When the Minnesota Wild chose Matthew Boldy at No. 11, they helped break a record. Boldy became the fourth USNDTP player selected in the first round, marking the most in one draft class.
Fun fact: Boldy mows down chicken Parmesan before each game (but today he ate steak instead).
TRADE: The Philadelphia Flyers get back in the second round by trading No. 11 to Arizona for Nos. 14 and 45.
With the three-spot jump, the Coyotes choose defenceman Victor Soderstrom out of Sweden.
Canucks do well to grab Podkolzin
According to expert Sam Cosentino, nabbing Vasily Podkolzin at No. 10 is “an absolute steal” for the Vancouver Canucks.
“This is a man. This is not a boy,” Brian Burke says. “This guy is going to play right away when he gets over here.”
Benning is willing to wait on the 17-year-old, who is still under contract in the KHL for two more seasons.
“We’re really excited to get him at 10,” Benning says.
Zegras goes to Ducks
As far as gifted centres go, Trevor Zegras may only be second to Jack Hughes in the 2019 class. With a couple defencemen going higher than expected, the Ducks luck into Zegas at No. 9.
Five of the first nine players selected are centres. Build from the middle out, folks.
Oilers go for defence, again
After years of targeting elite forwards, Edmonton again uses its first-rounder on a defenceman.
Sweden’s Philip Broberg is selected by the Oilers at eighth overall, posing between Wayne Gretzky and Ken Holland on the podium.
Holland says he interviewed Broberg “a number of times” and was especially impressed by his performance at the under-18 worlds, where he was named best defenceman.
Cozens makes history
Dylan Cozens, at No. 7, is selected by Buffalo and becomes the first-ever player from the Yukon to be drafted in Round 1.
We wrote in depth today about the power forward, whose story is a remarkable one.
Cozens’ first goal as a Sabre will be the first ever scored by a Yukon man in the National Hockey League.
Meanwhile, on the U.S. broadcast…
Red Wings drop a shocker
Steve Yzerman drops a bomb as his first choice as Detroit Red Wings GM, selecting Moritz Seider from Germany at No. 6 — much higher than anticipated.
Seider, sporting a nifty bow tie, becomes the highest-drafted German since Leon Draisaitl. He interviewed with all 31 teams and had “no idea” who would pick him.
This begs a question: Could Yzerman have traded down and still drafted Seider?
Yzerman defended the pick, saying he wanted a smart, smooth-skating defenceman.
Yzerman travelled to Mannheim to watch Seider play during the playoffs, where the 18-year-old defenceman helped Adler Mannheim win the German League title.
Kings select Turcotte
The L.A.Kings take another product from the U.S. National Team Development Program, forward Alex Turcotte, who has committed to the University of Wisconsin for next season.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Turcotte said.
Avalanche take first defenceman
At fourth overall, Joe Sakic selects defenceman Bowen Byram, the top-rated Canadian in the draft.
Byram, who calls Vancouver “a second home,” models his game after Toronto’s Morgan Rielly.
Blackhawks finally reveal Number 3
Chicago did an incredible job keeping its selection under wraps. Stan Bowman ends up going with 6-foot-4 Kirby Dach from the Saskatoon Blades.
Dach, a right-shot centreman, becomes the Blades’ first top-10 pick since Devin Setoguchi.
“I kinda see myself as a Ryan Getzlaf–type centre, a big, rangy, pass-first player, a good leader,” Dach said prior to the draft.
Kakko goes Number 2… no shockers yet
In the easiest draft pick since the Sabres took Jack Eichel, the New York Rangers take Finland’s Kaapo Kakko in the No. 2 slot.
The Metropolitan Division just got a whole lot scarier.
Kakko said it’s his goal to make an immediate jump to the NHL.
Surprise! Jack Hughes goes Number 1 overall
New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero, who once represented Jim Hughes as a player, selected Jim’s son, Jack, with the first-overall pick — to the surprise of no one.
Shero brought out Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur to make the announcement.
Watch our feature on the talented prospect, who should be the first U.S. National Development Team Program to play directly in the NHL.
“Man, I’m so fired up to be a Devil right now,” Hughes said.
Bettman brings out Sedins to quiet his boos
“I admire the emotion and the passion,” commissioner Gary Bettman said upon being greeted by a wall of boo birds at Rogers Arena.
Then he retreated to the wings to bring our Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who made it much more difficult for the locals to cast hate.
This ain’t Gary’s first rodeo, folks.
Canucks inducting Burrows into Ring of Honour
Jim Benning announces that Ottawa Senators great Alex Burrows is headed to Vancouver’s Ring of Honour as part of the franchise 50th anniversary celebrations next season.
“Alex’s story of being undrafted, battling in the minors and earning a spot on one of the most productive lines in team history is remarkable,” Benning said. “He was the type of guy you loved on your team, but despised if you were his opponent. He did whatever was needed to help his teammates win and his passion was infectious. His level of excellence, character, community giving and impact on the franchise makes this a very deserving honour for Alex and his family.”
Vancouver will also retire Nos. 22 and 33 next season. No brainer.
Maple Leafs, Kapanen nearing extension
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that RFA Kasperi Kapanen — potential offer-sheet fodder — is closing in on an extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has said that Mitch Marner was priority No. 1, and that everything else was on the back burner, but with RFAs available to meet with opposing teams as early as Wednesday, it makes sense to keep talks going with Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson.
Kapanen, 22, is coming off a breakout 20-goal, 44-point season in which he worked his way from the fourth line to the Leafs’ top six, finishing 2018-19 on Auston Matthews’ wing.
Dubas also reportedly met with Johnsson’s agent, Jarrett Bousquet, Friday.
Other names stirring trade chatter
• Cap-tight Pittsburgh is open to dealing No. 1 defenceman Kris Letang in the wake of recent Phil Kessel trade attempts getting nixed by the player.
• Brad Treliving needs to allocate a chunk of his funds to RFA Matthew Tkachuk and shoring up his crease, so he’s trying to find a new home for last summer’s failed UFA purchase, James Neal.
• There are also whispers that Calgary would part with defenceman T.J. Brodie for the right return.
Let’s just hope the @BuffaloSabres don’t have Twitter…
Wild shopping Zucker
Less than 48 hours ago, Jason Zucker won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his work in the Minnesota community. Now, the Wild are shopping him again, according to multiple reports.
Zucker, 27, still has four more seasons remaining on his contract at a $5.5-million cap hit. If dealt, he’ll carry a run of three consecutive 20-goal, 40-point campaigns to his new club.
One area the versatile winger has under-performed, however, is in the post-season — where he has only four goals and four assists in 31 career games. A red flag?
Bruins chasing Kreider
The Boston Bruins, who came up one win shy of a Stanley Cup, have interest in acquiring power forward Chris Kreider from the New York Rangers, according to NBCSports.com’s Joe Haggerty.
Kreider’s name was bandied about heavily at the trade deadline as well.
The winger has one year remaining on his current contract at a rate of $4.625 million and is expected a significant raise come 2020.
Well, this won’t quiet the Subban trade rumours
Because he’s been thrust against a salary cap that will only be set at $81.5 million or $82 million, Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has a number of trade candidates he could use to land a defenceman. Patrick Marleau, Nikita Zaitsev, Nazem Kadri, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson and Connor Brown are among the names who could be cap casualties in Toronto.
Subban trade chatter time!
It’s late June, so that can only mean one thing: fire up the P.K. Subban trade rumour mill.
Nashville Predators GM David Poile has never been shy to pull the trigger on a blockbuster, and the worst-kept secret in hockey is that he will be trying to cull salary in advance of captain Roman Josi’s inevitable raise come 2020.
Poile is also said to be interested in Matt Duchene, the top centre available in this summer’s UFA class.
Subban carries a $9 million cap hit for three more seasons, but is due $10 million in actual salary in 2019-20, after which he’ll “only” be paid $8 million annually.
The right-shot defenceman lost his trade protection when he was dealt to Nashville in 2016.
Vancouver and Toronto (Subban’s hometown) are among the clubs that have kicked tires, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Barrie on the block?
Nothing spurs trade rumours like 31 general managers gathering in the same city and trying to shape their 2019-20 rosters all at once.
Colorado Avalanche defenceman Tyson Barrie has been the subject of rampant trade murmurs over the past couple of
years days, and the noise is growing louder.
Barrie, 27, is about the enter the final year of his contract at a $5.5-million cap hit, and there is no shortage of need for right-shot defencemen under 30 around the league.
Avs GM Joe Sakic is blessed with cap space, has vowed to be aggressive, and has younger defencemen (Cale Makar, Samuel Girard) coming up behind Barrie. Colorado is looking for offensive support behind its killer top line.
The Canucks — who have been linked to every blueliner available — are reportedly dangling Jake Virtanen and a pick to land Barrie.
It’s not every day that a young, 59-point defender gets put on the block.
For more on the Barrie buzz, listen to Adrian Dater’s appearance on Vancouver radio earlier today.