A Face To Match A Trade
It was Tyler Seguin.
Now, those same fans can start obsessing about the identity of the 18-year-old their favourite team won't get with its first round pick next year.
Phil Kessel? To those worst afflicted, he's barely an afterthought, even if he wins the Rocket Richard Trophy the next five seasons.
But Kessel now clearly equals Seguin plus whatever else comes from those other sacrificed draft picks, and over the next five to seven years as Kessel develops (or doesn't) and as those drafted players develop (or don't) this trade will continue to be debated.
But Seguin, going second overall to Boston on Friday night in L.A., puts another face on the deal, just as Brandon Gormley, taken 13th overally by Phoenix with a pick once owned by Calgary, puts on another face on that nightmarish deal that brought Olli Jokinen, briefly, to the Flames.
An absence of trades meant the draft lacked huge pizzazz, but it was intriguing, particularly for the way in which the prospects went after Hall, Seguin and Kingston junior defenceman Erik Gudbranson.
We won't know for years whether the NHL teams got the order right, but it was certainly different than NHL Central Scouting's list, and from many of the mock drafts and insider lists that were out there. That's no insult. These drafts are tough to handicap and predict, and clearly teams are more determined now than ever to shield their intentions.
Really, most of the top 20 projected players were there, just in a different order than on most lists. Defenceman Cam Fowler, once a lock to many to go third, tumbled to Anaheim at No. 12. Ryan Johansen was a surprise all the way at No. 4 overall, much higher than Central had him at 10th among North American skaters.
Ditto for Swiss forward Nino Neiderreiter, a star a last winter's world junior championships in Saskatoon, who was 12th on the NHL scouting bureau's list and went fifth to the Islanders.
The biggest shocker in terms of a team looking beyond the Central rankings came at No. 17 when Colorado picked up Owen Sound centre Joey Hishon, who was rated 55th in league rankings, and that just among North American prospects. Hishon, of Stratford, Ont., played less than half a season a year ago because of a broken foot and was rated lower at the year end rankings than he was at December, and it will be interesting to see if the Avalanche knew something others didn't.
Both Edmonton junior blueliner Mark Pysyk and California-born Emersen Etem of the Medicine Hat Tigers, meanwhile, were ranked in the top 10 but weren't taken in the opening 20 picks.
New Florida GM Dale Tallon was the most active executive in the Staples Centre, moving defenceman Keith Ballard to Vancouver in a deal that brought Steve Bernier, Mikael Grabner and a first rounder to the Panthers, and then trading the 15th overall pick acquired in this week's Nathan Horton deal with Boston to Los Angeles.