The Draft is Here and with it a Philly crowd who were very VERY vocal about their opinions.
I know it is childish, but it doesn't get old to hear Bettman booed. But nothing prepared me for the opening speech by a high ranked Flyer official (I can't remember if it was the Team President or whoever I only caught his name as Roger _____ due to spotty internet connectivity). It's ok to be nervous, and it was clear he was. It was another thing to come across like you totally just adlibbed an opening message because you were told you were doing it 30 seconds before the microphone turned on. He was reallly awkward.
Anyways, the news.... there weren't as many trades as NHL Analysts forecasted. Kesler left for Anaheim and Bonino, Sbisa, and a pick (traded to NYR for Dorsett) came to Vancouver.
Overall, both teams get players that have to learn what the system is. Kesler has to learn how to play with less diving while Bonino and Dorsett have to learn how to dive while Sbisa takes cheap shots at opposing first line forwards.
A few pick swaps and James Neal leaves Pittsburgh for Nashville for Hornqvist and Spalling. Tampa Bay also got Garrison from Vancouver for a pick.
Anyways, the Americans did "ok" in the first round. There were four taken in the first round. The highest was drafted by my Detroit Red Wings. Dylan Larkin was taken 15th overall. He's off to Michigan in the fall... I think. The next pick was another American in Sonny Milano, a BC recruit (for now... rumor has it he's going OHL). Alex Tuch went to Minnesota 18th overall. He's another BC recruit, IIRC. Of those mentioned above, I think the most likely CHL departure is Milano. I think next would be Larkin. Detroit has had a mixed reaction with NCAA players. Sure, Abdelkader and Nyquist seem to be working fine but Sheahan wasn't really a great experience. The positive is that Ann Arbor is spitting distance from Joe Louis Arena.
20th overall was San Jose's pick, but they traded the pick to Chicago. They wasted no time in drafting UND recruit Nick Schmaltz. Nick, coincidentally idolizes Patrick Kane. Melrose compared Schmaltz to Ottawa's Jason Spezza. He also seemed pretty confident that Schmaltz was a future four year player at UND.
I agree insomuch that, of the five Americans drafted in the first round (DeAngelo is also American but he plays in the CHL so he's irrelevant to this discussion), Schmaltz is the least likely to go CHL.
I found it interesting to see how Schmaltz got drafted and how high he did. Melrose tried to say that Schmaltz was as high as 10th overall and as low as 60th. First, I saw at least 6 different mock drafts and NONE had Schmaltz higher than 21st. Only 3 had Nick in the first round (cycled between Montreal and Boston picking around 25 and 26th with one going to St. Louis).
Barry Melrose started absolutely gushing about UND and mentioned Belfour, Murray, and Toews and seemed to think that this was the best pick of the draft, but who knows. Every scouting report had two basic complaints about Schmaltz:
1. Inconsistent game to game. Sometimes he can dominate and other times he's completely invisible.
2. One dimensional. He's offensively gifted and borderline liability in defensive zone.
So, someone compared Schmaltz to Vanek. Actually, I'd consider him closer to Kessel. No question Schmaltz has a ton of offensive potential. No doubt he will develop and more than likely excel at UND. However, I think we can expect some growing pains with Nick. I cannot speak to off the ice, but on the ice, I think a good progression for Nick to be compared to is Danny Kristo. Now, you can sling mud all you want at Minnesota or this analysis because I did only see Schmaltz play live once this last season in a Green Bay win over Omaha. But what I saw was Schmaltz was fast but otherwise a nonfactor.
That's my first impression. Now we turn to the coverage towards which CHL team Ryan Mantha will depart for.