Now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded, the offseason happenings can begin for the rest of us. The first round of the 2012 NHL Draft took place in Pittsburgh this evening. The Lightning went into the evening in a great position, holding two picks in the top 20. There were a lot of rumblings about Steve Yzerman trading away the 19th pick as part of a trade package, but he ended up using both of them in shocking fashion.
When Tampa’s pick came around at the number 10 spot, Stevie Y pretty much shocked the room by taking defenseman Slater Koekkoek out of the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. Koekkoek played 26 games last season recording 5 goals, 18 points, and 17 penalty minutes. He missed the rest of the season due to a torn labrum.
Here’s a nice look at him:
As the time ticked down to Tampa’s 19th pick, trades were made but the Bolts weren’t among those making moves. Steve Yzerman, Guy Boucher, and their entourage took the stage again and selected Russian goaltender Andrei Vasilevski. The netminder was outstanding for Russia at the World Juniors, and one scout reportedly said he is the best 17 year old he had ever seen.
The question in regard to his development is whether or not he stays in Europe or if he comes over to play Canadian junior hockey. Either way, he had a hell of a tournament at World Juniors.
The other news out of Tampa’s draft party at a local sports bar was the official unveiling of the 20th anniversary season logo and celebration. This site was launched with a neat video package. Looks like there is lots of cool stuff to come.
Rounds 2-7 are set for tomorrow. Get some rest, there are bound to be plenty of moves.