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Some unofficial NHL Draft Grades
These grades are not meant to be taken too seriously.
I’m not qualified to give actual NHL Draft Grades.
I edit and work with smart scouts over at EP Rinkside, even edited a massive a draft grade piece yesterday, if you want proper analysis of each of the draft picks, please read them.
But I was at the draft, did some reporting, and watched it all play out. So without further adieu, here are my draft grades…..
Anaheim Ducks: B
The Ducks have given a Pat Verbeek a Steve Yzerman type runway to rebuild things. He’ll be allowed to take his time, make mistakes. For that reason he should have taken the best player available at No. 2.
Arizona Coyotes: C-
The matching suit bit is ridiculous. Especially when they don’t all wear matching suits for Day 2 of the draft.
Commit to the bit fully, you’ve already committed to the rebuild.
Boston Bruins: A
I talked to Jim Montgomery a little bit after his speech on Monday where he opened up about struggles with alcoholism and being fired by the Dallas Stars.
Montgomery’s full story will always remain his in private, but I think at least showing that humility and showing weakness can go a long way in helping someone else who may be struggling.
He’s also a good example of how you gracefully chat with someone who fired you, a good skill for all of us to have.
Buffalo Sabres: A+
Without the Sabres we wouldn’t have had a player drafted from the Berlin Polar Bears.
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Calgary Flames: D
I feel bad for Ryan Huska. I think he’s a good coach, but players keep wanting to leave the Flames.
Carolina Hurricanes: C-
Tom Dundon sat at the Hurricanes draft table in a t-shirt and baseball hat. Pure, “I’m an eccentric millionaire who owns the team energy.”
He was also visibly the most-involved owner at the draft table. Often you see the owner, if they are even at the table, sitting at the other side of the table from the GM, while Dundon was basically hovering around Don Waddell.
The Hurricanes were also one of the few teas without candy at the draft table. I wonder if that’s a Rod Brind'Amour enforced rule.
Chicago Blackhawks: A/F
But then you signed Corey Perry for $4 million?
Colorado Avalanche: B-
Ryan Johansen for future considerations is a nice piece of business.
Columbus Blue Jackets: A
I actually watched Adam Fantilli quite a bit this year at the University of Michigan, so this is actually prospect related.
The next step for Columbus with all of their Michigan-based players and prospects is to land a Mr. Spots.
Dallas Stars: B
Bag of Kit-Kats on the table throughout the draft, while Tom Gaglardi actually stepped back and wasn’t an overly-involved owner like the guy one table to the right with Carolina.
Detroit Red Wings: C
I like that they drafted Trey Augustine, a goalie from the USNTDP that I recently wrote about over at EP Rinkside. He’ll be a prospect watching over at Michigan State.
I keep being told the Yzerplan is some sort of 3D chess, and honestly I’m just waiting to see what I’m somehow missing. Because right now, to me, it still feels like Steve Yzerman is someone trying dig himself out of a roster he didn’t like last season.
Edmonton Oilers: C
The only reason I remembered Edmonton was a the draft was because they made a future considerations trade.
Florida Panthers: A
The Gracyn Sawchyn pick got all the prospect people buzzing. So they must have done something right.
Los Angeles Kings: C-
Honestly I’m not sold on that value, both the acquisition cost and the contract, being a long-term winner for the Kings with Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Minnesota Wild: A
Bill Guerin shared a beer with about everyone in Nashville at Tootsies. Whether he remembers it or not, I was one of those people.
Montreal Canadiens: F
You were offered a top goalie prospect and two-first round picks, turned that down, and still didn’t take the best player available.
Nashville Predators: A+
The media gift was a large bottle of whiskey. Thank you Predators, PR.
New Jersey Devils: A
Nice work by New Jersey overall, I think they are a player to land Connor Hellebucyk, too.
New York Islanders: A+
I ran into Lou Lamoriello on the streets of Nashville and he was kindly giving someone directions to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
New York Rangers: B
Rangers drafted Gabe Perreault in the first round, which allowed my story over at EP Rinkside to get some more views because of the Rangers readership.
Ottawa Senators: TBD
Honestly I’m just waiting to see what value they actually get on Alex DeBrincat here.
Philadelphia Flyers: A+
Pittsburgh Penguins: C
Kyle Dubas avoided being asked by reporters about the Toronto Maple Leafs during his presser.
San Jose Sharks: A+
Former Stars head of PR and wonderful human Tom Holy is now an assistant GM for the Sharks. Pretty cool to see him on the stage for the Will Smith draft pick.
Seattle Kraken: A+
I stayed at an Air BNB in Nashville with a bunch of Swedes. We played the fun game of “how do you actually pronounce this Swedish name?”
And you know, what, I actually got Oscar Fisker Mølgaard right.
St. Louis Blues: A+
The Blues now have one of the best beat reporters in the league in Matt DeFranks. What a lucky organization to have him covering them at the draft for the first time.
Tampa Bay Lightning: D
Couldn’t help but think about all the picks that could have been made if they weren’t traded for Tanner Jeannot.
Toronto Maple Leafs: A+
I love that Toronto went so far off the board in the first round, that their first-round pick, Easton Cowan, wasn’t even on the right side of the building and the cameras struggled to find him.
Vancouver Canucks: D
For defense, and the fact they only took defenders in the first three rounds.
Vegas Golden Knights: A+
Vegas is likely getting the draft next season, and I’m trying to be kind so they invest in an even better media gift than the Predators.
Washington Capitals: B
All the prospect people around me gave a nice, “oooh,” when the Capitals picked Cameron Allen in the fifth round.
Winnipeg Jets: C
They got more than I would have expected for Dubois. They seem to be committing to the rebuild and the teardown. Sometimes being self aware is worth a passing grade.