Despite all the wheeling and dealing going on at the draft, some very talented young men were drafted into the NHL and got one step closer to realizing their lifelong dreams.
Here's a quick summary of what the top 5 draftees will bring their NHL clubs...
5) Toronto's LUKE SCHENN: GM Cliff Fletcher moved up from 7 to 5 to draft Schenn, but stated that the price is never too high when the chance to draft a high-quality player arises. Luke Schenn will bring a VERY stable presence to Toronto's blue-line for many, many years to come. The report on him is that he knows that he is limited offensively, therefore he focuses on the defensive aspect of his game, which is why the potential is there for him to eventually be a premiere stay-at-home bone cruncher.
4) St. Louis' ALEX PIETRANGELO: The Blues selected defenseman Erik Johnson first overall in 2006, and we have all seen that Johsnon is a great two-way defensman with a higher upside defensively. Therefore, opposed to drafting Schenn, the Blues opted for a more offensive-minded rearguard in Pietrangelo. Pietrangelo will bring solid puck moving skills, powerplay presence, and will also provide defensively, as he, like Johsnon, is a two-way defenseman; just more offensively oriented.
3) Atlanta's ZACH BOGOSIAN: Pierre McGuire said it best: The Thrashers are still feeling the sting of trading away former 1st rounder Braydon Coburn to the Flyers in exchange for Alexei Zhitnik. Bogosian brings size & skill to Atlanta's backend, and if the Thrashers fail to sign any UFA defenceman come July 1st, Zach will have a very high chance of playing next season. Bogosian has the potential to be a top 2 defenseman down the road.
2) L.A.'s DREW DOUGHTY: The offensive d-man grew up cheering for the Kings and Wayne Gretzky, so to be drafted by L.A. was quite the treat. Doughty is very good at taking time and space away from the opposition skaters. He uses his speed very well and is very creative with the puck. Those attributes combined with his patience and confidence make Doughty a possible franchise defenseman. The Kings already have a young, potential franchise defenseman in Jack Johnson, so good things are on the horizon for the Kings.
1) Tampa Bay's STEVEN STAMKOS: So much hype around the kid...for good reason. A potential franchise player, he is an excellent skater, and a top puck handler with a great release on his shot. He has the ability to put the puck in the net almost with his eyes shut, but Stamkos' strength is that he is already able to play at both ends of the ice, with and without the puck. Already being compared to Steve Yzerman should give you enough of an idea of how good Stamkos is and can be. Stamkos is 90% sure to make the team in Tampa as of next season.
As we know, the Habs traded away their first round, 25th overall selection to acquire Alex Tanguay, which is an excellent move to acquire immediate help as opposed to long-term. Alex is a top-six forward with speed and scoirng ability, and will be a welcome addition to the team.
The Habs did own other picks in the draft, and used them mostly to keep the trend of drafting American-born skaters into the team.
56 overall; Danny Kristo; Edina, Minnesota - In Kristo's own words: "I would describe my game as an up-tempo, speed game. I think my strengths as a player are my speed, hands and vision. I would like to improve on playing more consistent and improving in the weight room." At 5'11'' and 172 lbs., Kristo has room for development, but the potential is there for Kristo to crack the Habs lineup possibly 2 or 3 years down the line.
86 overall; Steve Qualier, Arvada, Colorado - from Hockey'sfuture - Quailer has excellent breakaway type of speed and a good stride. He has good hands and shoots the puck well. He has good playmaking ability, good vision and is able to play any one of the forward positions. He utilizes a very quick release, not generally winding up but is able to snap the puck from all areas of the ice. Quailer is very strong on the puck and is able to protect in the corners.
The Colorado native is naturally strong but he still needs to fill out his frame. He hasn’t been working out off the ice as some players might be doing at this point in their early careers. It has been noted that he should focus on going hard to the net and burying the puck when he gets his chances. Once his confidence levels rise a long with maturity, he’s appears to be a strong diverse power upfront. "He has good size and he's an excellent skater," Trevor Timmins said. "He played for the same USHL team as (2007 first-rounder) Max Pacioretty and he was the team's MVP."
116 overall; Jason Missiaen; Chatam, Ontario - Wow, this guy is huge! Missiaen is a 6' 8'', 193 lb. GOALIE! Sean Burke, eat your heart out! However, Missiaen is NOT highly skilled; he played backup pretty much his entire stint for the Peterborough Petes, and was ranked 23rd among North American goalies by Central Scouting. Plus, at 193, he is WAY TOO FAR from filling out his frame properly...to paint a better picture for you, Chara is 6'9'', 251 lbs! Missaien appears to be a long-shot for the NHL, but projects are always fun to work on!
138 overall; Maxim Trunev (Draft pick acquired from CGY in Tanguay deal); Russia - Trevor Timmons went on record saying that he believes he's already nabbed 'the sleeper of the draft' in picking up Trunev. Timmons says Trunev is in the same mold as another late-round choice from year's past, Sergei Kostitsyn. Timmons: "We saw him at a midget tournament in Calgary and our European scouts were really pushing him."
Timmins said the plan is to have Trunev play major junior hockey next season so that he can work on his English and adapt to the North American game.
206 overall; Patrick Johsnon; Madison, Wisconsin - Johnson is a 5-foot-9, 155-pound forward from the University of Wisconsin.
Johnson severely lacks size, but has speed, good hockey sense and outstanding genes. His father Mark was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that pulled off the Miracle on Ice, while his late grandfather, (Badger) Bob Johnson coached that team.
There are your new Habs! Interesting note to leave you with:
Of the 211 players drafted into the NHL in the 2008 Entry Draft, just 46 were European! It shows that the expired transfer-agreement is causing GM's and scouts to stay away as much as possible from the uncertainty that now comes with drafting a european skater.