Well, that was a fun filled first round yesterday wasn't it? There were some crazy moves and a wild run on defensemen that led to some massive drops that worked out perfectly for the Stars. They started out the draft by making a big trade, sending away Mike Ribeiro to the Washington Capitals for their second round pick (#54) and 21-year-old center Cody Eakin. It’s a great move for the Stars as they get rid of an aging Ribeiro, who only has one year left on his contract worth $5 million. He struggled in his role as the number one center for Dallas. He couldn’t win face-offs, played poorly on defense and struggled against opposing top lines. It’s not as big of a loss as Stars fans would think. He had no future for the team and the Stars got a nice prospect in return.
Eakin was one of the Capitals top prospects. He’s a really fast player (really really fast) with a solid two-way game. He’s more talented on the offensive side of the ice and looks like he’ll be a solid second-line center at best. Dallas might hope he makes the team this upcoming season but he might need a year of seasoning before coming to the NHL. He’ll be a second or third line center by then for the Stars.
The run on defensemen in the first ten picks dropped some great offensive talents to the Stars and they ended up with Radek Faksa, one of the best centers available in this draft. It really couldn’t have worked out better for Dallas because they had three centers to choose from and they just took the best available. Faksa has a future on this team as either the number one or number two center, depending on what the organization does with Jamie Benn. Stars fans should be ecstatic with the pick.
Some other things of note:
- Anaheim reached with their first pick of the draft, taking defensemen Hampus Lindholm with the 6th pick in the draft. He had a mid-round grade and is an interesting pick considering there was great offensive talent available and five or six more talented defensemen. They also traded noted Stars killer Lubomir Visnovsky to the New York Islanders for a second-round pick in 2013, which should make Stars fans very happy.
- The biggest move in the first round was the trade between the Penguins and the Hurricanes that saw Jordan Staal go to Carolina for their first pick and two great pieces in forward Brandon Sutter and defensemen Brian Dumoulin. That pick really changed the top ten of the draft and continued the run on defensemen. Carolina would’ve taken one of those offensive talents and I don’t think Faksa would have fallen to 13. The Pens also got a steal with pick #22 with they took Olli Maatta, a hulking defensemen that should have gone top 10-15.
- The Buffalo Sabres had themselves a nice draft. They took a falling Mikhail Grigorenko with their 12th pick and traded back up in the first round for the 14th pick to take Zemgus Girgensons. The move has to make Derek Roy expendable to them and he’s a really interesting trade piece. I don’t think Dallas has the assets available, but they should try and kick those tires around.
- The Capitals also did well, taking Filip Forsberg with their first pick and tough guy Thomas Wilson with their second pick in the first round. They improved big time on the offensive end of the ice, though Forsberg will spend one more year in Sweden.
- The San Jose Sharks took center Tomas Hertl with their one pick in the first round. He’s a nice future piece to take over for their aging centers. They didn’t improve immediately though so it’s not something Stars fans need to worry about now.
- Calgary. Man do I feel sorry for those fans. They took a project pick in Mark Jankowski with other solid talent available.
- The Chicago Blackhawks got a pretty nice steal at #18 with Teuvo Teravainen. Teuvo is a top 5-10 talent that slid due to the run on defensemen.
- Phoenix took Henrik Samuelsson, who will be a pest in the coming years. It’s a nice pick for them.
- The Kings took Tanner Pearson with the last pick in the draft. He’s a nice offensive piece for a team that could use a little more. They really could’ve gone with anyone there.
- Troll moments: Boston taking Malcolm Subban and the Devils taking Stefan Matteau.