THURSDAY OCTOBER 19, 2017
 
Blog THROWIN SMOKE
TOP 10 SURPRISES AT THE NHL DRAFT
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The NHL Entry Draft is a crapshoot — well, an educated crapshoot. Even the first overall pick is a guessing game — for every Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby there’s an Alexandre Daigle, Patrik Stefan or Rick DiPietro.

The 2013 draft was supposed to be different — experts called it the deepest in a decade, with the top five prospects tabbed as can’t-miss NHL stars. But with trade rumours swirling and a drop in next year’s salary cap, the bigger question became who would be drafting whom. 

Here are the top 10 surprises from this year’s draft.

10. Seth Jones drops to No. 4

Seth Jones, a burly, NHL-ready defenceman, was considered one of the top two prospects in the draft. But Colorado opted for Halifax native Nathan MacKinnon with the first pick, Florida ignored its defensive flaws and took Aleksander Barkov with the second pick, and Tampa nabbed sniper Jonathan Drouin at No. 3. Nashville had the fourth pick but was so convinced that Jones would be off the board when it was their turn that they didn’t even interview him. Instead, they made him part of their team and with Shea Weber and Roman Josi already on the roster, will have one of the game’s best backends for years to come.

9. Habs draft Zach Fucale

With a 45-5-2 record, a 2.35 GAA and a Memorial Cup under his belt, it was no surprise that Zach Fucale was the first goalie selected in the draft. What was surprising was that he dropped to the 36th overall selection, by the Montreal Canadiens. Ranked as high as No. 7 by pundit Craig Button, the Habs will now have the luxury of taking their time with Fucale, with Carey Price firmly entrenched as the team’s starter.

8. Oilers take Darnell Nurse at No. 9

Oilers GM Craig MacTavish made it no secret that he was willing to trade away the team’s first selection, but he couldn’t find a suitable dance partner. MacT was in on the Cory Schneider sweepstakes, tried to coax Braydon Coburn out of Philadelphia and even talked to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who appeared willing to move a defenceman for a top-10 pick. Instead, the Oilers drafted a 6-foot-5, 185-pound workhorse D-man in Darnell Nurse.

7. Philadelphia takes Sam Morin at No. 11

He’s 6-foot-6, 202 pounds and will fight anything that moves, but he’s as raw as sushi. In two seasons and 108 games with Rimouski, he’s recorded all of 24 points and 174 penalty minutes. Clearly GM Paul Holmgren sees him as an old-time Broad Street Bully, but this was way too risky a pick at this spot. Nikita Zadorov would have been a much smarter choice.

6. Tie Domi weeps

Apparently the only way to make a guy who’s been in 334 NHL fights cry is to draft his son in the first round. Max Domi, Tie’s lightning-quick offspring, was a top-10 pick on many draft cards, but went 12th overall to the Phoenix Coyotes. If Tie has any advice left for his kid, it should be not to buy a home in Phoenix, as the franchise could be headed for Seattle by the end of the week.

5. Chris Pronger is still considering a comeback

The 38-year-old defenceman missed all of last season and played only 13 games in 2011-12 before post-concussion symptoms forced him out of the game. TSN caught up with the former Flyers’ captain between the second and third rounds of the draft, where he refused to say that his playing career was over. Clearly concussions affect brain function, because Chris, it’s over.

4. Just how many Subbans are there?

The Vancouver Canucks drafted defenceman Jordan Subban with the 115th pick, which means three Subban brothers will have NHL contracts: defenceman P.K. Subban won the Norris Trophy with the Habs this year, and Boston goalie Malcolm Subban played for the Belleville Bulls last year. Dear Sutter brothers — look out.

3. The Chicago Blackhawks have begun dismantling 

Just a couple days ago, Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik were being paraded through downtown Chicago after combining on the Stanley Cup-winning goal a week ago. Now they’re members of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets, respectively, as the Hawks pare down their roster in anticipation of next year’s $64 million salary cap. The Blackhawks did the same thing after winning it all in 2010, so don’t expect much of a drop-off as long as Chicago’s core stays in place.

1. Canucks trade Cory Schneider

It’s no surprise that the Canucks finally moved a goalie after last year’s implosion, but even Roberto Luongo was surprised when GM Mike Gillis shipped Schneider to New Jersey for just the ninth-overall pick. This is a coup for Lou Lamoriello and the Devils, who get a franchise goalie to replace Martin Brodeur for almost nothing. Meanwhile, the Canucks will once again hitch their wagon to Luongo for the remainder of his 12-year, $64-million contract. His mental dysfunction has already cost him the starter’s job once … so good luck with that, Vancouver fans.

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