The NHL Draft took place Sunday at The Prudential Center in Newark. Most of the fanfare was over top pick Nathan MacKinnon, who went to Colorado. Florida surprised everyone by selecting Aleksander Barkov over Seth Jones and Jonathan Drouin. Jones had been projected to go first but the Avalanche went for offense with MacKinnon. Instead, he slipped to four while Drouin went to Tampa Bay. Following the Lightning’s pick, Nashville chose Jones. The No.1 rated defenseman is the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones. Jones was part of the Nets staff. Now, his kid will become a building block in Music City with Shea Weber taking him under his wing.
Yesterday also produced a surreal moment. It took all the way to final round to happen. With the Devils and Kings swapping picks, New Jersey gave their remaining fans a treat by taking Anthony Brodeur. The son of future Hall Of Famer Martin Brodeur was thrilled to get drafted by his Dad making it all the more special. He went 208th overall. It didn’t matter. The wait was well worth it, generating the kind of buzz Gary Bettman must’ve loved. Especially coming off the highest rated Stanley Cup since 1994.
Considering the lockout which produced more fan frustration, the game is in a good place now. The shortened season was a rousing success with the Blackhawks and Bruins providing one of the best series in recent memory. An epic conclusion with Chicago scoring twice 17 seconds apart to stun Boston. Unfortunately, the Hawks already had to break up their second championship team in four years by dealing Cup hero Dave Bolland to Toronto and Michael Frolik to Winnipeg. The NHL offseason already is in full swing. With free agency beginning on Friday, there’s sure to be a flurry of activity.
Already we’ve seen trades with none bigger than the Devils acquiring Cory Schneider from Vancouver for their first pick (9th) with the Canucks tabbing center Bo Horvat. Schneider will supplant Brodeur as New Jersey’s number one goalie. He’s signed through 2015 and will earn $4 million per year. Brodeur handled it with class and his usual charm hinting that Schneider will have to fight him for the top spot. In what could be his final year at age 41, the all-time winningest netminder has done it all winning three Cups, four Vezinas and Olympic gold. The all-time career shutout leader got to call his own son at the Draft putting the cherry on top of the sundae. All the more fitting it was on a Sunday. A cool moment that will last a lifetime.