July 1st, 2013

Dobber Sports

2013-07-01

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Just because of how hyped up the event has been over the past month, Sunday’s NHL Draft was somewhat underwhelming in terms of “player transaction” volume. By days end the majority of the players who moved were third liners like Tyler Kennedy, Dave Bolland and Cal Clutterbuck; and there was only one real shocker (Cory Schneider traded for the 9th overall pick). Still it was a fascinating day and a singularly challenging event to cover.

 

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Going into Sunday’s event I was certain that the league’s 10:30 estimated end time was hilariously optimistic. But it turned out to be on the money or even a little bit conservative. The draft proceeded in rapid fire fashion with only three minutes on the board between picks, even in the made for TV first round.

 

At one point in the day I went to grab a bottle of water and a smoke, and by the time I came back (which couldn’t have been more than ten minutes), I’d missed the entire fifth round. Let’s just say that by the ninth pick in the draft I felt like I’d fallen behind, and I was sprinting to catch up.

 

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This was the second draft I’ve covered live and the “all in one day” thing was murder. During a two day event you have time to really, properly react and gather quotes at the end of the first round, and then file them nicely into a day one recap. You can set up the second round over night, have it up in the morning, and then at least that’s out of way when you go into the six round event that makes up day two.

 

On Sunday there was no natural break to gas up. I arrived at the draft floor at 12:15 in the afternoon and I left it twelve hours later without so much as a break lasting beyond fifteen minutes. Just a grueling day…

 

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But also a satisfying one. I was really proud of the coverage I contributed over at CanucksArmy.com and TSN.com. Here’s my reaction piece on the messy resolution to Vancouver’s year long goaltending drama, and my overall recap of Vancouver’s draft night.

 

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So let’s start with Vancouver’s goaltending trade. Schneider for the ninth overall pick in the draft which the Canucks used to select London Knights centreman Bo Horvat. The reaction surrounding this trade in Vancouver and around the league strikes me as a bit misguided. The trade itself isn’t bad, but the optics certainly are.

 

Consider the value of goaltenders on the trade market over the past five years. The sort of tangible assets goaltenders have netted for clubs of late are Lars Eller, Matt Frattin, Cory Conacher. Semyon Varlamov superficially netted a better trade return than Schneider did, but there’s necessary context there (McPhee was dealing with Greg Sherman, the 2012 draft was seen as well below average while the 2013 draft was seen as loaded). The Canucks got a top-10 pick in a very deep draft for Cory Schneider, and they still employ a world class goaltender in Roberto Luongo (presuming they can iron out their issues with him). The Canucks secretly did well for themselves, they just looked lost doing it.

 

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Ultimately where I think the Canucks deserve a good deal of criticism is when it comes to their patent indecision in choosing between Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo over the past two years. Could Cory Schneider have netted the team a better return at the draft a year ago when he was headed into restricted free-agency and the goaltending market was barren? Probably.

 

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One final point here is that Bo Horvat will be a long shot to contribute in the NHL before the Sedins turn 34. The internal logic of keeping Luongo dictates that you sort of have to get a “win now” asset to try and contend in the three years before Luongo turns 38…

 

That said, elite talent wins championships and the Canucks are short on elite talent. It’s why the team simply can’t score enough in the postseason. The best way to get elite talent is early in the NHL draft (and preferably a deep NHL draft) so I actually don’t mind the Canucks taking this sort of shot…

 

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Let’s talk about the rest of the league