Draft 2011 Winners & Losers
The once-mighty Avs were a chinchilla-soft, woeful bunch in the second half of last season, and they weren’t helped at all by the trade of bruising power forward Chris Stewart to the Blues. They got some size and skill back with second overall pick Gabriel Landeskog, then grabbed nasty-but-talented defenseman Duncan Siemens at No. 11.
While GM Bryan Murray wanted to move up, Swedish center Mika Zibanejad was a nice pick at No. 6. Many think he was the best skater in the draft, and Ottawa added forwards Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel in the first round.
The fact that Chicago was able to dump the ludicrous contract of underwhelming D-man Brian Campbell back on Dale Tallon and his Panthers makes the Hawks automatic entrants to the winners circle. Now there is more money for Chicago to keep players like Patrick Sharp. Smart.
Watching the newly reinstated ‘Peggers and their overjoyed fans cavort at Xcel Energy Center was one of the better sights of the draft.
Why would Calgary want to get rid of tough, reliable defenseman Robyn Regehr? Plus Ales Kotalik and a second-round pick to Buffalo for…statistically-challenged Sabres scrap parts Chris Butler and Paul Byron? Seriously? Oh, and Alex Tanguay had a pretty nice season for Calgary, but a five-year, $17.5 million extension for a guy with a recent history of trick-or-treat play who will be 32 in November?
No picks at all in the first three rounds made for a boring couple of days for owner Ted Leonsis’ crew.
GM Joe Nieuwendyk tried — and failed — to get soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Brad Richards to waive his no-trade clause so he could get something, anything, for him before he goes free on Friday. Then the Stars took a huge gamble with the No. 14 pick by taking 6-7 project defenseman Jamieson Oleksiak — who most scouts had going later in the first round.